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03:52 PM
Cynthia Ramsaran
Cynthia Ramsaran
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Teaming Up To Offer More Services For the Growing Middle Market

BankOne partners with Great Plains Software to provide a solution for middle-market business owners.

BankOne partners with Great Plains Software to provide a solution for middle-market business owners.

Chicago-based BankOne has initiated a joint effort with Microsoft Business Solutions to provide middle market customers with a service that allows them to automate business transactions as part of their banking services.

BankOne (assets of $290 billion) is working with Great Plains Software Inc. (Fargo, N.D.), a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft, to aid mid-market business owners in integrating management processes, such as payables and receivables. The launch is coming along at the right time for middle-market customers, who make up a significant target market for BankOne, according to Kathleen Nugent, senior vice president and head of product development.

"There are a couple of elements to the timing. One has to do with the [bank's] overall relationship with Microsoft that was established at a corporate level," explains Nugent. "This has been under development for a number of months. While the business need was identified a number of months ago, we wanted to make sure there was a market need and that we were approaching it the right way. We're bringing it to market now because we're ready and because our customers are ready.

"This was an opportunity to create a solution that could appeal to a large number of customers and to provide them immediate value in terms of a standardized implementation and a standardized product offering," Nugent says. "We can go anywhere the Great Plains software can go, and Great Plains currently has tens of thousands of customers, all the way from fairly simple, large or 'low-end' corporate companies to very complex small companies."

The complete suite of enterprise resource planning (ERP) and management tools includes check outsourcing, electronic payments and receivables, and receivables reporting, as well as a positive-pay feature that identifies discrepancies between checks for payments and those issued by customers, says Nugent.

"We have fraud management capabilities that are very strong that allows a middle market company to do positive pay, which is a way of managing their payments," she continues.

Existing customers can receive the software as a complimentary upgrade. Prospective customers are required to buy the software from Great Plains and the business solution from BankOne, says Nugent. She adds: "We absolutely expect this is something we are going to be able to leverage for acquisition of new customers, and for retention of existing customers."

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