July 13, 2001

To a Londoner, the "Martini Banking Concept" isn't about the number of drinks served at a boozy business lunch. Rather, it's a well-knownreference to a 1970 ad campaign touting the Martini brand of liquor-"Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere"-applied to financial services. But rather than gin, vermouth and an olive, the Martini Banking Concept requires software, and plenty of it.

Such is the case with Royal Bank of Scotland Group. By following the Martini Banking Concept, RBS Group hopes to leave competitors shaken, not stirred.

RBS Group recently announced the selection of Chordiant Software as its "strategic CRM platform and the standard for all new CRM developments within the Group," according to Steve North, head of strategy and architecture at RBS Group Technology.

The choice was based on Chordiant's ability to meet a specific set of requirements, including a commitment to open standards and hardware platform independence. "Integrating Chordiant with our existing infrastructure will provide us with flexibility to rapidly change customer-facing business processes," said North.

RBS Group will adopt Chordiant's Unified CRM Solution to "pull together from a number of disparate systems all their information to get the classic single view of a customer, to integrate that with the various transaction systems, and then to deliver on top of that a number of business processes to automate and optimize the relationship with the customer," said Neil Morgan, vice president of worldwide marketing at Cupertino, Calif.-based Chordiant. "They had purely divisional systems prior to what we're doing," he added.

After its March 2000 acquisition of NatWest, the RBS Group-which also includes Citizens Financial Group in Rhode Island, the U.K. auto insurer Direct Line, and Ulster Bank in Ireland-performed an enterprise-wide, group-level review of its strategic business needs. "When you have a lot of different individual businesses in the group, what do you do? One thing you don't do is scrap everything and start again," said Morgan. "Our approach is to start with integration, bringing together existing stuff."

RBS Group will continue to use direct marketing software from Prime Response, which was acquired by Chordiant in January. The bank had used the software for a few years prior to the NatWest merger to identify prospects for marketing campaigns. By combining the Chordiant platform with the Prime Response campaign management application, RBS Group can develop highly personalized customer profiles and make them immediately available across the enterprise.

Chordiant's customer interaction platform can use the marketing profiles generated by Prime Response to better react when customers contact the bank. "Normally you send out a lot of junk mail," said Morgan. "But you can also hold out until someone contacts you, and then cross-sell opportunities can be raised during the conversation."

The competitive landscape in Europe behooves banks to offer consistent service across multiple service channels. "The outcome of that is that it's hard to differentiate on products because they're quickly emulated, and it's expensive to differentiate on price," said Morgan. "So people are differentiating on point of presence and the number of channels they offer."


2001 CMP Media LLC. 7/1/01, Issue # 3807, page 14.