ABOUT THE VENDOR
Acxiom Corporation, which provides Customer Data Integration (CDI) and customer recognition infrastructure, enables businesses to develop and deepen customer relationships by creating a single, accurate view of their customers across the enterprise. Acxiom achieves this by providing CDI software, database management services, and premier customer data content through its AbiliTecR, SolviturR and InfoBaseR products, while also offering a broad range of information technology outsourcing services. Founded in 1969, Acxiom is based in Little Rock, Arkansas, with locations throughout the United States and with operations in the United Kingdom, France, Spain and Australia.
ABOUT THE CUSTOMER
BMC Software is one of the world's largest independent software vendors. BMC Software is a member of the S&P 500, with fiscal year 2001 revenues exceeding $1.5 billion. The company is headquartered in Houston, Texas, with offices worldwide.
ABOUT THE TECHNOLOGY
Acxiom's Customer Data Integration software, AbiliTecR, facilitates true CRM by enabling companies to achieve a single view of a customer across multiple business lines and databases. Acxiom's approach to CDI is unlike existing customer integration technologies that utilize comparative matching to bring together similar records in that AbiliTec links customer records based on Acxiom's comprehensive knowledge base,
BMC Software initially implemented a CRM solution because the sales organization needed a more consistent sales process by which information could be captured to generate better business optics for opportunity pipeline and forecasts. The solution was a Siebel CRM system paired with Acxiom's Customer Data Integration software, AbiliTecR. SearchCRM spoke with Mark Meyer, Director of Customer Relationship Management, about the project.
SearchCRM: Why did your company decide to evaluate CRM solutions?
Meyer: First, 150 customers told us that they wanted a partnership relationship, not a vendor relationship. Second, we wanted to collapse the data into one enterprise application so that all the information about customers was easy for Account Managers to find. And finally, we wanted to greatly facilitate teaming while focusing on the customer.
SearchCRM: You chose a Siebel CRM system. Where does Acxiom come into the picture?
Meyer: The project -- completed this year -- also utilizes Acxiom's AbiliTec database cleansing technology. As part of team selling, account and contact management became important and required extensive data cleansing.
SearchCRM: What were you looking for in a CRM vendor/solution?
Meyer: We wanted something that would clean out our databases and provide a high match rate. We didn't want to have to purchase new mailing lists. We needed a vendor that had a clear understanding of privacy policies.
SearchCRM: What made you choose this CRM vendor?
SearchCRM: What was the most challenging aspect of the implementation?
Meyer: In regards to the data-cleansing portion of the implementation, the most challenging part was to delete duplicate customer data throughout the enterprise and in various legacy stems. Most of the information was not connected and was not synchronized. Like a lot of large companies, BMC Software had customer data scattered throughout different databases, legacy applications, and isolated silos of information -- a lot of which was redundant, some of it was outdated, and only a small portion of the information was linked together.
SearchCRM: What is the most rewarding result of the CRM solution to date?
SearchCRM: Did you encounter any internal resistance?
Meyer: We mainly focused internal resistance from a cultural perspective on the overall implementation -- not the data cleansing issues. Once people have been doing something the same way for a long time, it is hard to change their habits. This is why it was extremely important for us to get an executive team backing the sales force implementation as well as for salespeople to buy in. We launched a comprehensive communications campaign to help manage resistance and continued to make sure that employees were aware of the benefits of our implementation. This included user surveys to identify issues and following up with users on what we were doing to resolve their issues.
Training played a key role in managing resistance. As employees became more familiar with the application, they used it more frequently and became increasingly satisfied.
SearchCRM: When do you expect to see ROI?
Meyer: We've already started seeing it. With AbiliTec, we've been able to reduce redundancies in our databases, which saves us mailing costs and increases customer satisfaction. With our overall CRM implementation, we've been able to increase the productivity of our sales reps by 17 percent, giving them more time to devote to their customers. We expect a return a $70 million return on our overall CRM investment in 2-3 years.
We targeted an 18% return of time back to the Account Managers. This is mostly attributed to lost administrative time. We now expect the Account Managers to turn this time into additional customer-facing activities, which will generate revenue and ensure happy customers. To date, we believe we have achieved 12-14% of the 18% target.
SearchCRM: How does this solution help you better serve your customers?
Meyer: In regards to using Acxiom's AbiliTec, BMC Software was able to clean its databases, thereby making sure that customers were not sent duplicate emails, which can prove cumbersome to the customers and cause them unneeded annoyance.
Linda Formichelli's writing has appeared in Woman's Day, Wired, Writer's Digest, Family Circle, Psychology Today. Contact her at email@example.com, or check out her Web site http://www.twowriters.net
This was first published in January 2002