REVIEWERS: David Sproat, group vice president for SunTrust Information Technology, and Greg Holzwarth, senior vice president for SunTrust Customer Information Management Group.

BACKGROUND: SunTrust Banks, Inc. is one of the nation's largest commercial banking organizations. Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, the company operates an extensive distribution network primarily in Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Tennessee, Virginia and the District of Columbia, and also serves customers in selected markets nationwide.


PROBLEM SOLVED: SunTrust takes pride in being a customer-focused organization. Identifying and understanding the bank's full relationship with the millions of customer households is critical to executing its customer-focused strategies. Historically, the process of creating households had been outsourced to a large marketing services provider that updated the bank's profiles on a monthly basis. SunTrust determined that more frequent updates were required to keep pace with their increasingly sophisticated marketing strategies. Because increasing the frequency of the updates would become cost prohibitive using their existing service provider, SunTrust's marketing officials decided to bring the important process in house. In doing so, the marketing group felt that they could achieve two valuable business objectives: obtain updates on a more timely basis and, at the same time, reduce costs. Innovative Systems' i/Lytics mainframe data linking software is in operation at SunTrust, and the bank is now able to increase the frequency of householding its millions of customers as their business needs demand without incurring additional costs from a third-party service provider.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: i/Lytics' sophisticated processing capability provides our marketing officials with a hierarchical view of traditional retail and corporate households, and also identifies households comprised of both retail and corporate members. Innovative has also provided us with reduced householding costs. The SunTrust marketing group estimates that moving to Innovative has already saved hundreds of thousands of dollars ­ and a total project payback is expected to be achieved within eight months of the project's initiation.

STRENGTHS: Innovative was a very cooperative and supportive partner. Even though the implementation took an alternative route, we were always confident that they would provide us the support that we needed to be successful. Their very experienced delivery team was extremely helpful in working through any problems we encountered. This kind of partnership from a software provider is certainly unique.

WEAKNESSES: Shortly after being selected by SunTrust, Innovative made the decision to re-architect its data quality and data linking software products into a single, seamless customer data integration solution. Recognizing this would impact SunTrust's project schedule, the two companies developed an alternative plan that promised to deliver the required householding results to SunTrust. The new plan required that SunTrust's householding would continue to be outsourced on a monthly basis for longer than originally projected.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Together, the SunTrust marketing and information technology groups established three primary selection criteria for their evaluation. The marketing department's first priority was to implement a solution that would provide results similar to their existing process. They wanted to ensure that the change would be transparent to the end users who rely on the householding information for their sales, service and marketing activities. The second selection criterion was ease of implementation and maintenance. SunTrust wanted a solution that was powerful enough to meet their current business and technology needs and also flexible enough to allow them to easily make changes as these needs evolve. Finally, SunTrust wanted a solution that would deliver the lowest total cost of ownership. Innovative Systems offered us the best overall value.

DELIVERABLES: Bringing the householding process in house required a detailed examination and testing of our historic householding business logic. We found that some rules and assumptions that had worked well for us in the past no longer made sense in today's environment. By revisiting these rules, and having an environment in which to investigate new rules and logic, we were able to effectively establish improved business requirements and householding logic.

VENDOR SUPPORT: We are extremely satisfied with Innovative and their i/Lytics software. The fact that we are so satisfied with them is a testament to their expertise and dedication to ensuring that their customers' needs are met.

DOCUMENTATION: The documentation was complete and easy to understand.

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