Fidelity Stays True To IBM

IBM officials said Thursday that one of the largest
mortgage processing companies in the country was using its Web
services middleware across its business to better
serve customers.

In the coming months, Fidelity Information Services (FIS), a subsidiary
of
Fidelity National Financial, will broker the approximately 24 million
loans it handles through seven organizations online with Websphere
Application Server, Portal Server, Message Broker, and Modeler and
Monitor
applications.


The company also signed a deal to use IBM’s DB2 database
software and Rational development tools.

The contract, which IBM officials were unwilling to elaborate
about beyond confirming it was a multi-million dollar deal, follows on the
heels
of a contract with FIS to replace its existing mainframes with three
z990
mainframes
capable of holding 32 processors each.


FIS officials said they are already experiencing a significant increase
in
the number of loans
processed per minute.

“This validates the work that both IBM and Fidelity have been doing for
quite some time now in finding an adequate strategy, from an
architectural
perspective, on the future of the trend in the back end transactions of
financial institutions,” Pablo Suarez, IBM banking industry global
solution
executive, told internetnews.com.

Last October, the two companies joined
forces
to create a software and services product line catering to
the
financial industry, using IBM’s middleware software and FIS’
industry-specific IT expertise.

The company planned then to start rolling out an assessment package in
the Spring of this year to financial institutions. According to the
contract
announcement, IBM and Fidelity have been testing the new processing
system
at IBM research centers in Maryland and
California.

The partnership comes at a good time for financial organizations
looking to
replace their existing systems with Web services that cut down on the
paper
trail and allow customers to conduct transactions via the Internet.
With
the economy showing signs of strength, the
two companies expect to be positioned to entice potential customers
who should have more spending latitude.

Financial firms are usually the first to incorporate and embrace new
technologies in order to give them an edge in the industry, said Nucleus Research Analyst Kathy Quirk.

“With the increasing skills that the average user has gained now, in
terms
of doing business over the Internet, things that several years ago
could
have been a slight annoyance are now much less tolerable,” she told
internetnews.com. “A lot of people now expect to be able to go
to a
Web site and be able to fill out all the paperwork and get the
information
they
need to make a decision in terms of who they want to go with for a
mortgage.”

Quirk said there are not many companies in the world that have the
breadth
of technology to be able to deliver a hardware, software and services
package
like IBM has done with Fidelity in recent times.


But that doesn’t mean IBM is
the only solution for large financial (or otherwise) institutions.

Quirk said BEA Systems , which IBM officials said
was
one of the bidders for Fidelity’s contract, is a company with the
software
strength to bring in other companies to fill in where its product ends.

“So while IBM is very formidable in terms of the breadth of its
offerings,
it is still facing a lot of competition from BEA, and other vendors,”
she
told internetnews.com. “The application platform/integration
market
will continue to be extremely competitive.

BEA reported Feb. 19 annual revenues of $1 billion for 2003 and key
customers wins throughout the year including Toyota, Boeing, Walgreens,
the
U.S. Air Force, Verizon Communications and Wells Fargo.

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