Guardian Capital Advisors recently chose to join Merrill Lynch and JP Morgan as users of Janna Contact Enterprise customer relationship management (CRM) software to help enhance customer interactions by making more information available to Guardian's private money managers.
The system, implemented by Sailient Systems, aggregates disparate types of customer information into a database that all employees can access. It is possible, however, to limit viewing of certain pieces of information that either the client or the money manager wish to be confidential. Some pieces of information stored in the database include relationships, holdings, performance, advisors, withdrawals, outstanding issues, tax exposure, interest income, capital gains, management fees, custody fees and a log of customer interactions.
An additional feature of the software is the ability to trigger events such as notifying a money manager if a client makes a large withdrawal from their account. Such a transaction could indicate a dissatisfied client--something the money manager may want to address.
That actual aggregation of information can take place in a number of ways. First, during implementation, Janna and Sailient can glean customer information from existing databases using import wizards that work with most CRM software on the market today. Additionally, clients can manually input existing and incoming information that takes the form of non-electronic records such as minutes from meetings or letters. "A big part of installations is formalizing everything that's in peoples heads or on different pieces of paper, in folders, or wherever else and putting it all in one location where it is backed up nightly," says President of Sailient Systems Bill Rourke.
Once installed, Janna Contact Enterprise is linked to a firm's back office where information regarding portfolio management is automatically fed into the system. Telephones can also be integrated to store additional information.
The system functions in a Windows-based environment and can operate either as a full or thin client. The full client option sees a company such as Guardian installing the software on their own in-house server from which both internal and external employees gain access.
Rourke says that Sailient is in the process of launching an ASP model of the service this fall where Sailient will host the software and allow companies access using a thin client. Access could be achieved either through a private line or the public Internet depending on the needs of the client. The ASP model would include firms paying a monthly fee for the service. Rourke says he thinks Guardian paid around $1000 per user for the software.
Rourke says clients' needs include a steady level of service regardless of which employees they interact with on any given occasion. "Portfolio managers are replaceable," adds Rourke, "It's the reality, especially on the private side. The service has to be excellent."