There has been a tension in the air of late at Cornerstone. Loyalties are being severed, long-term associations strained, uneasy alliances formed, and accusations hurled.
Only one thing could cause such nastiness, of course – March Madness. With two alma maters in the field (the noble Golden Bears of California and those ruffians from Texas), it’s no wonder that otherwise reasonable adults are at such odds. Thank god the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks didn’t make the field of 64 this year. We’d have blood on the floor by now… but enough of hoops.
One of the systems being discussed quite seriously at many banks we visit nowadays is Enterprise Contact Management. The vision can differ somewhat by bank, but all focus on a system that is a single point of information for all bank employees to access and see:
Vendors have been aggressive in buying or developing these systems as well. CSCS (Fiserv), Siebel (BISYS), Onyx (Metavante), and ZEUS (SDI/S1) are some examples of vendor initiatives that have been undertaken to meet this need. The appeal of most of these systems is the long-term integration with the fulfillment systems (core processing, branch delivery, loan delivery, etc.) used by the salespeople.
Non-bank vendors have been equally active. A multitude of solutions, mostly browser-based, is available and being touted. ACT!, GoldMine, Maximizer, Outlook, and TeleMagic are familiar systems that started as single-user desktop offerings and which are now being bulked up to handle an enterprise. Other systems that have been developed entirely browser-based include SalesLogix, Salesforce.com, Suite 280, and Xert — and this is by no means an exhaustive list. While these systems don’t hype any integration with fulfillment systems, they offer their own appeal — a low cost of entry that provides an easier ROI.
Lots of choices and directions here. And for most banks moving to a more aggressive sales and fulfillment culture, the benefits promised by these systems are enormously appealing.
So how do we translate appeal and promise into action? Which system and approach is right for your bank?
While there is no single answer that’s right for everybody, I would like to suggest a list of issues you should include in any discussions that will (hopefully) help point you in the right direction.
We have discussed Contact Management and CRM systems here, but there are in fact numerous loan and deposit systems that have their own internal contact management modules. Several loan origination, branch platform, and stand-alone call center systems come to mind. If you have non-bank subs such as securities and insurance, their systems almost certainly have a contact management module as well.
There’s a choice to be made hare. Having contact management as a subset of each processing system can certainly work, if sharing records isn’t a priority. Having a single contact management system with interfaces to (or integration with) processing systems can work, too. What probably won’t work long term is doing both at the same time.
The truth is that if contacts are to be shared among different lines of business, everybody has to input and download information into the same system. However, if you look around the bank and observe what people are doing, you will see:
– Commercial lenders and AAs using Baker Hill
– Mortgage lenders using Unifi, INTERLINQ, or some other origination system
– Consumer loan origination groups using Laser Pro, APPRO, or another origination system
– Branch employees using a teller and platform product
– Securities people using a securities system such as Raymond James
– Trust employees using Metavante or SunGard
– Various sales management/prospecting tools that are required by Cohen Brown or other sales programs
– Rogue employees using pirated copies of ACT! or Maximizer but not admitting they do
So, are all of these employees going to gladly and suddenly use a separate contact management system in addition to their key processing systems? Uh uh. People use systems when it makes sense for them to do so. You need to provide the sensible reason first.
The first two issues will only be settled when management has an honest, open conversation about where enterprise contact management is really needed and will make a difference. It makes a huge difference when various business groups share customer data and produce more relationships for each (all privacy issues noted and respected). My guess is that there are groups that will work together over the long term and produce home-run results. Branches and mortgage originators is one pairing that comes to mind. Commercial and trust, or wealth management, is another.
Others probably will never work. Branches and leasing? Insurance and consumer indirect? I have my doubts. But my point is this – challenge the need for common contact systems based on business needs. If multiple groups neither work with nor rely on each other to make goals, go no farther. If they really do, get the business and strategic issues settled (goals, performance reviews, bonuses) before you start the conversation about contact management (or any other systems, for that matter). Either way, the strategic importance of this investment needs to be challenged and articulated.
This probably isn’t an issue that will be solved by version 1.0 of whatever solutions you choose. The fact that strategic focus, process, behavior and technology issues are involved means that there will be no “magic bullet” that solves everything in the first installation. You will need to select a direction, stick to it, and get some benefits in several stages – and that’s OK.
Good luck. And remember, readers – Cornerstone knows all about you. Your name, where you work, the last time we talked to you, your significant other’s birthday, your purchasing preferences, and how you take your coffee. We’ve got it all, baby – right on the yellow post-its stuck on our walls…