ISO 20022 is there for us all…?

With SAP AG, it is similar to the home games of Bayern Munich. If the best in the class plays at home, the crowds flow out in the “Allianz Arena” to see top-level football in Germany. There was not top-class sport on the 05th of October, 2009 with the SAP AG in Walldorf, however, rather high-class presentation on the subject ISO 20022. The current developments, trends and future prospects of ISO 20022 were presented to the participant’s circle from banks, to corporates as well as representatives of organizations.

For many companies it might concern with ISO 20022 new territory, or raise the question:„Do we need this format in our company at all? If so, when and how we proceed?“ Questions about questions which may arise in the near future to the corporates?

At the beginning to the questions of “When” or “Why” Martin Schlageter of Roche delivered an interesting answer. At the moment the Swiss company will carry out no changeover to the global format, but develop rather the communication via SAP IDoc! Why? SAP IDoc formats are accepted in nearly all countries by a huge number of banks and are processed what is not the case with ISO 20022 probably yet. At the moment a clear decision against the new payments formats.

But we turn the wheel back in place again and ask the question: “For whom is ISO 20022 generally interesting?“ Well, the format might be interesting for nearly all worldwide operating companies.

SEPA after this …?

The question gets entangled immediately in a contradiction. Does “Worldwide” not enclose also the SEPA region? If so, why in this case should be made a switch to the SEPA formats? Finally, they constitute is only a “subset” of ISO 20022 and would represent an additional effort in the strategy of payments. However, how does it look to the acceptance of ISO 20022 at the banks? Which banks are able to cover the range of ISO 20022 message formats? The acceptance may well be similar to those banks that can process up to now the SEPA Direct Debit – probably even lower. It is not encouraging for the short term to use ISO 20022.

Another hurdle might be in the necessary software for the reception and dispatch of the files. A global and relatively easy accessibility of the banks is at the moment only possible with SWIFT. Conventional software usually is not designed for this. For SMEs, this path is likely however, remain closed until further notice! SWIFT Alliance Light could be an alternative – for many, but still too unknown!

Option for the future

For SMEs it is difficult to shift, therefore it is too expensive – for corporate not yet mature enough. Too many questions about acceptance and further development, and remain are open. Present there are not enough comparative models in which a reasonable business case could be accepted.

For many companies it should therefore remain at first an interesting approach. But not much more! The message of the SAP to the participants, however, was clear: SAP has done its homework, and provides its customers with the necessary tools for a quick and easy migration path from today already.