SAP to simplify banking communications, processes

SAP plans enhancements to its ERP software to help enterprises manage payments with banks and electronic transactions in Europe

SAP plans two separate enhancements to its core ERP (enterprise resource planning) software in a move to help enterprises manage their payments with banks and their cross-border electronic transactions in Europe.

One of the enhancements aims to minimize the cost and complexity incurred by companies managing numerous separate communication channels for each bank relationship, SAP said on Monday, in conjunction with the Sibos financial services event in Sydney.

SAP has teamed with the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) to offer the SAP Integration Package for SWIFT. The application is designed to link mySAP ERP applications directly to SWIFTNet, an IP (Internet Protocol) messaging platform that connects nearly 8,000 financial institutions in 206 countries and territories.

The improvement will help businesses access multiple banks through a single connection for the real-time exchange of payment and settlement messages via SWIFTNet, SAP said. The software will offer pre-configured message and process mapping between the application interfaces and business logic of mySAP ERP Financials, mySAP Financial Supply Chain Management application and the SWIFT infrastructure.

Customers will be able to test the new SWIFT software in January.

It's needed to help reduce the substantial cost of maintaining multiple banking relationships, according to SAP. The average costs per year for proprietary bank interfaces are more than Euro 25,000 (US$31,500) per connection, the company said.

Another enhancement announced at the Sibos event is intended to help companies benefit from the planned Single Euro Payments Area. SEPA aims to overcome the complex payment system in the Euro zone, which exists despite the single currency, by standardizing cross-border Euro payments to make them faster and more secure and cost-efficient. Standardized payments are scheduled for Jan. 1, 2008.

SAP's planned SEPA enhancement is designed to improve straight-through processing and allow increased transparency into payment flows. It will support the most important new ISO 20022 payment schemes as defined within the SEPA rule books, the Walldorf, Germany, software vendor said.

Consequently, SAP users will be able to generate messages directly from their ERP system without having to implement additional middleware for data conversion.

In addition, the software will support payment schemes, including the newly created European direct debit, the payment order and the bank statement message.

SAP's SEPA software enhancement will be available by mid-2007, the company said.

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