BACKGROUND: Mellon is a global financial services company with approximately $2.5 trillion in assets under management, administration or custody. One of the world's leading providers of wealth management and global asset management for individual and institutional investors, as well as global investment services for businesses and institutions, Mellon also offers a comprehensive array of banking services for individuals and small, mid-size and large businesses and institutions in selected geographies. Headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Mellon has operations or joint ventures around the world.

PLATFORM: MVS operating system.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Mellon's wide array of product and service offerings are managed by numerous and diverse application systems. Mellon was looking for a solution that would allow us to integrate the customer information maintained within each of these platforms in order to understand and manage the total relationship we have with our customers from a single view. In doing so, we desired an automated, online, real-time capability. Innovative Systems (ISI) CRM Accelerator software helped us to achieve this result.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: CRM Accelerator offers several capabilities for processing customer information. These capabilities include name and address data parsing, name and address scrubbing and standardization, customer matching (both consumer and corporate), consumer householding and corporate family identification. The product functions by augmenting our internal customer information processing capability. For example, as part of our new account setup process, we invoke a call to ISI's scrubbing software which parses and standardizes the incoming customer information. The resulting ISI information allows us to search our customer base for possible matches. The new customer and the set of possible candidate matches are then processed by a second call to ISI's matching software. The result of the second call is an ISI assigned rank value which allows us to determine if the customer opening the new account is, in fact, a new customer or an existing customer establishing an additional relationship with Mellon.

STRENGTHS: Flexibility, accuracy and reliability are key strengths. The word and phrase, key generation, alias name and rank tables can be customized to suit the user's environment. These tables allow the product to parse and assign data values based on internal corporate standards. The product does an excellent job of matching customers, helping to ensure that a customer is identified once and only once. This applies to the householding capability as well. The product is very reliable.

WEAKNESSES: The customization of the rank tables used in the various products is a time-consuming but required task if the product is to be used successfully within a given customer information-processing environment. ISI offers a default set of ranks, but we have found it necessary to modify them in order to conduct our business appropriately. In addition, the name and address parsing function occasionally eliminates key words from the actual customer name and address fields that causes matches to be missed. This may require software fine-tuning to obtain desired results.

SELECTION CRITERIA: We've had a relationship with ISI as both a data processor and a software vendor in excess of 20 years. Their area of expertise is customer information. We chose their software products over two other leading competitors because we felt the ISI products were easier to implement and maintain on an ongoing basis.

DELIVERABLES: The CRM product parses, scrubs and processes preformatted customer name and address information in order to process it for matching, householding and other related purposes. The result of each function is an output file which can be used to update our customer information database. In addition, appropriate reports and/or files are generated for data exception handling. The data exception handling process can be accomplished with an automated review tool if desired.

VENDOR SUPPORT: ISI was on-site for our initial planning sessions, and their support staff was very knowledgeable. Their technical staff is accommodating as well. We have brought performance and environmental issues to their attention, and ISI has improved or modified their product within weeks to satisfy our request. With respect to on-call support, it's hard to judge. The products run so reliably we've only had one incident which required us to use their service, and the service we did receive was excellent.

DOCUMENTATION: The CRM documentation is understandable; we installed the householding component without on-site support. We did, however, have to make a few clarifying phone calls which were promptly handled.

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