August 12, 2011

To unlock the potential of its 55 million retail and business customers spread across 2,400 branches nationally, Brazil's Caixa Economica Federal needed to move beyond its homegrown customer relationship management (CRM) system. "By late 2008 our previous CRM attempts were proving insufficient for staying competitive," says Sebastiao Caetano de Souza, the bank's customer relationship manager.

As a public entity affiliated with the Brazilian Central Bank, Caixa conducted a public research and purchasing process for a new CRM system starting in early 2009. Once the market's best-of-breed functionality was ascertained, a detailed bid document was assembled and posted for comment, Souza explains of the process, adding that Caixa also established a ceiling of US$30 million for the project.

After determining which vendors could meet the bid criteria, the bank opened the process to four providers in October 2009. "Ultimately, Infor [Alpharetta, Ga.] submitted the winning bid valued at about US$28 million to deploy its Infor CRM Epiphany solution," Souza reports, declining to name the other contenders.

To begin, Caixa formed a cross-functional team, with 20 members drawn from business units and 40 from IT; Infor dedicated one onsite team and several remote teams to the effort. "We required many customizations to the out-of-the-box tool," Souza notes.

Meanwhile, Caixa also began upgrading its hardware. While the new environment is heterogeneous, it consists of mainly HP (Palo Alto, Calif.) servers, according to Souza. "Due to the length of the deployment [38 months], we're purchasing hardware gradually according to the needs of each phase," he comments.

So far, the primary challenge has been integrating Infor with 117 of Caixa's existing systems, Souza indicates. "In particular, many or our older legacy systems have been modified numerous times," he observes. "

Despite the hurdles, Phase One, which rolled out the CRM platform's Sales and Service modules to approximately 200 users at Caixa's Brasilia headquarters, went live successfully in November 2010. Since then, Caixa has prepared for Phase Two, which will add Epiphany's Interaction Advisor (IA) and extend all three deployed modules -- Sales, Service and IA -- to approximately 48,000 employees enterprisewide.

Scheduled for August through November, Phase Two will deploy in waves as employee training occurs at each location, Souza says. "Where we've demonstrated the tool in advance of the rollout, reactions have been strongly positive," he emphasizes. "Our organization is excited about the capabilities the tool offers to proactively attract and retain customers."

Once all final phases are completed in mid-2013, Caixa anticipates abundant rewards. "For example, with Epiphany's Interaction Advisor we'll be able to deliver targeted offers, in real time, to customers across the country," explains Souza.

"Also," he adds, "with a combination of new marketing strategies and Infor's tool, we plan to increase our capacity to generate more revenue, especially with new cross-selling strategies that the CRM solution will allow us to implement. These new cross-selling strategies, executed with Epiphany, will help return our investment in the tool quite quickly."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Anne Rawland Gabriel is a technology writer and marketing communications consultant based in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area. Among other projects, she's a regular contributor to UBM Tech's ...