Andersen, Systematics Join To Offer Technology Services
Both Firms Expect to Reach New Markets
Andersen Consulting and Systematics Financial Services Inc. have formed an alliance under which they will jointly market banking software, systems integration, and data processing services to financial institutions.
Systematics, a subsidiary of Alltel Corp., will use Andersen personnel to help install its software and provide consulting and technical expertise for bank clients that require such services. Andersen, in turn, will recommend Systematics' software and the data processing services it offers to bank clients that have hired the consulting firm for technology planning.
The two firms will work with each other exclusively in the United States. Never before has Andersen aligned itself with a single vendor's products. In the past, the consulting firm has formed partnerships with many companies marketing systems to banks.
"We felt we needed hooks to good application software for banking," said William E. Storts, Andersen's managing partner for retail financial services.
The arrangement has benefits for both firms, officials said. The agreement will give Little Rock, Ark.-based Systematics a big-name technology partner with considerable contacts at the largest U.S. banks.
The partnership will give Chicago-based Andersen access to Systematics' regional data centers and its expertise in outsourcing, whereby banks turn their computer operations over to an outside firm. Andersen has been pursuing banks' outsourcing business with little success so far.
The deal also gives Andersen entree into small and medium-size institutions, which make up a significant portion of Systematics' clientele. It also helps Andersen diversify out of the business of strictly building custom software or providing software evaluation services for banks.
Mr. Storts and Systematics executives said the alliance would benefit bank customers because bundled application software and consulting services cost less than contracting for each service separately.
Consolidation in the industry and lower technology budgets are driving banks to purchase ready-made software instead of developing their own. It is also spurring big banks to consider outsourcing all or some of their technology operations.
Neither Systematics nor Andersen, by itself, could afford to develop in-house expertise to shore up product lines.