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SAS IntelliVisor Looks to Financial Services

SAS’ IntelliVisor For Financial Services is a new Web analytics system, available via an application service provider (ASP) model, that enables users to harness the powers of prediction to anticipate online customers’ next moves.

Specifically, the product aims to help e-businesses find out what drives customer behavior on the Internet; which customers buy which products online; and what their expectations are while at a Web site, Richard Roach, senior marketing director for SAS IntelliVisor, told CRM Buyer.

The software may have particular relevance because many financial services clients are looking for a next-generation Web strategy, Gartner research director Kimberly Collins told CRM Buyer — and so far, Web analytics is an untapped tool in the financial sector.

“For marketing to evolve into a profit center in financial services firms, chief marketing officers need to move beyond mass advertising and leverage marketing knowledge across all channels, including electronic ones,” she wrote in a recent report. “Electronic channels, including Web sites and e-mail, are not typically utilized as effectively as they could be in financial services to support CRM initiatives.”

Campaign Promise

Knowledge gleaned from IntelliVisor can be used to improve customer segmentation, personalization and marketing-campaign effectiveness, according to Collins. For example, the software might help financial services firms understand how certain offers affect customers.

“You can mine a site to find out the most successful strategies and most problematic issues,” Roach confirmed. In addition, he noted, users need not have a heavy technical background, and it takes only half a day of training to use IntelliVisor’s analytics.

Collins agreed that this is a significant benefit. “As a result, more people in an enterprise can have access to the data so that they can make faster and better decisions, which makes them more profitable,” she said.

Easy To Use

IntelliVisor may have particular appeal for small and mid-size companies because they will not need to build their own analytics, data warehousing and data reporting capabilities, Roach said. However, it also may appeal to large enterprises.

“We thought at first that the product would be for small and medium-sized companies, but any company with a critical need to use the Web as part of its business plan would be a potential user,” he noted. And a benefit of the ASP model is that the software can be up and running in about two weeks.

In addition, IntelliVisor’s packaged analytics help shrink sales cycles and generate leads, according to Kurt Schlegel, Meta Group research analyst for enterprise analytics strategies. “This is true no matter what industry you are in,” he told CRM Buyer. “But it is beneficial to home in on specific metrics for a particular vertical market and have reports packaged for the financial industry.”

Indeed, though the market for Web analytics is competitive, most of the players are generalists like Omniture and WebSideStory. According to Schlegel, SAS, which also addresses the pharmaceutical and retail markets, is more vertical — and that may prove to be an advantage.

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