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EDS, Oracle team on billing services

EDS's Electronic Business division plans to team with Oracle to run billing services for financial industries.

EDS wants to put money in the bank.

The company's Electronic Business division says it plans to team with Oracle to run billing services for financial industries. As a result of the partnership, billers and consolidators are expected to be able to use EDS Interactive Billing Services for bill payment and settlement.

The plan, announced today at the Bank Administration Institute's Retail Delivery Show in Las Vegas, is meant to allow billers and consolidators using Oracle software to be able to hook up directly with EDS Interactive Billing Services, enabling users to see a copy of the bill through the system.

Both EDS and Oracle are also in discussions about jointly developing related electronic commerce software based on the Open Financial Exchange (OFX) standard.

"I think EDS has worked in a number of ways to get more vertically focused," said Tom Grace, an analyst at AMR Parteners, referring to the company's effort to capture more business in manufacturing and financial markets.

Financial services--including banks, billing services, and billers--is a hotly competitive, lucrative, and up-for-grabs emerging market for service companies and ERP vendors. Along with Oracle, SAP and PeopleSoft are also getting into the race for the next big vertical wave.

A report released this week by applied market research and consulting company G2R estimated that the market for global enterprise solutions in the financial services industry will top $40 billion by 2003. According to G2R's research, traditional enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications are increasingly being bumped out of the back-office to handle additional business processes in vertical markets.

Using EDS Interactive Billing Services, companies can electronically send bills to customers over the Web. Customers use a browser to view bills and can then pay them electronically via credit card, debit from a checking or savings account, ACH transfer, or other methods.

Oracle's e-commerce technologies deliver bills to the biller's Web site. The software can also route bills to any number of bill consolidators or Consumer Service Providers such as TransPoint or Quicken.com.

Oracle's entry into the online billing market, underscored by CEO Larry Ellison's speech earlier this week to some 8,000 bankers at the Las Vegas conference, has been in the works for at least a year. Version 1.0 of Oracle Internet Bill & Pay, originally code-named Tribeca, is being supported by two other vendors in the online billing market, CyberCash and CheckFree, emphasizing the complex nature of the so-called bill-paying and presentment market.