Bank of Montreal to host B2B supply-chain application

Network World |  Development

TORONTO -- The Bank of Montreal next month will launch a hosted business-to-business application that will let its North American corporate customers purchase goods from suppliers and pay for them online using the MasterCard procurement card.

Los Angeles-based Deluxe Labs and Canadian oil producer Syncrude will be among the first bank customers to test the hosted application with their suppliers, says Randy Ford, director of e-purchasing solutions at the Bank of Montreal's electronic banking services division.

The bank is working closely with Oracle Corp. on the project to develop a customized version of the Oracle 11i supply-chain management software. The software, which the bank will host on Sun Microsystems E10000 servers, lets buyers purchase from electronic catalogs, with suppliers sharing invoices and shipping information with the buyers.

Oracle is customizing the application so that the MasterCard procurement card (p-card) can be used by authorized corporate buyers with designated suppliers for stipulated goods, depending on the contract arrangement. American Express and Visa also provide p-cards, which are used like credit cards but don't entail extending credit (or credit charges) to corporations. For the hosted application, Bank of Montreal is concentrating for now on ensuring processing of MasterCard p-cards. Ford noted that the Bank of Montreal, which owns Harris Bank, has a long-standing relationship with MasterCard for p-cards, and is one of the top 10 banks in the world using MasterCard services.

As part of its customized application, the bank of Montreal will link suppliers with its own Web-based data warehouse, which will store the general ledger and payment information about customer purchases. The bank intends to work with customers to integrate data flowing from this warehouse to the enterprise resource planning applications that corporations use internally. That way, it won't be necessary to re-key customer data into these back-end systems to show what goods were purchased or that payment was made.

Bank of Montreal intends to charge a one-time $250,000 fee to use the services, with no transaction fee, says Randy Ford. The bank's intent is not to try and manage an ever-growing B2B exchange, but to help the bank's customers establish online procurement with business partners with p-cards, said Ford.

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