REVIEWER: Rozalind Kitt, data warehouse administrator for Spokane Teachers Credit Union


BACKGROUND:Established in 1934, Spokane Teachers Credit Union is the Inland Northwest’s largest and most successful credit union. With more than $1 billion in assets, STCU has more than 339 employees serving 74,000 members through 12 branch locations. It is a full-service financial institution, with investment accounts, business services and an abundance of member services.


PLATFORMS: Windows 2003.


PROBLEM SOLVED:Prior to implementing Group 1 Software Data Flow, a data integration and BI solution that integrates information from disparate data sources, STCU’s customer information resided in separate silos. We did not have a single view of the customer and there was no way to keep a record of customer preferences within a single application that could be easily accessed across the enterprise. Our goal in implementing a comprehensive data warehousing solution was to bring all the information that resided in disparate systems into one environment, which would allow us to create better reports and enhance customer service. With the implementation of Data Flow, we are now able to catalog more detailed, current and relevant information on customer records. As a result, staff members can have more intelligent interactions with customers by incorporating customer profiles, data and preferences when transactions are initiated. By leveraging data as part of the critical decision-making process, we are able to make sophisticated and accurate choices in day-to-day business planning as well as long-term strategy.


PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY:In conjunction with Data Flow, we were able to build a custom “Conversation Engine,” which functions as our member relationship management (MRM) system. STCU’s in-house IT team developed the front-end engine to grab information from Data Flow and push it out to a Web application. Integrated with Data Flow, the Conversation Engine creates scripts that front line service staff can use to sell other products and services. For example, the Conversation Engine can indicate if a member is preapproved for a loan, or it can alert the member service representative (MSR) about a member’s birthday. Users are able to input feedback directly into the engine based on customer response, so that it continues to build a greater knowledge base over time. Data Flow makes it easy to personalize customer mailings and statements. We are able to present very personalized messaging points, which is extremely beneficial to the tellers and front-line personnel.


STRENGTHS: Pitney Bowes Group 1 Software provides a full-service, user-friendly solution that allows our organization to manage data integration through a single user interface, establish rules and processes and easily generate many types of reports. Data Flow allows us to leverage existing customer information to make critical business decisions in areas, such as branch planning and marketing strategy. It is a powerful solution that can provide even an intermediate-skilled user with sophisticated results.


WEAKNESSES: The one weakness of Data Flow is that the data in Conversation Engine is only current through close of business; it is not in real time. All the data for Conversation Engine is loaded in automation to be ready for the tellers when the branches open. Thus, the data is always going to be a day old, and an MSR could accidentally refer a product that the customer might not be eligible for anymore due to unavailability of real-time data.


SELECTION CRITERIA: When STCU was considering implementation of a data warehouse, we reviewed two other solutions in addition to Data Flow. The first possible solution was clumsy. With the second option, the cost was considerable. We chose Pitney Bowes Group 1 Software because Data Flow met all of our criteria for an ideal data integration solution, which included robust and user-friendly features, easy installation and good value. Additionally, the sales and support staff were wonderful to work with and knowledgeable about the needs of financial institutions.


DELIVERABLES: In addition to facilitating more personalized customer service and providing critical data analysis, Data Flow helps to streamline the reporting process for multiple departments, including accounting and marketing. Using the ETL process, each department can create many different types of reports through Data Flow’s Information Studio. On the marketing side, we’ve leveraged the data warehouse to generate smarter models of member profitability, using information from Data Flow to determine our branch location strategy.


VENDOR SUPPORT:During the Data Flow implementation, the Pitney Bowes Group 1 Software support staff was extremely helpful. They had extensive experience with financial institutions and assisted us with the on-site implementation for nearly three months to do setup and training. On the occasions where we had follow-up questions or issues that needed to be resolved, we were not as impressed with the post-implementation support, but it appears that Pitney Bowes Group 1 Software is aware of these issues and have made changes in an attempt to help resolve them. We are hopeful that support will continue to improve moving forward.


Group 1 Software Data Flow

Pitney Bowes Group 1 Software

4200 Parliament Place, Suite 600

Lanham, MD 20706

(301) 731-2300

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