BACKGROUND: Customer Analytics Inc. is a leader in industry-specific Web-based enterprise relationship management (ERM) applications. The company's ERM Central application enables every person in an organization to understand each customer's current and potential value (e.g., profitability, lifetime value, loyalty) and plan, execute, measure and refine activities that maximize each customer's value. ERM Central is designed specifically for banking, insurance, brokerage and financial service organizations. It combines all of the required functions for marketing and interfaces with back- and front-office applications.

PLATFORMS: ERM Central is an n-tier application with an NT-based application server. EUREKA:Suite is embedded in ERM Central's application server to provide query, reporting and OLAP functionality.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Financial services institutions (FSIs) are achieving disappointing returns when making selective investments on individual components of customer-centered systems. The disconnects between functional disciplines within an enterprise, combined with the incompatibilities of the various applications being deployed and expensive and hard-to-find skilled workers, have led to high implementation costs and extended implementation times of customer-centered systems while failing to maximize the enormous value resident in most customer and prospect databases. Customer Analytics' application required robust reporting capabilities to successfully address these shortcomings by tightly integrating the variety of internal customer information sources with rich industry content and making it available across the enterprise.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: ERM Central uses the enterprise portal metaphor to provide each person within an FSI with a comprehensive but department-specific view of each customer relationship, thus enabling superior decision making. For example, the finance department sees customer information in financial terms such as return on investment, net present value and profit; product managers in the marketing department work with customer information such as up-sell and cross-sell opportunities, growth and increase utilization opportunities; and the sales department views prospects ranked by potential to buy with recommended product lists and customer profile information. At the foundation of ERM Central is a data mart that is based on Customer Analytics' data model. It stores data from back- and front-office applications about each customer relationship including accounts, transactions, campaign history, demographics, profitability and predictive model scores among others. EUREKA:Suite's powerful reporting capability allows effective presentation of complex data about each customer relationship as well as ad hoc queries on demand.

STRENGTHS: EUREKA:Suite provides ERM Central with a robust, embeddable tool on top of which Customer Analytics can develop industry-specific and ERM-specific content. Its thin-client architecture, combined with its enterprise reporting and information distribution capabilities, enables even non-technical users to quickly access relevant information in reports, documents, URLs and applications through a secure, organized and personalized intranet/extranet access.

WEAKNESSES: When we selected EUREKA:Suite it did not allow us to deploy all the functionality we needed via a thin-client architecture. However, we are confident that EUREKA:Suite's future releases will get to that point shortly.

SELECTION CRITERIA: We knew that our reporting platform had to have a proven track record of performing intricate analyses against large customer-centric data marts. Additionally, it had to be based on a Web-centric architecture and provide an application programming interface that would allow us to deploy ERM Central to a large number of individuals within an enterprise. Sterling Software is clearly proceeding quickly toward a full n-tier, Web-based architecture.

DELIVERABLES: Customer Analytics has multiple customers realizing the benefits of ERM Central which provides an integrated customer relationship view across the enterprise and develops value propositions that maximize each customer relationship.

VENDOR SUPPORT: From the executives who made themselves available to discuss our long-term needs, to the technical staff who helped us through multiple discussions about current and future capabilities of the product set, to the sales and sales support staff who made sure we got timely answers to our questions, the Sterling Software people were a pleasure to work with and made it clear to us that they were interested in a long-term relationship.

DOCUMENTATION: EUREKA: Suite's online and print documentation were satisfactory.

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