With millions of transactions conducted by retail customers daily-each containing valuable data for developing more targeted, customer segment- specific marketing initiatives-financial marketing executives are sitting on a wealth of information. But if data is not readily accessible, financial institutions are not only wasting precious customer information, but also not tailoring their marketing efforts to result in increased customer profitability.

But a new data warehousing solution incorporating business intelligence tools could give marketing executives the edge they require to produce more profitable results. Dayton, OH-based NCR and Canada-based Cognos, have teamed to bring the market a solution that enables marketing executives to access and analyze specific types of data.

The solution allows institutions to see data in several dimensions, according to Royal Bank of Canada's Ted Brewer, manager of relationship management technologies, personal financial services, who tested the new product over a two-month period. "It's a good solution for companies just starting to get involved in analyzing data," he says.

The solution integrates Cognos' PowerPlay product, a multi-dimensional on-line analytical processing (OLAP) tool, and Impromptu, a tool for client/server querying and reporting, with NCR's Teradata relational database engine. In addition, NCR is incorporating Velox software, which works with the Teradata engine, to further enable marketing executives to leverage detailed information about customers stored across the enterprise.

Both Impromptu and PowerPlay employ advanced technologies so that marketing analysts can explore trends and patterns while viewing transaction details at the same time.

Customizing reports

Velox uses Cognos' business intelligence tools to enable users to build queries, reports, report templates and graphs that fit their institution's market analysis requirements. By using Velox, financial marketing execs can display information such as geographical penetration or channel usage so that marketing strategies can be analyzed and improved.

Carol Martin, Cognos' manager of strategic alliances, says that Velox gives managers the ability to cross-reference data, for example, showing which products, such as mortgage, checking accounts and CDs, are being used in conjunction with each other. By establishing relationships between products, Martin says that marketing executives will know "what type of customer is looking for what type of product. That directly affects the bottom line."

The system can also be used to analyze which branches are performing profitably, which ATM locations work most efficiently and where to open new branches based on current usage patterns.

NCR's David Rocci, director of marketing, customer management solutions for the Americas, says that Velox is "the window to the warehouse" for users seeking highly specific data. Velox, which sells for $67,000, also enables analysts to quickly and easily access information at the desktop, Rocci.

The return on investment for such a solution, Rocci says, depends on the institutions. "If you use (the reports) to drive product sales, that's the return. It's leveraging information. Who are my profitable customers and how do I market to them? It's up to the customer," he says, who adds that one regional banker recently argued that every non-profitable customer is simply a customer for whom that bank hasn't yet found the right product. "This is for people who are trying to refine and hone their marketing process," Rocci says.

The new data warehousing product has not yet been purchased by any financial institutions.

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