The first phase of this B2B model of transaction uses an escrow route for financial fulfilment. In this route the buyer’s funds are parked in an escrow account in the bank and are disbursed to the seller when specified conditions are met.
With this B2B model of transaction, a deal which is struck at a B2B exchange, is acquired by the bank electronically. The bank then takes over the entire process of the deal, from issuing multi-level approvals, providing alerts on the status of the deal and ensuring the structured release of payments, to monitoring the various statuses such as approval, remittance, dispatch of goods, rejection, etc.
According to Mr. Rivi Varghese, Head - Product Management (Delivery Channels), Banking Business Unit, Infosys Technologies, "B2B transaction enablement is the space to watch out for, as all parties tend to gain tremendously by lowered transaction costs, quicker turn around time and reduction in buyer and seller risks. For banks, this opens up a lucrative revenue stream itself. Banks are the natural choice for fulfilling the trust gap which exists in a B2B deal. We believe that products of this nature will boost the uptake of B2B transactions, as traditionally this was hamstrung by lack of strong financial fulfilment and bank intermediated products."
In her statement Ms. Suvalaxmi Chakraborty, Joint General Manager, ICICI Limited and heading ICICImarkets says, "ICICImarkets.com, the host for ICICISmartPay, is a financial portal developed and maintained by ICICI to cater to information, decision support, solutions, analytics, risk management and financial transaction requirements for Corporates. ICICI SmartPay provides transaction settlement services that enable online payments to be made in a secure and risk free environment."
Adds Mr. J. K. Manivannan, Vice President, ICICI ePayments, who led the initiative for ICICI, "We are pleased to partner with Infosys Technologies for this strategic initiative. We see B2B transaction enablement as an untapped segment with great potential. In developing this product with Infosys, we ensured a level of quality that ICICI customers are used to. ICICI SmartPay can cater to both online and offline business transactions and is ideally suited for certain segments of the industry, especially the commodities and SME sectors."
Mr. Merwin Fernandes, AVP, Head - Global Sales and Marketing, Banking Business Unit, Infosys Technologies states, "This new product significantly strengthens and enriches our suite of products in the e-space such as BankAway for retail and corporate Internet Banking and PayAway for Electronic Bill Presentment and Payment. By addressing a core requirement in the B2B space, it provides us a clear first mover advantage and strengthens our competitive leadership in this space. It may be noted that today most of the banks (over 9) in India that offer true transaction enabled Internet Banking and Bill Presentment and Payment over the net are powered by Infosys products - BankAway and PayAway. We have always enjoyed a special relationship with ICICI Group as one of its strategic technology partners and through this assignment we have once again demonstrated our commitment and capability to enable our customers to leverage our products and services to gain time-to-market advantage and competitive leadership."