What eCo OfferseCo makes it easier for financial institutions to adopt each other’s software on terms that work for everyone.
Institutions interested in buying software instead of building it themselves face the problem that most live banking technology is invisible to them. The many thousands of proprietary applications developed by other financial institutions are effectively “dark pools” of technology. eCo can help potential buyers to discover what could be available within these dark pools.
Conversely, institutions who are interested in commercialising software that they have developed face the problem that the size of their potential market is unknown. eCo can help to establish this so that rational investment decisions can be taken.
eCo maintains a register of software components that are available to license, subject to approvals set by the component sellers and can also help parties bring early thoughts of such an arrangement to reality.
Buyers and sellers both face the uncertainty of wondering how well software that was developed for use by one institution will work for another. To bring light to this we have developed a unique “deep dive” service to analyse software portability. This evaluates and scores software on a range of dimensions that anticipate the experience that buyers can expect in their implementation and use of the software. While the deep dive analysis follows a proprietary eCo methodology, the findings and their determination are fully transparent and documented in a report that is available to buyers.
This is beneficial to software licensors in that it identifies work that is needed to make commercialisation successful. It is, of course, also beneficial to buyers as it highlights, pre-sale, findings that would normally only surface during a long acceptance test phase.
The eCo Technical Assessment can continue throughout the use of the software, enabling us to track the evolution of quality over time, re-scoring it over major releases and reporting upon the longitudinal impact of each party who is amending the code line.
Even when institutions who develop software for their own use manage to commercialise it, supporting clients is a different and potentially much greater challenge. In most cases eCo expects a service partner to be engaged for this. The service partner will be a software company that has an established competency for client support. For buyers, the service partner provides product support (where the product is the source code). For sellers, the service partner provides a decoupling from the buyers. For the community as a whole, the service partner’s role is to keep as many parties as possible on a commonly re-converging code line for as long as possible, thus reducing total cost and improving overall quality.
eCo can, alongside sellers and buyers, find the right service partner for each component. If, in any case for any reason, the relationship is not working out well for either side, eCo can try to remediate any problems and, where necessary, engage a new service partner and ensure a graceful transition.
Virtually all attempts to mutualise IT costs between financial institutions and technology companies, even amongst those that have worked, have required extensive and expensive negotiation to agree IP ownership, the responsibilities of each party and commercial terms.
We believe that much more mutualisation is needed and hence that the process of achieving it must be streamlined. eCo achieves this through (1) a standard business model under which all parties get a direct financial benefit corresponding exactly to their manner of participation, and (2) a Master Services Agreement (MSA) that shrink-wraps the legal/procurement process.