Offering a new teaser rate might increase customer applications for credit cards. But what impact might this offer have on other areas of the bank - savings for instance? Would the lower rate give customers added cash that a bank might capture with an attractive CD offer? Or how about a refi offer, if the local housing market could bear it? What would be the most cost-effective marketing tool - targeted direct mailer, banner ad, or call-center agent pitch?

Chordiant Software, a provider of decisioning and customer interaction support to major banks, is trying to take the guesswork out of such hypotheticals. This fall, the Cupertino, CA-based firm added a new business virtualization layer to its decision-management platform that can simulate the impact of proposed business-line changes, such as credit-card offers and incentives. The what-ifs are played out, taking real-time data and applying them to current and historical snapshots to accumulate actual and targeted numbers for how any proposed change would impact almost any other product or customer segment.

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