Microsoft, Sterling Aid SWIFT Users

New tools, service give financial institutions more flexibility when using the SWIFT network.

Microsoft Corp. and Sterling Commerce Inc. both are offering banks and financial services companies new connectivity and messaging options when using the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications SWIFTNet network.

Microsoft, at the Sibos 2003 conference in Singapore on Monday, announced its BizTalk Accelerator for SWIFT, which provides integration with legacy systems through a fairly comprehensive set of connectivity interfaces. The new Accelerator supports both FIN, SWIFTs X.25-based store-and-forward financial messaging service, and XML-based SWIFT messaging.

The thousands of financial institutions that use SWIFTNet can use BizTalks business activity monitoring capabilities to track SWIFT traffic—a capability that enables them to create custom dashboards through embedded SWIFT rules, mappings and validations. The Accelerator also includes tools for manual message entry and message repair, according to Microsoft officials, in Redmond, Wash.

The SWIFT Accelerator includes the RosettaNet Payments Toolkit, software that provides financial institutions and their partners with the means to automate payment process for their supply chain transactions.

Having worked with SWIFT officials over the past year, Microsoft is developing a complete set of SWIFT-specific messages and adaptors. The company is also in the process of applying for SWIFTs enterprise application integration gold certification.

Also at the Sibos conference, Sterling Commerce and LogicaCMG plc rolled out FileAct, a joint service that will enable members of the SWIFTNet community to send messages over the network via FileAct. Sterling, of Dublin, Ohio, has long provided EDI transaction services to the financial community while London-based LogicaCMG develops payment systems software.

With FileAct financial institutions can selectively route messages to remote parties at single or multiple destinations, through either the FIN or FileAct services. The differentiator with FileAct is that its much cheaper to transmit messages than the traditional FIN service, Sterling officials said.

Because data latency for message delivery can be controlled by the user, FileAct is suited to deliver messages such as low value payments, reconciliation data and reporting. Messages requiring immediate delivery can still be sent over the network in real time.

LogicaCMG has a user base through its FASTWIRE and BESS offerings that generate about 10 percent of SWIFTs daily worldwide traffic.

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