In recent years, Zurich Kantonalbank became Switzerland's third-largest bank, controlling more than half the market in Zurich. Yet because it's owned by the canton (or state) of Zurich, by law it can't expand beyond that region. And since it already has operations in most areas of banking, it can't depend on new business lines as a source of revenue.
Instead, it's focused on generating more revenues from existing customers. "We decided to concentrate on cross-selling and up-selling to our own customers," said Urs Pape, head of private client sales at Zurich Kantonalbank.
That's easier said than done. "We have so many signals of needs from customers," Pape said. "We need to collect them and use that later to cross-sell to clients."
With more than 40 systems, Zurich Kantonalbank has a lot of data to sift through. "We have data from many huge and old legacy systems," Pape said. "Our main goal is to put it all together and allow our people to see all the information about a customer on one screen."
The bank turned to Siebel Systems and installed its Finance 6 system to help boost sales to both retail and commercial customers. The project, which has cost $45 million to date, started in mid-2000.
The bank ran into some difficulties, however, when it tried to tinker with the code. "One of the main challenges, which we did not fulfill, was to resist our deep wish to be so perfect as to customize many parts of the software," Pape said. "In the future, we have to not customize so much."
Using the Siebel platform, the bank can obtain information about cross-selling opportunities quickly and easily.
For example, the software might identify 500 clients who reside in Zurich's most prosperous section, then determine that 80 percent are homeowners and thus have mortgages. Upon further analysis, the system might determine that only 30 percent of those mortgages are with Zurich Kantonalbank. It would then produce a list of the other 70 percent for the bank's salespeople to attack.
The project will likely continue for another two to three years, Pape said, adding that Zurich Kantonalbank plans to complete an upgrade to Siebel Finance 7.5 by early next year.
The bank is hesitant to predict how much the Siebel system can hike revenues. "It is really difficult to estimate the influence of that project alone," Pape said. "The main effect will be that the Siebel software allows our customer-care people to speak to the right clients at the right time and make the right offer."