Advances in Web technology may mean banks can stave off desktop upgrades and still give firmwide access to data mining tools.

Direct marketer Harte-Hanks recently unveiled a Web-enabled version of its widely used personal computer information system (P/CIS) which allows institutions to use older PCs for database access applications. "The major advantage is really to protect the client's desktop investments," says Dick Wai-Cheong Man, evp of Harte-Hanks technology strategy and development.

The traditional P/CIS system, a data mining tool that generates a comprehensive view of each customer, requires a Windows NT desktop. The Web-enabled P/CIS is made possible through a Harte-Hanks alliance with Fort Lauderdale, FL-based Citrix Systems using Citrix's WinFrame server. With this server, PCIS can access virtually any Windows application, over any network, on any client. So while the P/CIS user interface executes on the client side, the application actually executes on the WinFrame server.

Most likely reason for financial institutions to choose this product? Integration nightmares posed by continuing industry consolidation. "The bank has a whole other series of users to take into consideration (after an acquisition)," says Harte-Hanks' marketing director Laura Naylor.

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