Microsoft Making Corporate Payments Automatic

Microsoft expanded its financial software focus under
the aegis of the business processes consortium RosettaNet by agreeing to
participate in the RosettaNet Payment Milestone Program and issuing a
supporting software toolkit geared to automate payments.


The Redmond, Wash. software giant issued the news at the SIBOS 2003
Conference in Singapore. With the program, Microsoft launched the RosettaNet
payments toolkit, which will make it easier for financial institutions and
their corporate customers to automate the payment process for supply chain
transactions.


Payment automation is a huge bonus for companies doing business over the
Web. Instead of a representative having to handle the particulars of a major
transaction that will enable a business to fill orders, one of RosettaNet’s
tasks has been to eliminate the need for a middle man to guide enterprise
resource planning (ERP) operations. Microsoft was the RosettaNet member who
fit the bill.


For Microsoft, the payments toolkit is part of its BizTalk Accelerator for
SWIFT, which is a messaging services and software standard for securities
and banking transactions that serves 7,500 financial institutions in 200
countries. BizTalk Accelerator for SWIFT, which will be available after the
first of the year, enables a rapid return on investment and low total cost
of ownership, according to Microsoft.


Combined with BizTalk Accelerator for SWIFT, the payments toolkit will help
Microsoft automate financial messaging to lower costs and decrease
settlement cycle times.


With the Microsoft toolkit, corporations can automate the payment initiation
and reconciliation of credit with remittance, using the SWIFT payment
initiation and Extensible Markup Language (XML) standards. These standards
can be rolled into treasury, ERP and accounting systems, which means banks
will no longer have to manage multiple proprietary connections with their
customers, cutting the cost per transaction.


Microsoft provided a compelling statistic to back its savings-via-automation
claim. Josh Weisberg, senior product manager for E-Business Servers at
Microsoft, said that industry estimates indicate that for every billion
dollars in sales, the cost to corporations for settling these transactions
is around $27 million.


Financial services are getting on board for savings, too. In a recent report
on financial integration trends, TowerGroup has predicted that the financial
services industry will spend 4 percent to 5 percent less on EAI technology
in 2003 to 2004.


“The transition to automated processes that use standard messaging
infrastructure and technologies for handling corporate payments will result
in huge cost savings for both corporations and banks,” Weisberg said in a
press statement.


The Microsoft RosettaNet payments toolkit includes tools for manual entry
and repair of messages and trade errors via Microsoft Office InfoPath 2003,
the new program in the Office that makes it easy to develop forms for
connecting people to business processes.

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