There are numerous reasons why risk management is perplexing. But not least of which is that while everybody thinks it's a good idea to share information, nobody seems to want to step to the head of the line and lead.

With banks looking on from the sidelines, Archer Technologies jumped to the fore to build The Archer Community and The Archer Exchange. Each are online social networking sites for Archer's 82 clients - including 36 of the top 40 U.S. banks. The sites let customers exchange ideas and best practices for using the Archer's SmartSuite Framework application for automated risk governance, says Archer's vp of marketing and communications Alex Bender.

"What's unique about it is that in addition to our customers putting in a idea to The Idea Exchange itself, our product team interacts with them and many times we're posting specs to the Exchange, getting feedback prior to any code being written by our engineering team," Bender says. "So right out of the chute we feel like we've got a good grasp of what our clients are looking for and not having to wonder if we've hit the mark or not."

Archer is on its fourth installment of SmartSuite, and ideas coming from the site have helped to drive improvements this year for business continuity, disaster recovery and crisis management.

The Overland Park, KS-based company's revenue can't be overlooked, either, since it's put them on numerous "best of" lists. Fiscal year 2007 revenues put Archer at $15 million, up $2.5 million from FY 2006 and Bender says the company is at 60-percent year-over-year growth from last year to this. Of their 82 clients, no single company makes up more than 4.2 percent of Archer's total booked revenue. This is especially important considering the current market turmoil.

"When we have multiple clients in the banking industry...if there's ever an impact to one of our clients or consolidation we can help them through it," Bender says. "We're working with multiple banking institutions and if there are two banks converging [think BofA and Merrill Lynch, another Archer client], we're there to help them through it and make sure that what's being done with one bank, they're clear on how the other is using Archer."

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