Collaborative commerce: Finesse Alliance's newest offering

Collaborative commerce is becoming the new buzz word of Internet business. Finesse launches a new product that will allow different companies to bundle products like they would within the same organization.

Finesse Alliance's new product offering takes partner collaboration to new heights.

SINGAPORE - While businesses have traditionally bundled products and services from different companies to better service their clients, the fluidity of information exchange on the Internet has taken the concept to a level never before imagined.

Consider visiting the website of your bank to put down a mortgage on a new home. While roaming about in there, not only do you get a choice of legal services and insurances - the range of peripheral services required in the mortgage process - but you also get recommendations of interior designers, and possibly, landscaping firms. And waiting in the wings, a digital agent acts to prompt your navigation, anticipates your needs and offer alternatives.

That's the kind of full range interactive services that Finesse Alliance hopes bankers will want enough for their web-sites to buy into its newest collaborative commerce solution.

The product, called Finesse Syndicator, promises to enable the kind of co-ordination among different companies that will allow them to deliver bundled services to the end-user at a single point of contact.

At a demonstration to media and banking representatives yesterday, Finesse executives introduced to the audience a mortgage transaction that included a selection for fire insurance, legal consultation, and interior decorators and real estate agencies.

"Part of the learning from early Internet experience is that we opened the customer's eyes to what they can expect, and now they expect a lot," said David Brearley, chief operating officer for Finesse International.

"First of all, they expect instant access to multiple services on channel of choice. They want convenience."

On the partner end of the solution, Syndicator uses a component called Collaborate to manage co-ordination among different companies.

A partner's view sub-module allows partners to access supply chain information, inventory, and even to insert product and product information into the bundle.

A rule-based engine defines the parameter and extent of a partner's participation in the transaction.

"Now businesses have begun to reach out to their partners to share business information and processes," said Brearley. "And whereas today that's a fairly difficult thing to do, we see this as being the norm and to be done very dynamically and very easily."

The Syndicator is targeted only at the banking industry at the moment.

Finesse has a history of working with the banking industry. All its existing clients are from the finance industry. It even has a product, Finesse mServer that aims exclusively at the banking industry.

The company has also worked with Singapore-based Keppel TatLee bank to build a collaborative framework similar to the one offered by Syndicator.

The bank's portal was launched last December. Customers logging on can secure loan approvals at a much shorter time-span through collaboration between the bank and its legal partners.

"The bank of the 21st century is going to behave totally unlike a bank of 20th century," said Brearly. "And the key change in this stage is the ability to deliver what the customers want, and clearly this will break industry boundaries, there's no question that at this stage the financial services industry will have learnt through other industries to create that openness."

The solution, however, and the kind of capability it promises to deliver, can be employed by any service industry, according to Finesse.

The Syndicator takes about 90 days to set up, depending on the size and requirement. Prices range upward from S$150 000 (US$88,230).