Tuesday, September 18, 2007

WSS to support corporate demands for more streamlined digital identity management

I have been ranting a lot recently about digital signatures and certificates and the demand amongst major corporations such as Merck for a single non-proprietary digital identity managment solution that is interoperable between banks.

Well it now seems that treasury management system vendors are also starting to support their major corporate customers in this area with Wall Street Systems (WSS) announcing at Eurofinance's International Treasury & Cash Management Conference in Vienna that it is looking at incorporating digital signature functionality within its treasury management applications to address a wide range of corporate needs.

While corporates such as Merck have opted for the bank-issued digital identity credentials of IdenTrust, Terry Beadle, executive vice president, WSS said that its approach was not to align itself with a particular vendor. "We will find a generic point of integration and work with multiple vendors," he said. "When you look at it [digital identity] from a technology point of view, our customers are asking for different ways of doing things. We need to develop a [digital identity] solution that fits everybody."

Beadle said this was something it planned to deliver soon, and that it may also need to consider any identity management solution SWIFT devised as more corporates joined SWIFT MA-CUGs and SCORE to communicate with multiple banking providers.

WSS will also more heavily promote existing SWIFT connectivity embedded within its treasury management suite so that corporates can directly connect from their TMS to SWIFT without the need for any middleware.

The treasury management systems vendor also continues to invest heavily in ASP-enabling its applications, with its cross-asset investment and debt management solution, Wallstreet Suite, becoming the latest application to be ASP enabled. "Twenty percent of our customer base is now on ASP," said Beadle adding that its multiple instance ASP model is now the fastest growing part of its business with both top tier corporates such as Adidas and mid-tier corporates opting to have their treasury management functionality hosted by WSS, which provides the hosting in conjunction with network connectivity provider SAVVIS.

WSS maintains that corporate treasurers can save between 25% to 30% of the costs of hosting an application inhouse by outsourcing hosting to an ASP, which it says is a more attractive alternative, particularly for smaller treasury teams without a dedicated in-house IT department. WSS hopes to achieve an even 50/50 split between its ASP and traditional software licensing model.

Unlike 'pure-play' ASPs that provide a single instance of treasury management applications which multiple users connect to, Beadle said its multiple-instance ASP approach provided customers with more flexibility, enabling them to customise the application to suit their individual needs. He said it also lessened the "theoretical risk" of customer data being shared by maintaining separate databases.

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