Irish software house in US education deal

7 Oct 2003

Dublin-based software firm Norwood Technologies has completed a major US$250,000 J2EE software project for Academic Management Services in the US. The project, a student portal site, has received more than 10,000 electronic payments since June.

Following the completion of the deal Norwood has secured a further line of work from Academic Management Services (AMS), one of the world’s largest providers of integrated payment solutions for higher education and independent school tuition. AMS is a subsidiary of UICI, a diversified insurance and financial services group with assets in excess of US$3bn. AMS provides services to more than 600 educational institutions and has over one million accounts exceeding US$2.4bn in loans.

Norwood’s J2EE technology implementation powered AMS’s student portal, which provides centralised online financial transaction services allowing students throughout the US to manage their education loans from any location. The aim was to retain existing AMS customers and attract new ones.

Using the service, students register their bank account details online and AMS, acting as an intermediary, establishes a direct debit relationship with the relevant financial institution. The students can make electronic payments, change personal information and view payment, cancellation and deferment history according to their requirements.

Since the service went live in June, more than 20,000 students have registered and made over 10,000 electronic payments. The system provides a presentation layer to an IBM/CICS mainframe.

Norwood’s managing director David Johnston said that the company plans to use the knowledge it gained in the US and its experience in J2EE technologies to deploy similar rollouts in Ireland and the UK.

Specialising in developing bespoke systems for financial institutions, telcos and academic industries, Norwood works specifically on J2EE and Oracle technologies. The company includes Putnam Investments, the Massachusetts-based electric and gas utility firm National Grid Plc, NSTAR and imaging firm Kodak.

By John Kennedy