Wednesday, December 12, 2001

Bottomline delivers for UPS, gets resale help from Unisys

Published in Interface Tech News

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. ‹ Continuing its march to prominence in the electronic payment and invoicing sector, Bottomline Technologies will be providing the back end for Atlanta-based United Parcel Service's (UPS) electronic billing system. The company also expects a November reseller agreement with Unisys, of Blue Bell, Pa., to really get rolling in January.

"We have implemented an electronic invoice delivery system for (UPS)," said Bottomline CEO Dan McGurl.

Clients using UPS' Web site will be able to register to receive invoices on-line and make electronic payments, including viewing billing summaries and details of specific invoices.

McGurl described the deal as "a multi-million dollar one" that is part of a continuing relationship between the companies.

It is another step in Bottomline's efforts to support the increasing demand for electronic invoicing and payment. McGurl said the recent uncertainty about the safety and reliability of the U.S. postal system has pushed more companies into exploring alternatives to paper invoice and payment systems.

Another boost for Bottomline in the New Year will be the resale of Bottomline software by banking and financial services giant Unisys. The agreement was made in November, but the ramp-up period lasted through late December, paving the way for sales this month.

"This product that we've developed," McGurl said, "is something that (Unisys) didn't have." He expects the company to integrate Bottomline's electronic payment-to-invoice matching software into its own offerings, saving time for both payer and payee, and allowing better control of cash flow for both parties.

Avivah Litan, vice president and research director at the Gartner Group, said Bottomline is thriving even as the economy slides. "The truth is it's doing pretty well," Litan said.

She said electronic invoicing is growing, with about 20 percent of all business-to-business invoices already electronic.

The advantage for companies like UPS, who are Bottomline clients, Litan said, is the adaptability of the software packages.

"They allow the customers to live in the paper world and the electronic world at the same time," she said, making migration a comfortable process for the client.

And closing the deal with Unisys will provide a big boost for both companies. "Unisys has been trying to penetrate this market for a while," Litan said, adding that Bottomline's small sales force "needs all the partners and resellers they can get."