CDC Hears the Demand for On Demand
CDC Software is looking to secure assets -- its own as well as its those of its potential customers: By entering the midsize industry of institutional asset management (IAM) -- which CDC deems underserved -- the company is hoping to make a name for itself in the realm of financial services. The company is also making its on-demand CRM solution generally available, recognizing the high interest in and the cost-saving benefits of software-as-a-service (SaaS).
Today's announcement of Pivotal CRM On Demand for Institutional Asset Management is quite the switch from CDC's mid-February release of Pivotal CRM for Home Building and Real Estate. As with that solution, CDC says it conducted a fair amount of research to search out the markets in need of solutions, and decided that IAM was a vertical in which it could successfully augment CRM.
According to CDC, the underlying basis for the Pivotal On Demand solution is built around the technology acquired in April 2007, when CDC scooped up CRM vendor Saratoga Systems
. (Pivotal itself had been acquired by CDC in 2004
.) The company says the migration from Saratoga to Pivotal is seamless.
"You look at on-demand CRM today, and see that it's commoditized," says Jason Rushforth, CDC's global vice president of financial services. "Generic CRM applications are providing to the mass markets. Through a lot of homework on our side, we looked at the concerns that are raised in the marketplace." The company says that 15 of the top IAM firms are using Pivotal CRM, including The TCW Group, a large investment firm.
Rob Hegarty, managing director of securities & investments and insurance at industry research firm Tower Group, says that the on-demand portion of the model is the driving force of success in financial-services sectors such as IAM. "We've seen that [SaaS] as a very highly favored model," he says. "The financial services market understands the SaaS model. It resonates in the buying decision because it's not a massive investment." Additionally, SaaS cuts down on the implementation risk. The on-demand model, which was once focused on large enterprises, has now moved to the next tier down, which is attractive for many financial services, Hegarty says.
Pivotal CRM allows users to choose between on-premise, the SaaS model, and hosted applications. Additionally, users can go back and forth between both the internal and external deployments, allowing for increased flexibility.
CDC says the deep focus on verticals -- creating industry-specific, customized features and addressing unique customer needs -- is what differentiates the company. Pivotal CRM On Demand for IAM provides such functions as:
- client relationship/influence tracking;
- performance and client reporting;
- workflow management and automation;
- integration with leading third-party data for consultant, plan sponsor, and investment manager information;
- consultant management;
- proposal tracking; and
- sales forecasting.
Rushforth says that data integration with the solution is central and important to CRM, especially in the financial world. In the past, data applications were kept in a silo, but now, with data integration, employees can easily query market data. Employees in different departments or fields can access the same data simultaneously -- the data is supported locally and is also accessible through the Web.
Another key feature of Pivotal CRM for IAM is the ability to manage and track relationships. Rushforth says that, as opposed to traditional CRM that tracks one-to-one relationships, Pivotal's offering creates layers of relationships, which is necessary in an industry that often involves numerous clients and consultants.
IAM is the first of many financial sectors in which CDC says it will look to provide solutions. Rushforth says commercial banking will likely follow suit in the next quarter. He expects that down the road, CDC will look toward mutual funds, investment banking, wealth management, and institutional brokerage.
Hegarty says that since IAM is not a saturated market, there is an opening for CDC to come out as a competitive leader. "At this point we've got the marriage of two interesting partners: Pivotal, which has been well established in the CRM business for a long time, and on demand for the securities and investment space -- an area in need of solid solutions. The timing on it is very good."
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