There are three ways for corporates (and banks/FIs) to connect to SWIFT: 1) run an in-house dedicated SWIFT interface hosting their BIC, etc., 2) SWIFT service bureau, and 3) Alliance Lite2 - launched in September 2012 (which has a complete new build and commercial arrangements from Alliance Lite) - SWIFT’s cloud solution.
Alliance Lite2 overview
Alliance Lite2 was launched in September 2012 and comprises completely new technology and commercial arrangements from the original Alliance Lite, see figure. Alliance Lite2 is built using SWIFT’s fully featured, premier interface products. Alliance Lite2 runs centrally in SWIFT’s operating centres, hosts the BIC(s) of the end customer(s), and provides the physical connection into the SWIFT network. Customers are able to access Alliance Lite2 remotely from their own premises. SWIFT performs all initial customer setup services, plus on-going back up and maintenance.
Alliance Lite2 - the cloud based connection to SWIFT
Source & Copyright©2014 - SWIFT
Alliance Lite2, supports two modes of operation - Manual and Automated:
In the Manual mode, users make use of a personal USB token to sign-on securely to the Lite2 application via a standard Internet Explorer web-browser running on their Windows PC. The user can then interact via the screen and keyboard to, for example, manually enter, verify and authorize payment instructions, search the system for historical messages, view audit trails, print reports, etc.
In the Automated mode, a software module within Lite2 known as the Autoclient, is typically installed alongside the customer’s TMS (or other back office systems) and it is this that manages the exchange of messages and/or files between the customer’s systems and the central Lite2 system running in SWIFT’s operating centres. The connection between the AutoClient and the Alliance Lite2 central system is typically via a secure SWIFT VPN where all exchanges are encrypted and authenticated.
SWIFT’s Alliance Lite2 has been very successful and has grown faster than other SWIFT connectivity model. There are currently 507 Alliance Lite2 users (some in the process of implementation) of which 30% are corporates. Moreover, of all the new corporates that joined SWIFT in 2013, 40% of them chose to connect via Lite2.
Commercially Lite2 has a low setup fee which includes customised configuration/flows and training. The per transaction fee structure now caters for all sizes of user from small to large volumes. Customer service support includes 24/7 support by e-mail or phone.
Alliance Lite2 v. service bureau
There is no single right or wrong answer for corporates. The main attractions of the Alliance Lite2 solution include the single contract/supplier relationship, SWIFT’s outstanding reliability, and financial stability. The service bureaux advantages include local consultants and specialised value added services beyond the basic Alliance Lite2 basic package.
CTMfile take: SWIFT’s cloud based Alliance Lite2 product has been and will continue to be very successful. It won’t ever suit all corporates because of the unique features and advantages that service bureaux bring. The vital lesson from Alliance Lite2’s success is that cloud based connectivity solutions really are the future of corporate-to-bank integration and operations. SWIFT are just starting to fully exploit this cloud-to-cloud connectivity.
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- SWIFT Corporate Connectivity