Big Blue Gets SASsy

IBM, SAS to develop CRM solutions

San Francisco  August 17, 2001  IBM and SAS Institute have announced a new strategic alliance that will deliver solutions for analytical customer relationship management (CRM) to customers in specific industries, starting with financial services and telecommunications. The new alliance was announced at IBM's annual developer conference, and combines the analytical applications and data warehousing technology of SAS with IBM's e-business infrastructure, technology, data management and services.

The market for CRM applications software and services is expected to reach $68 billion in revenue this year and $162 billion by 2005, said industry analyst Bob Blumstein, research director for CRM analytics at IDC. The IBM and SAS alliance announced today, with its potential for success in leveraging their overlapping customer bases in this huge market, shows the increasing importance of integrating CRM analytics to build a more powerful marketing process.

The new integrated solution for the financial services industry will enable banks, brokerages and other financial institutions to integrate customer information across marketing channels and gain customer intelligence. With this intelligence, these organizations can execute more effective marketing campaigns, deliver targeted and personalized messages, and detect and predict significant new sales opportunities. IBM's banking and finance industry sales force will promote the new solution, working closely with IBM Global Services.

IBM's alliance with SAS is the first to be sponsored by IBM Global Services, which highlights the true synergy between our two companies' technology and services. In this case, one plus one equals three for customers who will benefit from our combined and integrated offerings, said Mike Fuller, global vice president and practice executive for IBM Business Intelligence Consulting & Services. With the huge volumes of customer data pouring in to organizations from multiple channels  e-business and e-commerce applications, call centers, Web sites, etc.  the challenge is to make sense of it all and truly understand customers and what motivates them.

The three-year agreement will initially focus on North America, though the deal has been structured to allow expansion into other geographical areas.

Many organizations lack the expertise to support complex data mining, analytics and predictive tasks, essential for combating churn in the telecommunications industry, or in devising effective marketing campaigns in the banking and financial services industries, said Graeme Woodley, senior vice president for business development and channel operations at SAS.