Financial Services Firms Bank on Technology to Improve Their Customer Relationships, IDC Says

FRAMINGHAM, MA – FEBRUARY 6, 2001 – Financial services firms are banking on technology to enhance their customer relationships. According to IDC, they are scrambling to integrate back-office procedures with the initial point of customer contact and install customer relationship management (CRM) systems. Critical to their efforts will be establishing a central customer information file that can be updated in real time.


"Movement from a product-centered to a customer-centered business strategy is the critical motivator driving financial services firms to invest in the resources necessary to convert existing systems and data to new technology," said Karen O’Brien, a research manager with IDC’s Global Research Organization. "Creating a central customer information file will be essential to their efforts because it will help them achieve many of their business objectives, such as enhancing customer service, increasing customer retention, analyzing customer and product profitability, and improving cross-selling strategies."

IDC believes the technology needed to integrate the myriad of legacy systems and the resources needed to complete the conversion process to establish and maintain a centralized customer information file may prove challenging. Another difficulty will involve tailoring the information from the database to the delivery channel. Customers will expect the same level of service regardless of if they walk into a branch office, telephone a call center, or log on to a Web site.

"The ultimate business goal is to provide consumers with the same high level of service and response time regardless of the delivery channel they choose," O’Brien said.

Toward this end, solutions that can accommodate an evolving distribution structure will be in demand. According to IDC, technologies that fit this bill include XML-enabled applications, storage area networks, and object-oriented databases.

IDC believes financial services firms that are successful in their efforts to create centralized customer information files and integrate back-office procedures with customer contact points will experience increased profits in addition to improved customer relationships.

IDC recently published Technology Challenges Facing Financial Services Companies (IDC #B23602). This bulletin examines the experiences of two companies that have integrated their customer channels with their back office. It identifies integration drivers and adoption trends in integration-enabling technology in U.S. banks and large financial services companies. Additionally, it presents the benefits and obstacles to establishing centralized customer information files. To purchase this report, contact Cheryl Toffel at 1-800-343-4952, extension 4389, or email her at

About IDC

IDC is the foremost global market intelligence and advisory firm helping clients gain insight into technology and ebusiness trends to develop sound business strategies. Using a combination of rigorous primary research, in-depth analysis, and client interaction, IDC forecasts worldwide markets and trends to deliver dependable service and client advice. More than 700 analysts in 43 countries provide global research with local content. IDC's customers comprise the world’s leading IT suppliers, IT organizations, ebusiness companies, and the financial community. Additional information can be found at

IDC is a division of IDG, the world's leading IT media, research and exposition company.

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