FleetBoston Financial Corp. is broadening its customer relationship management strategy to include its corporate and global bank clients.
The Boston banking company said Monday that it is installing customer relationship management software from MicroStrategy Inc. of Vienna, Va., to track and analyze information about its corporate clients.
"The corporate side has lagged the retail bank by a year or two in this," said Michael Caron, director of strategic marketing customer information at FleetBoston. "The return on the investment is there, so we are going after the corporate side aggressively."
The multimillion-dollar deal follows the recently completed integration of Fleet's database after the October 1999 merger of its predecessors, Fleet Bank and BankBoston. Six months ago, Fleet chose software from Siebold Systems to help automate sales for its corporate sales force.
FleetBoston, with $181 billion of assets, is one of a handful of banking companies now concentrating on relationships with corporate customers. Most banks have used relationship management software only on the retail side.
In August Chase Manhattan Bank announced that it was installing software from Oracle Corp. to help its 4,500 relationship managers gain access to constantly changing information about corporate customers.
State Street Corp. installed a system a year and a half ago that lets customers and bankers view customer information on the Web. Customers get a daily report on their banking activities and are encouraged to give the bank feedback.
State Street also lets institutional customers send instant messages to their relationship managers as they observe market events on the Web. The company said it also plans to offer video technology so customers and bankers can talk face-to-face.
Using the software from MicroStrategy, FleetBoston's relationship managers will have access to a corporate or institutional client's transaction history. It also categorizes customers by their product use.
FleetBoston's relationship with MicroStrategy began three years ago in its credit card units. Fleet's first corporate banking application with MicroStrategy (which also integrates technology from Boston-based Xchange Inc.) will be analytic software to segment customers for marketing campaigns; it will be rolled out in May. More applications will soon follow, Mr. Caron said.
"We are going to be better able to track and analyze customer portfolios, which improves our ability to offer timely advice for our customers," he said.
Twelve-year-old MicroStrategy, whose other clients include American Express, Visa, and Nasdaq, has software that can be used to categorize corporate customers by their product use, to spot imbalances and debt equity in capital structures, and to identify cross-selling opportunities, said Joe Payne, the company's chief marketing strategist.
"Managing the transaction history for corporate and institutional clients can be a large and profitable business," Mr. Payne said.