Observers have been predicting that Wall Street will make more use of business intelligence software in their customer dealings for years — "This year, Wall Street will rediscover its customers," one customer analytics expert said to me in 2008. But while business intelligence software, which turns raw numbers into easily read visuals such as charts, graphs and simple reports, is widely used in the capital markets for performance measurement and perhaps risk monitoring, it has yet to be commonplace in the area of serving and selling to customers.
Yet BNY Mellon has been using business intelligence to augment customer relationships since 2007. It laid a foundation for BI when it deployed customer relationship management software from Siebel in 2002, back when it was still Bank of New York. "We decided that CRM was a hot topic, and there was a need at our company to better coordinate and understand what our clients were thinking and doing across our multiple products with multiple sales forces, and internally there was a need to cross-sell better and therefore drive revenue," says Erik R. Beck, managing director, global strategic sales.
All institutional sales units of the firm — which contribute 90% to 95% of revenue — were involved in this project. By 2004, every line of business at Bank of New York was using the Siebel CRM platform. In 2005, business intelligence appeared on the firm's radar. "Business intelligence was always used for risk and revenue reporting and other systems throughout the company but it was never used for client insight sitting on top of CRM systems," Beck notes. Meanwhile, Siebel was bought by Oracle and although BNY Mellon considered other options, it chose Oracle Siebel business intelligence and rolled it out in 2007 after a pilot phase."We did the pilot to get buy-in from people," Beck notes. "You can't roll out something that you designed in a vacuum and expect it to be successful." The pilot involved 10% of the user base, 2,500 people.
A year later, the firm hired Edward Garry, who is now vice president, global strategic sales, away from Oracle to take the business intelligence project live. The goals for this project were threefold: to better understand what clients were doing, to better cross-sell products and to grow revenue. "We had this great source of information in what some people have termed a tool chest, Siebel, but it was very hard to get that information out," Beck says. "You could run a report, but the information didn't jump out at you, it wasn't push and it wasn't necessarily telling you something you didn't already know. Yet we had this wealth of information."
Beck and Garry's team built reports and dashboards in the Oracle software for the sales teams, after meeting with executives and salespeople to find out what types of visualized data would help them do their jobs better. "We were thrilled with the Oracle product because it integrated with what we already had, but it didn't provide the specific metrics we need, so we built everything from scratch, based on feedback that Ed and others have gotten from businesses and salespeople throughout the globe," Beck says.
Building one common business intelligence platform for multiple groups requires some compromise. "One of the things you accept when you pursue a strategy that we have at BNY Mellon, which is to have everybody on one platform, is that you're never going to get everything each person wants perfectly," Beck notes. "If each line of business went its own way on its own platform, they could customize the heck out of it and have exactly what they want. But you would miss out on a lot because you wouldn't be coordinated; you wouldn't know if you were having a turf battle, for instance, because you wouldn't know that someone else was selling to one of your clients. Our original vision was that we'd rather sacrifice some of that customization to have everybody on one platform." Beck believes this produces better results for the clients because the salespeople are better informed, and for the firm because it could improve its cross-selling and revenue-driving activities.
"Everybody is seeing the same information presented the same way, calculated with the same formula, and everybody's making decisions off the same data," Garry says. "The benefits of having an organization where everybody is coming at it from the same angle far outweighs the challenges we had in the beginning."
Line of business leaders and salespeople have gotten different types of insight from the new BI system. "Everybody sees something different," Garry notes. "They'll be looking at a chart or a graph, and someone might say, I see my pipeline needs to grow; another person might say, I'm winning more business than I'm losing or I'm competing against this person more than I'm competing against this other person. We don't always provide the answer to the end user, we provide them with the tools to let them come up with their own answers based on what their business is."
Executives look at dashboards on the system to see who the firm is competing against, what's in the pipeline, why it's won or lost particular client sales, and trends over months, quarters or years. Sales managers can see their top ten deals or most important customers in different divisions around the world. "You can have an informed, single source of truth around what's happening with customers and how we can present our solutions to help them," says Garry.
The ability to see what's going on in other divisions and offices in other countries gives the salespeople an edge, Beck believes. A salesperson can now tell a client that BNY Mellon is working with them on an outsourcing project in Asia, for instance, that the staff client may not know about. "You're telling the client something about their business that they didn't even know and making a more informed pitch," he says. Salespeople can refer to an earlier service issue and offer to follow up. "If you're one specific line of business on your own platform, and not sharing, you won't get any of that," Beck says.
Analytics available in the BI software include sales rep performance versus goals, customer activities versus sales, why opportunities were lost or won and the impact of those results on revenue, and success rates/market share vis a vis competitors. what that means to the bottom line or their revenue impact for that business for this current year. (The data is derived from salespeoples' input into the CRM system.)
For the year ahead, Beck and Garry are focused on improving ease of use for the system. "Most everything the sales person is looking for we can answer within a click or two within the system," Garry says. "But our focus for 2010 will be around enhancing BI, right now you have to go into the system and find your wins vs. goals. It would be better if it could be proactive. We'll deliver that out to you so it's in your desktop Monday morning." Garry also plans to add more charts and graphs and make the system more interactive. "Our focus in 2010 will continue to be on helping people transform our business, to do something they didn't do before, to better compete against a competitor, to help offer solutions rather than products," he says. "With the market as tough as it is, that's more important than ever."