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French Institution Builds National Data Warehouse

The Caisse d'Epargne Group has consolidated customer data from 26 million customers.

One of France's biggest banks is deploying the largest customer data warehouse in Europe using technology from Teradata, a division of NCR Corporation.

The Caisse d'Epargne Group-which has more than 4,700 branches and 26 million customers (about half the population of France)-will use the 30-terabyte system to integrate and manage customer data.

Claude Thoumy, director of strategic programs at Caisse d'Epargne, said the Teradata system will help the bank bring order to the way that it manages customer data.

Managing Volume

He says with so many customers, "you can imagine the volume of data we have to manage." That, plus the fact that the bank grew quickly through acquisitions-at one point the group ran on eight different banking platforms-meant the firm needed to streamline the way it handled information.

So in 2000 Caisse d'Epargne "launched this project on paper" and began its search for a database vendor, holding a bake-off among Oracle, IBM, Sun Microsystems and NCR. Caisse d'Epargne established a number of benchmarks, comparing the various systems, and Teradata emerged the winner, Thoumy related.

Now, the bank has consolidated onto three platforms and has completed the task of building a national database, eliminating the disparate databases that provided only a "fragmented view of the customer."

Caisse d'Epargne can now store more than 1,800 data bits on each customer, but the system can handle between 2,000 to 2,500 data items per customer. The new comprehensive view of its clients allows the bank's managers to better understand their customers' spending and savings habits and overall financial needs. "It's a big plus for knowledge of our customer," Thoumy said.

Next comes building regional datamarts to supplement the national system that's now in place. Thoumy expects the project to wrap up in 2004, four years after it began.

That's a testament to the complexity of the project, Thoumy added. With more than 30 banks coming together under the Caisse d'Epargne banner, the disparate systems were "not a simple thing to manage," for the 2,500 IT specialists the bank employs.

Moving from eight to three banking platforms was the hard part, he said. As well, he added, the "most important program in this kind of project is the 'modelization' of the data"-determining the format and fields the bank needed for the 1,800 bits of data. Once the groundwork was laid, the rollout out took only a few months, between November and December of last year.

Now CRM tools-things like agenda and event managers-can be applied to the data and help the bank better understand its clients. The information that the system can summon will be used to help drive the bank's marketing, product management, sales and even human resource initiatives.

According to a recent Teradata survey, executives say that their enterprises face a flood of data. About 54 percent of executives surveyed say the amount of data is either doubling or tripling every year. Moreover, 73 percent report the number of decisions they have to make has also jumped, while 86 percent rely on more data to make a decision. As well, 55 percent say they have less time to make those decisions. Executives say the combination of too much info and shortened timeframes for decision making can lead to missed opportunities and affect a firm's competitive position.

Thoumy said that in addition to better customer management and making better decisions, the system will become a center point for risk management at the bank and its move to become compliant under the Basel II Accord. That's because the information generated will help the bank better understand its exposures. "This project will help control risk in the banking group."

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Fast Facts

INSTITUTION: The Caisse d'Epargne Group, Paris

INSTITUTION SIZE: 4,700 branches and 26 million customers

BUSINESS CHALLENGE: Manage 30 terabytes of customer data and

consolidate onto three platforms.

SOLUTION: Teradata, Dayton, Oh., data warehouse.

KEY QUOTE: The data generated will help the bank better understand its exposures. "This project will help control risk in the banking group."

- Claude Thoumy, Director of strategic programs, The Caisse d'Epargne Group

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