A fortuitous meeting has played a major role in helping to get New Zealand-developed payments reconciliation software on the financial world stage.
EDIS, an Auckland developer in the EDI space for the past 15 years, has signed an exclusive strategic alliance with Unisys for its new software.
“They were in the building next door to us and we began talking about EDI capability,” says Graham Alston, Unisys global financial services partner. “It came out of those discussions. It was really fortuitous.”
EDIS has developed a web-enabled e-commerce solution with full invoice reconciliation, and a reconciled payments solution, for bank clients. It provides administrative savings of up to 80% to commercial customers, representing an estimated cost saving of more than $18 per electronic transaction.
Unisys research in the US shows that commercial electronic transactions cost from $US10-50. That’s because a large commercial client of a bank will have many suppliers, with inevitable disputes, in an overall banking tranche.
EDIS chief executive, John Brabazon, describes it as a missing link in business-to-business e-commerce, between invoicing and reconciliation of payments that results in lengthy-process-heavy systems with high administration time and costs.
“It didn’t seem sensible to us to have e-commerce, then wind up paying by cheque," he says. " In the US, for example, cheques are still the dominant method of b-to-b payment." Sixteen billion b-to-b cheques are issued in the US each year.
“We took a couple of years to develop the software, and we’ve spent a lot of time on tools for rapid deployment," he says.
Venture capital company, No 8 Ventures, has acquired a cornerstone shareholding in EDIS to fund the company’s international expansion. “Venture capital funding was important for us for this product,” Brabazon says.
The company has spent a lot of time discussing requirements with the banks and has gone through every single item of costs associated with reconciliation and payment, he says.
According to AlstonUnisys is looking first at the regional level – Australia and New Zealand – then to a broader theatre, most notably the US. “This fits neatly into Unisys’ overall payment architecture,” he says. “It’s an important opportunity in the financial services arena."
He says electronic bill payment is a growing market, and "EDIS goes significantly further than any other product we have identified in this space.”