BACKGROUND: Webster Bank will be a $11 billion asset bank, when announced acquisitions are completed, headquartered in Waterbury, Connecticut. With 135 branches, Webster has approximately 30 percent of the market, second in Connecticut behind the much larger Fleet Bank. Webster has expanded rapidly over the past few years, growing through a series of successful mergers and acquisitions from a community bank into a large institution.

PLATFORMS: Allink Agent from Harte-Hanks is running on a two-way 500 MHz Windows NT 4.0 and service pack 5. We also use a Compaq 35GB disk drive and have 2.5GB RAM.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Traditional database marketing requires a database update before the information is useful. Webster wanted a system that provides real-time transaction-level analysis, so we can see and respond to opportunities. For example, it is important to know if a customer makes a big deposit or withdrawal on a given date, so the marketing analyst can be notified of the change in balances and take appropriate action. The bank thinks speed of contact is important. By waiting for summarized files in the database refresh, the company misses opportunities. With Allink Agent, we have speed of contact and the ability to recognize opportunities that may have been missed before.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Allink Agent monitors and analyzes individual front- and back-office customer transactions. It also detects and responds to changes in customer behavior. Additionally, Allink Agent initiates a customized lead based upon flexible rules and feeds leads to telephone banking via lead management tool purchases from another vendor.

STRENGTHS: Allink Agent is enterprise aware, recognizing individual front- and back-office transactions and sequences of transactions across the organization. For example, we can recognize and respond the same day to situations where a customer cashes a CD and deposits it in his or her checking account. In this case, we would recognize the fact that we are about to lose that money and respond with a personal phone call. We can also respond when a customer deposits a large sum of money one day and withdraws it the next. With old weekly or monthly database updates, we never saw this.

WEAKNESSES: The system requires a high degree of system administration knowledge and cannot be run by inexperienced operators. As a beta site, we experienced minor technical issues that we have resolved. Because the system is custom built for each installation, establishment of the rules is a major time commitment.

SELECTION CRITERIA: First, short of investing millions of dollars in an enterprise-wide data warehouse, there is only one other vendor that provides the functionality we found in Allink Agent. Allink Agent gives us all of the advantages of real-time access to critical data. This is necessary to develop programs that react in seconds to customer and prospect transactions that indicate a profit opportunity for Webster. Without Allink Agent, we had no way to capitalize on the action.

DELIVERABLES: Allink Agent provides telephone banking outbound sales reps with cross-sell and retention leads each day. These leads are highly targeted and qualified because they are in response to changes in customers' behavior the previous day. The leads enable more timely customer contact and identify opportunities that would have been missed through traditional database mining campaigns.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Harte-Hanks Data Technologies is viewed by Webster as a partner not a vendor. Like any well-managed partnership, the Webster/Harte-Hanks partnership has been an excellent experience.

DOCUMENTATION: We are still in the joint development phase of the project. Final documentation is under development and will be delivered shortly. What we have to date is well done.

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