REVIEWER: Larry Cecil, executive director of global marketing for Morgan Stanley Investment Management.
BACKGROUND: Morgan Stanley Investment Management (MSIM) was formed in 1975 and has grown to be a global leader in serving individual, institutional and intermediary investors. It provides one of the industry's broadest product selections, with investment strategies covering all major markets, asset classes and investment styles. Currently MSIM manages in excess of $350 billion in assets.
PLATFORMS: HP Servers, SQL Server and Windows XP as the operating system.
PROBLEM SOLVED: The needs of our users had outgrown the limited functionality of the homegrown application used by the institutional division of MSIM. We needed a solution that allowed us to manage materials in formats other than PowerPoint - internal documents such as sales ideas and intangible knowledge such as competitive information, as well as client-facing items such as fact cards and brochures. For compliance purposes as well as to improve marketing and sales management insight, we also wanted to keep records on content updates and usage with clients. Given the many other initiatives in queue for internal IT resources, we chose not to upgrade our in-house tool. We found that off-the-shelf applications could address our materials management needs. The SAVO Group's Sales Asset Manager (SAM) was the most robust, flexible platform and was the one that best addressed all of our strategic and functional requirements.
PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: As a Web-based tool that automates the access, delivery and management of customized marketing/sales materials of all kinds, SAM addressed each of our key functional requirements. The Web-based solution can be launched from our MSIM intranet site - a critical win for a company with hundreds of globally dispersed customer-facing employees. The centralization of materials paired with the ability to "lock-down" certain content provides us with greater control over our message and brand, helping to address compliance concerns. However, because SAM enables guided customization within approved parameters, we retain the ability to tailor communications to speak to specific customer interests. Additionally, SAM provides strong reporting functionality that delivers visibility into activity.
STRENGTHS: SAM does exactly what it advertises. The Web-based nature of the platform has eased deployment immeasurably and also makes things incredibly easy for the end user. It takes little or no training for a user to figure out what to do and how to be productive in SAM. Guided customization of assets is also a strong feature. For the administrator and for managers, SAM's reporting capability is invaluable.
WEAKNESSES: SAM is a young tool. Some functionality that we'd like to see is still in development, such as administrator alerts and user profiles.
SELECTION CRITERIA: We considered several vendors, including Accent Technologies, Data Communiqué International, Eclipse, Financial Models Company and Documentum. Other vendors seemed focused on a specific type of output, such as PowerPoint. SAVO looked at the solution in a much more comprehensive way and mapped the platform to our strategic objectives, driving our decision to go with SAM.
DELIVERABLES: For our end users, SAM's key deliverable is a timesaving, user-friendly interface that automates the access and creation of customized materials for use in client interaction. For our marketing managers and administrators, SAM delivers centralized control over communication and reporting that allows us to go to audit knowing exactly what went to each client and to be confident it is compliant.
VENDOR SUPPORT: SAVO is a smaller company than other software firms we've dealt with. As a result, we were given a lot of valuable handholding and attentive, aim-to-please service. It was obvious to MSIM that SAVO wanted us to be happy. The firm is very open to our suggestions and includes them in upcoming SAM release plans.
DOCUMENTATION: SAM is so intuitive that extensive user manuals aren't really necessary. For guidance, however, SAM's interface includes text to help users navigate through its screens. Additionally, SAVO offers effective administrator support through both telephone and Web.
Sales Asset Manager (SAM)
The SAVO Group
223 W. Jackson Blvd., Suite 610
Chicago, IL 60606
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