Today at Sibos 2006, Microsoft Corp announced that Susan Feinberg, research director of Wholesale Banking at TowerGroup, and Ed Barrie, senior treasury product manager, Microsoft Corporate Treasury Department, will jointly present a seminar about standardising global banking connectivity and a case study about Microsoftâs project to automate its own banking communications using SWIFTNet. The project, aimed at achieving greater visibility of bank account transactions, maximising operational efficiency and preventing opportunities for fraud, is paving the way for standardisation projects for corporations in all industries.
During the presentation, which will be held at 5pm today in the Microsoft theatre in booth L07, the two speakers will discuss the need for a single channel of communication between corporate treasury management systems and multiple banking partners. Barrie will outline how Microsoft Corporate Treasury is working to centralise its view of Microsoftâs 1,000 global bank accounts; Feinberg will highlight the current need for financial messaging standards and some of the challenges facing corporations in this area.
âOne of the biggest challenges facing corporations is the ability to accurately forecast cash positions,â Feinberg said. âTreasury departments everywhere are faced with both a greater focus on regulatory controls and a need to integrate global external suppliers with fewer and fewer resources at their disposal. Standardising processes, like the project Microsoft is currently undertaking, will help companies to reduce costs, increase straight-through processing and reduce reliance on third-party solutions.â
âUnifying multiple communication channels and data formats from our banking network has been one of the challenges we faced with this project,â Barrie said. âFor example, not all banks support prior-day and intra-day statements in the exact same manner or deliver them using the same timing or activity event drivers. Some banks also send them in different languages and data formats, meaning each one needs to be translated differently for our SAP enterprise resource planning environment. But by leveraging SWIFTNet, we will be able to have a standardised process for communicating with our banking partners leveraging industry-standard formats. This makes it quicker and easier for Microsoft employees to access financial information because they will no longer need to spend time searching across disparate systems, and it is a huge benefit for any corporation.â
Running its corporate treasury across MicrosoftÂ® BizTalkÂ® Server and Microsoft BizTalk Accelerator for SWIFT provides Microsoft with a robust financial messaging platform that will connect directly to its line-of-business applications such as SAP R/3 Corporate Finance Management. For customers looking to follow Microsoftâs example, BizTalk Server delivers full support for business process, business activity monitoring and business rules with built-in management and deployment of connected systems. BizTalk Accelerator for SWIFT provides enhanced messaging capabilities and support of SWIFTNet messaging services FIN, FileAct and InterAct.
Working together, BizTalk Server and BizTalk Accelerator for SWIFT deliver an integrated, cost-effective solution that can be rapidly deployed, enabling corporations to integrate SWIFTNet into their back-office and enterprise resource planning systems.
The project Microsoft is undertaking will allow its corporate treasury to connect to global bank accounts via SWIFTNet using BizTalk Server and BizTalk Accelerator for SWIFT technology. Beginning with incoming MT940 end-of-day statements, Microsoft is working to ensure that each of its banks delivers activity reports on the same platform, allowing easier connection into its SAP R/3 treasury management system. This enables the various business groups within Microsoft to share banking data and leverage information from other groups across the business.
âThe benefit of connecting our network via SWIFT is that we reduce the number of systems and data silos currently in operation,â Barrie said. âThis gives us a standardised and efficient approach to our enterprise financial messaging needs. In the future, an added benefit will be that as more corporations connect to SWIFT, the more services, such as support of ISO 20022 XML and Exceptions & Investigation messaging, that banks will start to offer and the more companies like Microsoft can take advantage of these services.â
Microsoft is on track to connect to 30 of its global banking partners by June 2007 and aims for over 90 per cent coverage of its high-volume bank accounts within the next 12 months.