IBM and Oracle team with i-flex on banking software

I-flex's Flexcube will now be available on the IBM System z mainframe platform

Indian financial software company i-flex solutions, IBM, and Oracle will jointly market i-flex’s banking software to customers worldwide.

Oracle is a majority shareholder in i-flex, which operates as an independent business and is listed on Indian stock exchanges.

A joint go-to-market strategy will combine IBM’s expertise in consulting and services, Oracle’s enterprise applications and i-flex’s core banking application called Flexcube, said R. Ravisankar, chief executive officer of i-flex’s international operations and business development.

IBM will offer customers its expertise in consulting, business process transformation, program management, systems integration, and network infrastructure, while i-flex will provide its banking software. The partnership will also include training IBM staff on i-flex’s products, joint identification of target customers and a coordinated marketing and sales strategy to address these customers, according to Ravisankar.

The arrangement between IBM and i-flex is not exclusive; both IBM and i-flex will continue to work with other partners, Ravisankar said.

Since 2003 IBM has been offering i-flex’s banking software to its banking customers running Unix systems in India and abroad.

I-flex announced Wednesday that Flexcube will now also be available on the IBM System z mainframe platform. “This is very important for us as there is a section of top tier banks that regard the mainframe as an essential part of their IT infrastructure,” Ravisankar said. Having IBM as a partner is very critical for i-flex’s success among customers who run their applications on mainframes, he added.

Large banks and financial institutions are finding that their legacy systems are impacting their competitiveness due to the inflexibility and high operating costs of these systems, according to Ravisankar. I-flex’s Flexcube core banking solution can help customers move to newer technologies without disrupting service, he said.

Last year Oracle bought a majority stake in i-flex in a bid to expand beyond general-purpose business applications into more industry-specific software.

As a result of its acquisitions of Siebel Systems Inc. and PeopleSoft Inc., Oracle has a number of enterprise applications for the banking industry, Ravisankar said. I-flex is working on the integration of its core banking software with Oracle software, such as Oracle General Ledger and Siebel CRM (customer relationship management), he added.

This integration will enable i-flex to offer customers its core banking solution along with CRM capability and other functionality. It would also make i-flex software attractive to banks already using Oracle software, Ravisankar said.