EDS Going after Electronic-Billing Business in Europe
Snel, Ross, American Banker
Electronic Data Systems Corp. is diving headfirst into the European market for electronic bill presentment.
The Plano, Tex., computer services company, which for the past 14 months has marketed Internet billing in the United States, announced this week that it would seek business across the Atlantic.
Europe is "very attractive -- in fact, wide open -- and the needs of the market match our strengths," said Jay Ruuska, vice president of interactive billing services for EDS Europe. Those strengths, he said, include a focus on business-to-business billing and an already established international presence.
EDS rival International Business Machines Corp. has also begun marketing electronic billing services in Europe through its global services division. Both companies rely on software from BlueGill Technologies Inc. of Ann Arbor, Mich., to format data from legacy systems, complementing it with other technology and their own systems integration services. Many European companies are also trying to get into electronic billing, said Avivah Litan, research director at GartnerGroup, Stamford, Conn.
These firms will compete for a piece of a market that, according to analyst Michael Killen of Killen & Associates, is "getting ready to take off."
Mr. Killen estimates revenues from electronic billing software, services, hardware, and processing will reach $3.4 billion in Europe next year, compared to $4.3 billion for the U.S. market.
EDS executives said they expect to sign a significant number of European clients in the first half of 2000 and will focus on the telecommunications, government, manufacturing, and financial sectors. They foresee Germany, the United Kingdom, and France emerging as the biggest markets but also predict strong interest from companies in Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and Scandinavian countries. …