Under a turnaround chairman, Broadway & Seymour Inc. is trying to establish itself as the premier provider of software and services that can help banks make the most of their customer information.
Alan C. Stanford, in charge for the last two years, has reversed what was seen as a poorly focused acquisition strategy. The Charlotte, N.C., company has divested businesses in asset management, trust, document imaging, and transaction processing.
It now serves just two markets. To the legal industry its profitable Elite Information Systems Inc. in Los Angeles provides financial management services. To the banking industry Broadway & Seymour provides software and services for customer relationship management, branch automation, and decision support out of Charlotte.
"I believe now we are in the right markets, and I think we have the right comprehensive solution set," Mr. Stanford said. "Now it is execution."
Wall Street is waiting for results. One investment source said Broadway & Seymour still must decide whether it is a product or a services company.
Securities analysts who follow the company said its Touchpoint software is rapidly gaining acceptance. The year-old system culls important information from multiple data bases to give bank representatives a consolidated view of the entire customer relationship.
The system is in various stages of installation at Chase Manhattan Corp., Dime Bancorp, First American Corp., Hibernia Corp., and Old Kent Financial Corp.
Touchpoint is also Broadway & Seymour's contribution to a technology and marketing alliance in relationship-oriented systems coordinated by Action Systems Inc. of Dallas. Hewlett-Packard Co. is another member of that group.
Mr. Stanford said he has more bank sales in the pipeline. Though some vendors cringe at the potential effects of consolidation on their sales, Mr. Stanford is optimistic that Broadway & Seymour will benefit as the bigger banks try to make sense of their vast, disorganized stores of customer information.
Banks are "creating this underlying demand for our area of focus," Mr. Stanford said. "Financial institutions are terribly hard-pressed to view you on a single-relationship basis."
But according to the critical source, who asked for anonymity, three- fourths of Broadway & Seymour's business is in services, as opposed to product sales. This poses a challenge for a company with just $79 million in gross revenue last year.
Accurate revenue and earnings projections are difficult when a sales cycle can last three years and the target market consists of only the largest 50 banks. Mergers could just add to delays in the decision making process.
"He has a good spot in the market," the source said of Mr. Stanford, but "the way the company is structured does not allow him to succeed."
Mr. Stanford disagreed, saying the big services component is essential. Clients need a single source of contact, he said, because of the complex nature of the systems.
Mergers tend to put decisions on hold and "upset the existing balances of power as well as strategies," Mr. Stanford conceded.
"We are discounted right now as a public company because of our inability to predict the bottom line through this relatively new business," he added. "I can handle it, but I wish I didn't have to."
The stock price fell 56.25 cents last week, to$7.1875Friday. Analysts rate it "neutral" or "hold." One analyst expects Broadway & Seymour to break even in its first quarter. Another expects it to lose 10 cents per share.