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'Design CRM to improve overall process,' says FleetBoston manager

[JUNE 21, 2002] -- During the course of developing a combined Sales Force Automation and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) application, FleetBoston Financial Corp. managers discovered that streamlining business processes was key to achieving a successful implementation, said Dean Aphanasia, an executive vice president with Fleet. Among the objectives for the system was the goal to cut the bank's dependency on revenue from credit.

"What you have to do is design the [CRM] system so it improves the overall business process," said Aphanasia, who spoke recently at DCI's CRM Conference and Expo in Boston.

Gaining buy-in from users is as important as gaining buy-in from top-level managers, he indicated. "If you reduce the [deal] approval process from three weeks to one week, they will use the system."

Parts of the system Fleet built include Siebel Systems's Employee Relationship Management applications suite, FileNet document retrieval software, CBS Market Watch news and stock quotes, and a MicroStrategy data warehouse running on an Oracle relational database.

Aphanasia said the system has helped FleetBoston broaden the product portfolios supported by sellers of wholesale banking services to customers doing at least $3 million (and as much as $1 billion-plus) worth of business with the bank each year. As a result, he said, dependency on credit revenue has decreased from 49% in 2000 to a projected 41% this year.

Among other lessons: Training curriculum must be to the point, with "hands on" follow-up. Aphanasia said FleetBoston has set up squads of trainers that visit people who use the software at their desks.

About the Author

Jack Vaughan is former Editor-at-Large at Application Development Trends magazine.

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