New research shows that penetration of electronic delivery has reached rates of 85 percent, 96 percent and 45 percent for corporate users of banking, securities and insurance products, respectively, according to "Corporate Electronic Delivery Technologies," a report from Needham, MA- based Meridien Research.

In keeping with this growth, dramatic changes are occurring in the technology infrastructure supporting the electronic delivery of corporate financial products and services. "Over 20 years, banks have been adding new forms of electronic delivery, moving from terminal emulation to DOS, then Windows and browsers without getting rid of anything," says Meridien research director Deborah Williams.

The high penetration rates of these services are driven by the on-going demands of corporate customers for electronic access to account information and on-line transaction capabilities, according to report findings.

Williams says that corporate customer demand for more electronic delivery has created an electronic services support burden and high-cost structure that financial institutions are no longer willing to bear. Consequently, financial services providers are turning to Internet and intranet technologies to deliver information, reporting and transaction capabilities to corporate customers. This movement to browser-based services is reducing costs and increasing customer usability and convenience.

At present, this means that a multitude of delivery systems are in play and that banks, for example, face the burden of becoming Help Desks for clients, says Williams. "All financial institutions have several electronic delivery systems available and are looking for ways to simplify them," she says. "They are consolidating their systems, looking to support fewer options and moving to intranet and extranet technologies that are easier to support."

The report estimates global spending on corporate electronic delivery technology to be US$975 million in 1997 with a projected growth rate of four percent compounded annually.

The report also examines the functionality, strengths and weaknesses of vendor solutions for corporate electronic delivery. Systems implementation case studies include CoreStates, First Maryland and Royal Bank of Canada. FB

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