Monitise, IBM Expand Mobile Technology Cooperation

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London-based Monitise and IBM are expanding their collaboration by combining more mobile banking, payments and commerce technology and staff.

The new global digital commerce and resourcing alliance extends a July alliance that allows IBM to offer Monitise's mobile banking solution and an earlier collaboration in 2013.

The new agreement combines IBM's sales and specialist resources with Monitise's Mobile Money services, according to a press release issued Wednesday. Following the agreement, Monitise will transfer its UK Professional Services staff that focuses on business development and integration, and an unspecified number of contractors who represent roughly 20% of Monitise's global employee base, to IBM. As a result, Monitise's technology talent will be available to both Monitise and IBM.

IBM now has the option to offer existing and future Monitise-based Mobile Money solutions to its customers. IBM will in turn deliver services back to Monitise. In the business-to-business space, Monitise's technology will be hosted and sold worldwide as an IBM cloud-delivered solution.

The plan is to initially target commercial opportunities at financial institutions, according to the release, but together the companies will also address "the needs of mobile network operators, retailers and any vertical requiring simple API connectivity to bank-grade, interoperable and scalable mobile payment and commerce functionality and content," according to the release. The collaboration "will substantially increase Monitise's ability to handle larger custom projects globally," and to standardize its solutions. All Monitise contracts and client relationships, intellectual property, commitments and delivery remain unchanged.

In the long-term, the collaboration will help Monitise fulfill certain strategic priorities announced in March 2014 when the company said it plans to be profitable by fiscal year 2016 and increase the number of its Mobile Money program users to 200 million by 2018.

This deeper level of collaboration with IBM "marks a new milestone" in establishing IBM and Monitise as a global powerhouse, Alastair Lukies, chief executive officer of Monitise, said in the release. "Together, we are in an unrivalled position to enable banks and other leading businesses to build on mobile banking and payments capabilities to tap into the growing digital commerce opportunity."

"The biggest driver behind this deal," Lukies added, is a goal to provide access to Mobile Money tools for businesses around the world, whether they are a start-up, mid-sized or international bank, mobile network operator or retailer.

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