New BusinessEdge Solutions Survey Finds Financial Services Sector Leads the “Pack” in Customer Centricity Investments, Expectations and Understanding

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New BusinessEdge Solutions survey on customer centricity highlighted at the SIA Technology Management Conference at the New York Hilton June 21 - 28. While most sectors have a Â?CRM-likeÂ? focus, financial services looks to customer centricity for improved operational efficiency and compliance needs.

New York, June 14, 2005 – The financial services sector leads the pack in customer centricity project investments and expectations, according to a study released today by New York-based BusinessEdge Solutions Inc., a business and technology consulting firm offering operational strategy, business process and systems integration solutions to clients in the financial services and insurance industries. The study, prepared for BusinessEdge by Howard A. Rubin, Ph.D., professor Emeritus of Computer Science at Hunter College of the City University of New York, a former executive vice president of META Group Inc. and a former Nolan Norton Research Fellow, is the largest comparative financial services sector study ever undertaken on customer centricity.

More than 300 organizations responded concerning their customer centricity initiatives: why they invest, how much they invest and what they anticipate in return on investment. The findings demonstrate that the financial services sector is not only pushing beyond the envelope of other sectors pursuing customer centricity but also understands its full value as a vehicle for improving compliance and operational efficiency.

Eighty-eight percent (88%) of the financial services companies surveyed said they exceed $5 million in customer centricity related investment and 34% said they exceed $50 million. These companies indicated that their expectation is that return on investment will exceed 200%, according to the study, which will be showcased at the Securities Industry Association's Technology Management Conference, June 21-23, at the New York Hilton. By contrast, the general cross sector picture is one of funding in the under $10M range and includes approximately 59% of companies surveyed, with ROIs roughly equal to the level of investment, the study says.

“ROI is 'key' for business IT investment today,” says Dave Schuette, BusinessEdge chief solution strategist. “However, our study shows that while other sectors are treating customer centricity as an extended form of CRM, the financial services sector fully understands that customer centricity is more about high-value business benefits in the context of operational efficiency and compliance – and is focusing on customer centricity as the enabling solution that will help firms realize benefits in these areas.”

According to the study results, the top three reasons for pursuing customer centricity include:

Financial Services

Operational Efficiency 44%

Compliance 24%

Customer UpSell / CrossSell 14%

Cross Sector

Client UpSell / CrossSell 52%

Sales Force Productivity 28%

Operational Efficiency 15%

Paralleling these results is the finding that the financial services sector sees customer centricity as the backbone for critical standard processes with 36% percent of respondents looking to it in the area of compliance processes followed by account opening at 22% of respondents.

“Clearly customer centricity is far more than traditional CRM,” says BusinessEdge's Schuette. “It's a business focused technology with intrinsic value that enhances the intelligence of business processes while enabling efficiency gains and providing the underpinnings for compliance needs today and in the future. Those doing it 'right' will benefit from the competitive advantages of lowering costs, complying with regulatory needs and relating to their clients more effectively – all while having the strongest and most robust business platform possible.”

The survey results reinforce this view, with 82% of respondents claiming to have projects in progress or planned starts within the next 18 months.

Says Schuette: “Customer centricity is a relatively uncharted space. The early results are coming in. Those that have approached it as CRM-like are missing its true value. Those that are first getting on board, or have projects in process, need to assess the potential benefit of their projects and make sure to manage them for the maximum outcome,” he says.

“Studies like the one we have just released are the basic benchmark for anyone who already has a customer centricity project in progress or for those who are planning to move ahead soon with a project.”

For the full study results, visit http://www.businessedge.com

About BusinessEdge Solutions Inc.

BusinessEdge Solutions Inc. is an industry-focused business and technology consulting firm offering operational strategy, business process and systems integration solutions to clients in the financial services, insurance, communications and life sciences industries. The firm drives competitive advantage for its clients by leveraging innovative Velocity Platforms, visualizations of breakthrough business solutions; Reusable Solution Accelerators (RSAs) to reduce the time, cost and risk of client engagements; and EdgeWare, pre-engineered solution frameworks. BusinessEdge is distinctive among consulting firms in that its multidisciplinary consultants have an average of 12 years of industry experience and expertise. This strong knowledge and experience base is at the core of the company's unwavering commitment to create vision for its clients – and is the driver behind the company's delivery of high-impact, cutting edge solutions. Customer centricity is one of the solutions that BusinessEdge offers. See http://www.businessedge.com for a complete listing of all solutions and service offerings.

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