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Through the Looking Glass

Wells Fargo taps TeaLeaf solution for online session monitoring to improve e-banking.

You can't fix what you don't know is broken. For San Francisco-based Wells Fargo, the key to providing wholesale commercial customers with the best Web-based services possible began with monitoring clients' online sessions.

Following the implementation of a single sign-on capability about five years ago, Wells Fargo ($428 billion in total assets) has experienced explosive growth in wholesale commercial customers that rely on Web-based bank applications, such as treasury management, credit, trust and brokerage services. According to Danny Peltz, the bank's EVP of wholesale Internet and treasury solutions, the number of clients utilizing the single sign-on capability grew from 2,200 in the first year to more than 11,000 in 2001 and to 25,000 today. Wells Fargo's Commercial Electronic Office processed $4.1 trillion in payments in 2004.

The growing importance of the channel made it critical to optimize customers' online experience, Peltz relates. "Providing the best end-to-end customer experience enables you to differentiate yourself," he says. That means quickly identifying and repairing any anomalies, such as script errors, broken links and slow-loading pages.

If at First You Don't Succeed

Though Wells Fargo previously had developed monitoring software internally, it wasn't detailed enough to provide information about single-user experiences, Peltz notes. "We wanted information about what happened as the customer clicked through from page to page," he says.

After examining solutions from about a dozen vendors over more than a year, Wells Fargo selected San Francisco-based TeaLeaf Technology's RealiTea software. Peltz admits that Wells Fargo executives didn't know exactly what they wanted from a solution when they began the search, but they knew RealiTea was the answer when they saw it.

Still, strict parameters were placed on the search. Peltz explains that the solution had to report on single Internet sessions without revealing confidential customer information; it had to plug in to the bank's existing technology without requiring application or hardware changes; and it had to run on minimal processing power. Additionally, the technology provider had to be financially viable, he adds. Wells Fargo didn't want to buy a product from a company that wouldn't be around a year later to support it.

Wells purchased RealiTea in the third quarter of 2003. Installation - on Sun (Santa Clara, Calif.) servers - took place at "lightning speed," according to Peltz, and was completed in just three months. Though the software itself didn't require any technology changes, Wells Fargo did have to add storage capacity to handle the large amounts of data generated by online customer sessions, Peltz notes.

The software records exactly what happens as customers click from page to page and from process to process, including how long it takes Web pages to load and how clients navigate each page. The software can play back an entire customer session, enabling Wells Fargo technicians to identify where a failure occurred, according to Peltz.

"We can now understand how many people are using the system and we can better manage demand," Peltz says, adding, "We've reduced our time to repair a problem by about 50 percent."

Wells Fargo also uses the software to monitor and report on internal use of Web-based bank applications and is examining extending the use of RealiTea to other areas of the bank, Peltz relates.

SNAPSHOT

INSTITUTION: Wells Fargo (San Francisco).

ASSETS: $428 billion.

BUSINESS CHALLENGE: Monitor and report on wholesale commercial customers' end-to-end Internet sessions.

SOLUTION: RealiTea from TeaLeaf Technology (San Francisco).

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