Blending Old, New

Bank of America picks integrator webmethods

Internet systems integrator webMethods has forged a multimillion-dollar deal with Bank of America to connect the banks internal applications with its corporate clients.

The deal represents another vote of confidence by big corporations in new technologies that can link their back-end legacy systems directly to those of their major partners, customers and suppliers.

"We are definitely seeing a trend towards bigger deals, both in terms of the [dollars involved] and the size and the scope of the projects," said Scott Opitz, vice president of strategic planning of webMethods in Fairfax, Va.

In recent weeks webMethods has secured similar big integration projects with Corporate Express, Big 3-initiated automotive exchange Covisint and LG Electronics.

Terms of the Bank of America deal were not disclosed, but webMethods said it was possibly its largest signed to date.

Customer Serviced

Under the deal, webMethods will provide software and services to link its internal applications directly to the treasury systems of its large corporate clients. Such connections would allow corporate clients to use their own internal applications to perform such functions as moving funds between accounts, obtaining deposit rate quotes and exchanging foreign currencies. Many of those functions are currently performed via telephone and fax, then have to be re-entered into corporate applications.

"The bank sees it as a competitive advantage," Opitz said. "Customers can manage their treasury initiatives much more efficiently, and it allows the bank to reduce overhead."

The deal was heavily contested for by webMethods rivals SeeBeyond Technology, Tibco Software and Vitria Technology; negotiations lasted close to a year. In the end, Opitz believes, webMethods expertise in SAP Enterprise Resource Planning systems — a common platform for corporate treasury systems — was a big factor in the win.