SAP and American Express have collaborated on development of a NetWeaver-based application to help customers slash deployment time and costs related to large-scale, enterprisewide payment systems.
American Express and SAP will collaborate on an
integrated product that simplifies payments automation, the two companies said
on Oct. 19.
The new offering will combine American Express's Buyer
product with SAP's PI (Process Integration
available on the SAP NetWeaver
platform. The integration of American Express
technology into SAP Netweaver will allow SAP customers to process electronic
payments more seamlessly.
"With this joint effort, we will be able to offer
SAP and American Express clients a faster and more cost effective way to
recognize the benefits of electronic payments," said Jaromir Divilek, senior
vice president and general manager at American Express Global Commercial Card
in a statement.
The joint American Express/SAP product will feature a
"plug and play" utility for SAP customers to set up electronic payments
quickly, the companies said. The PI technology maintains payment data
integrity, workflows, and approval process that customers are already running
This will be a joint effort, with teams from both
companies working on the integration, said Molly Faust, vice-president of
public relations and communications at American Express. The integrated Buyer
Initiated Payments/PI software is expected to be available in the first quarter
of 2011, but will be available to SAP customers in the United States only, said
As part of the agreement, American Express will also
license the SAP NetWeaver PI technology, Faust said.
The companies hope to "clear roadblocks that can delay or
deter corporate adoption of electronic payments," according to the statement. Some
potential roadblocks customers face are the deployment costs and the complexity
behind connecting multiple third-party systems to handle the various steps to
complete a financial transaction.
"Corporate clients typically have a fragmented base
of treasury workstations, trading systems, accounts payable solutions, payroll
processors, and other financial solutions that exchange data internally and
externally with banks and corporate suppliers. More standardization of data and
better connectivity between buyers and suppliers are needed," said Jeanne
Capachin, research vice president of IDC Financial Insights.
Companies can have multiple system interfaces between
their own enterprise resource planning systems and the systems belonging to
their banking partners and suppliers, often depending on custom development to
link everything together. According to the statement, maintenance costs can be
high, averaging anywhere from $50,000 to more than $500,000 for large global
"Automated payment solutions can be critical to
companies seeking to save money, but have historically required significant
investments in resources and time to implement," Divilek said.
By integrating payments solutions with SAP's existing ERP
system, corporations can enhance controls, optimize the timing of their payments,
and gain greater visibility over cash flow, the companies said. It will provide
a single interface with improved financial connectivity to external suppliers,
financial institutions, and other internal systems.
American Express' Buyer Initiated Payments is a Web-based
automation tool that handles electronic payments and supplier inquiries in a
secure environment. SAP NetWeaver's process integration facilitates data
exchange between the system and third-party applications.