Polaris moves to .NET

Polaris Software Lab has brought out a new software module within its financials services suite that is its first to utilize the .NET platform and SQL Server database from Microsoft.

Previously, the Chennai, India, software and services vendor built its banking suite, Intellect, around Java Enterprise Edition with Oracle's database. Some of Polaris' customers want to use Microsoft technologies on more cost-effective Intel-architecture computers, said Koen van Den Brande, chief technology officer of Polaris.

The company's new customer delinquency management system, called Collect.NET, is based on one of the products already available on Intellect.

Financial services giant Citigroup of New York is both a customer of and an investor in Polaris, holding about 43 percent of the company's equity. In 2002, Citigroup merged its OrbiTech technology subsidiary with Polaris. Business from Citigroup currently accounts for more than 50 percent of Polaris' revenue.

Polaris plans to move some of the other modules of its Intellect suite to Microsoft technologies depending on customer demand, van Den Brande said. Development work around the Intellect suite will also continue, he added.

However, Polaris is not positioning itself as a product company, focusing instead on SOA (services oriented architecture), installing new functionality for customers. "As our target customers are large tier-one and tier-two banks, a pure product play is not really that successful as most of the larger banks are not looking to replace their entire systems with, say, an integrated universal banking system," van Den Brande said.

New capabilities will have to be integrated with the banks' existing systems using SOA, he said. In the current market, monolithic applications from the company's competitors are no longer relevant, and have to be taken apart and offered as a collection of services, he added.

Polaris was a launch partner with Microsoft for Visual Studio 2005 and SQL Server 2005 in Bangalore during a visit to India this month of Bill Gates.

Polaris has about 10 sites where parts of the Intellect suite have been installed. It announced in November that Lloyds TSB Bank in the U.K. has selected Intellect for part of its international cash management system.

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