SAP, Accenture agree to support financial firms

Banks and insurance companies seeking standard software products tailored for the financial services sector could benefit from a new partnership between SAP AG and Accenture Ltd.

SAP, the world's largest supplier of business software, and Accenture, a global consulting and software development company, have agreed to jointly develop, deploy, support and sell software products and services for banks and insurance companies worldwide, the companies said Thursday in a joint statement.

Initially, the joint portfolio will consist of the companies' existing banking and insurance software products, which cover business functions such as insurance claims management, insurance policy administration, core banking operations and risk management, the company said.

By mid-2004, however, customers can expect to see some of the first jointly-developed and co-branded software products, said SAP spokeswoman Laurie Doyle Kelly. "We have already mapped out a program about what products we will develop together as we move forward with this partnership," she said.

Pricing information was not available.

SAP, located in Walldorf, Germany, and Accenture in Hamilton, Bermuda, will assign around 800 people to the combined development effort. The IT experts will be located in Germany, Spain and the U.S., the companies said.

"Accenture has extensive experience in developing software for financial services companies but many of these companies now want standard products to lower their operating costs," Doyle Kelly said. "SAP offers standard products and will benefit from Accenture's expertise in jointly developing new standard products."

The software vendors will not establish a new company for their partnership, according to the spokeswoman. Revenue will be split according to services purchased by the customer. "There will be cases where SAP will be more involved and others where Accenture will be the lead partner. We have a program that defines how revenue will be split," Doyle Kelly said.

Banking and insurance customers can sign contracts with SAP or Accenture or both. "Nothing will change for existing SAP and Accenture customers except that they will be able to benefit from new jointly-developed and supported products and services in the future," Doyle Kelly said.

The financial services partnership builds on a past relationship between SAP and Accenture. A few years ago, the two companies collaborated in developing a suite of products and services targeting the oil and natural gas sector, Doyle Kelly said.

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