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New software integrates MasterCard purchasing with SAP R/3

MasterCard International and SPS International Ltd. have released new software to integrate procurement information from MasterCard Corporate Purchasing Cards with SAP R/3 and other ERP systems. Called MasterCard SmartLink, the software integrates the MasterCard payment and data delivery mechanism into an ERP system, streamlining the monitoring, management and administration of direct and indirect corporate expenses, the companies said.

SmartLink was designed to harness SAP R/3's tight controls and eliminate the need for manual processes for payment and data delivery. It allows businesses to automatically collect purchasing data, approve transactions, generate invoices, merge data with the general ledger, make split payments and download individual transaction information. Full transactional details are available to designated company executives within 48 hours, according to Philip Philliou, vice president of MasterCard Electronic Commerce and Emerging Technologies.

When a corporate cardholder is using the MasterCard for purchases, that information is sent to the issuing bank and to the MasterCard global data repository, Philliou said. The data is then sent to the corporation's SAP R/3 system, its general ledger system and appropriate cost centers, he said.

"This isn't a batch approach. It's fairly real-time," Philliou added. "What's unique is that MasterCard has this central data repository" that sends the data back into a company's R/3 system.

SmartLink is provided to companies by the bank issuing the corporate MasterCard, Philliou said. An average implementation takes two to three days and is done by the person in charge of the R/3 system, usually a consultancy..

Pricing is based on the number of card purchases and the complexity of the installation, with a flat licensing fee of $100,000. SmartLink should pay for itself in two to three months based on cost savings, said Philliou.

One consultant, who spoke to searchSAP via the SAPFans Web board and identified himself as "Dave," said he feeds corporate purchasing and credit card data into SAP. A third-party vendor gets the credit card data from Visa, then massages and boosts the data supplied to Visa by the company's SAP systems. Reporting is then conducted, and files are created that are fed to the company's SAP system weekly. Custom ABAP programs were written to input the data and do control reporting. Basically, it's an outdated batch approach, "Dave" said.

If he were a part of the decision-making process, "Dave" said he would definitely take a look at SmartLink.


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