IBM, I-flex forge global alliance to expand market

Thursday, 20 November 2003, 08:00 Hrs
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BANGALORE: Global tech major IBM and India's software product leader i-flex Solutions entered into a strategic alliance here Thursday to expand their presence in the banking and financial services sector.

With a presence in 130 countries, IBM would help i-flex to enter markets where its flagship product Flexcube is yet to make a dent though it is currently available in 65 countries.

The new markets would be in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.

Announcing the vendor partnership, IBM India Vice-President Frank Luksic said it would enable both companies to deliver and market core banking replacement solutions to large and medium size banks and financial institutions in major markets, worldwide.

This is IBM's first such alliance out of India.

Said Luksic: "The joint solution will help reduce costs and streamline operational efficiencies by transforming a bank's legacy into a modern banking organisation.

"We will be able to offer Flexcube on our open standard platforms to tier-1 and tier-2 banks globally with reduced cost of ownership and ensure early return of investment."

Under the terms of the alliance, i-flex would make Flexcube for retain banking in a phased manner from the third quarter of 2004 on IBM's J2EE-based WebSphere Internet infrastructure software and DB2 platforms.

Flexcube, which already runs on IBM's eServer pSeries servers, would hereafter operate on the complete range of its servers. Plans are underway to make available other parts of the product suite on the IBM platform.

"The competitive environment is forcing banks to align technology investments with the need to integrate multiple platforms and diverse lines of business.

"With Flexcube, we will be able to offer flexible and open-standard solutions to help banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI) customers improve operational efficiency and lower costs," declared IBM India Managing Director Abraham Thomas.

IBM would promote the universal banking solution to existing and prospective customers operating in the Unix/NT environment and provide consulting, implementation and integration services.

With 35 percent of the product cost going into application development, implementation and customising, and the rest in system integration, hardware and database, IBM is expected to corner the lion's share of the revenue.

In view of their large presence in India, both partners would be pitching for customers in the domestic BFSI sector, whose IT spending is estimated by the IDC to be around 17 billion per annum currently.

Small and medium banks and financial firms constitute about 60 percent of the total Indian market.

Asked whether the tie-up with i-flex would lead to conflict of interests due to similar alliances with two other global partners (Teminos and Siebel) in the same arena, Luksic said the partners would strive to avoid them by targeting different segments in diverse geographic regions.

"To stave off competition from other two firms, we will also jointly promote i-flex's Reveleus business intelligence and analytics product suite to enhance customers' insight, manage risk and improve compliance.

"The synergy between Reveleus metadata-driven technology and the IBM banking data model solutions will allow FIs to utilise analytics for decision support," i-flex India operations' chief Deepak Ghaisas asserted.

Both being listed firms, the officials declined to reveal the growth targets or the business to be generated.
Source: IANS
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