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 Customer-CentriC innovation
 Can Operational Excellence and Client Focus Go Hand-in-Hand?

                          T
                                  he desire for increased productivity is a key      experience quickly gets locked into the death
                                  driver of innovation, but it can sometimes         spiral of price competition, especially in the
                                  seem at odds with another important                increasingly commoditized world of financial
                          business imperative: customer-centricity. WFS              services. Innovations in the way you reach, build
                          spoke with Jason Rushforth, senior vice president          relationships with, and deliver service to your
                          of CDC Software, about whether innovation,                 customers can pay off many times over, because
                          productivity, and customer-centricity can coexist.         this locks in a clear competitive advantage.
                          WFS: Jason, a lot of the push for innovation                     This is not to say that internal efficiencies cannot
                          is focused on operational efficiencies and                 also be the focus of customer-centric innovation.
                          productivity. Is this a mistake?                           A call-center agent who is able to access and apply
                                                                                     customer information more quickly and effectively, for
                          JR: Not at all. There’s no question that financial
                                                                                     example, is not only more efficient and productive, but
  Jason Rushforth         services firms need to focus on operational
                                                                                     also capable of delivering faster and better service to
  senior vice president   excellence and innovative ways to do more with
                                                                                     the customer. Similarly, more rapid client on-boarding
  CDC Software,           less. But at a time when many financial services
                                                                                     benefits both the customer and the firm. Such
  providers of            firms are struggling to regain trust and rebuild
                                                                                     innovations are clearly a “win-win.”
  Pivotal CRM for         customer relationships, they need to make sure
  Financial Services      they don’t lose sight of their customers in the            WFS: What kind of technology support do FS
                          process. After all, even the most productive and           firms need to be able to undertake these kinds of
                          innovative firm will fail if it has no customers.          innovations?
                          WFS: How can FS firms keep the customer in                 JR: When it comes to delivering an innovative
                          their line of sight as they look to innovate and           customer experience and improving front-office
                          increase productivity?                                     operations, client relationship management software
                                                                                     is the core system, so it’s no surprise we’re seeing
                          JR: It’s a matter of recognizing that the internal
                                                                                     many financial services firms taking a long, hard
                          (tools, processes, etc.) and the external (the customer
                                                                                     look at their existing CRM systems right now. It’s in
                          experience) are not two separate issues or fronts
                                                                                     this context of innovation that you see very clearly
                          for innovation – they’re in fact inextricably linked.
                                                                                     that the differences between CRM systems don’t
                          How you operate internally impacts how customers
                                                                                     come down to a simple checklist of features – it’s far
                          experience your firm externally. Therefore, a firm
                                                                                     more about the system’s underlying infrastructure
                          has to consider how a given innovation will affect
                                                                                     and overall flexibility. FS firms looking to innovate
                          the customer: if it cuts costs internally, will it do so
                                                                                     need CRM that is flexible and malleable enough
                          at the expense of customer service? Will a measure
                                                                                     to model whatever unique and innovative new
                          introduced to increase employee productivity end up
                                                                                     process or strategy the firm desires. And it has to
                          short-changing the customer?
                                                                                     be able to do so quickly and cost-effectively: an
                          WFS: Is it possible to innovate in a manner that           innovation that takes years to implement may no
                          benefits both the firm and the customer?                   longer be innovative when it’s complete! We’re
                          JR: Unquestionably. If a financial services firm           seeing increased value placed on attributes such as
                          takes a customer-centric approach to innovation,           ease of customization and integration, ability to
                          it can reap countless benefits. A natural starting         support complex or unique processes, incorporation
                          point, of course, is to truly listen to customers.         of existing Microsoft technologies and tools, and the
                          What do they value? What opportunities for                 like. Firms are realizing that innovation is not just
                          improvement in your firm do they see? It sounds            about a great idea, but the ability to implement it.
                          obvious, but many firms overlook the power of
                          their customer base as a source of innovative ideas.       Jason Rushforth is senior vice president at CDC
                          Secondly, firms need to consider the customer              Software, providers of Pivotal CRM for Financial
                          experience itself as a key area to which                          Services, an innovative suite of customer
                          innovation can – indeed, must – be                                relationship management solutions.
                          applied. A firm that does not differentiate                       To learn more, visit
                          itself through a distinctive customer                             www.pivotal.com/financialservices.

24 Fall 2009                                                                   www.windowsfs.com • Windows in Financial Services

				
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