Romania-based Allevo has started to flesh out plans for moving its existing messaging platform, qPayintegrator, onto a full open source model. The supplier has a large number of domestic banks as users but has struggled to move beyond here. It is hoping that this will change with a shift to a collaborative basis for development and delivery, with its own focus turning to services, consulting and adding value around the core messaging engine.

From initial informal approaches to banks, including its customers, the reaction has been positive, says account manager, Alina Enache, but she admits that there is some way to go before the market is convinced about the open source route. There would be no licence fee for taking the core platform and third party companies and banks with sufficient IT resources would be able to carry out and share developments. For instance, she says, if a bank built a new report, it could put this into the community, potentially charging for the development.

In this, Allevo’s plans have some similarities with the appstore-type models being introduced by US vendors, Open Solutions, Intuit and Jack Henry & Associates. However, these companies are not going as far as Allevo in terms of opening up their entire platforms.

Allevo is seeking an independent, trusted third party to provide the governance around the open source offering. There have been some early discussions, including with Swift and the Romanian clearing house, Casa Romana de Compensatie (CRC). The partner would provide the security, set the rules and legal framework, and manage testing. Finding a safe environment with strong security will be key to gaining market acceptance, says Enache.

Allevo hopes everything will be in place by 2016, after a phased introduction. The company at this point will no longer be the main sponsor of the platform but will be a developer, alongside others. Existing customers will be migrated to open source during 2013 and will effectively become the early adopters, says Enache. The legal aspects will be finalised and the search will continue for a governance partner. Allevo’s software development director, Horia Beschea, says the company is assessing open source database, PostgreSQL, as an option, but banks will still be able to use others, such as Oracle, although they will need to license these. The core of qPayintegrator is C++, with Java at the front-end, he adds.

Allevo’s sole success to date outside of Romania was a win in 2010 at a microfinance institution in Kenya, Musoni, running on a hosted version of its system in the Netherlands. This customer is planning to extend its use of the system to Uganda. Allevo continues to bid for international deals and it has recently signed a partner for Portugal and Portuguese-speaking Africa, Descontel. However, international expansion is clearly proving tough. The aim of the open source plans is to ‘achieve a larger footprint in the market’, says Enache.

by IBS Intelligence