As business gets ever more competitive, banks in Europe and the Middle east are increasingly looking to invest in customer relationship management (CRM) technology to help differentiate themselves from rivals, according to a survey commissioned by SAP.
In a poll of 108 banks conducted by the European Financial Management and Marketing Association (Efma), over half of respondents see customer-centric activities as a strategic differentiator and therefore plan to invest in CRM technology.
Although they acknowledge the importance of managing customer relationships, those questioned say there are several challenges hindering them, including pressure to lower operating costs, fragmentation of customer segments and channel proliferation.
Respondents say that their CRM strategies are still primarily front-end focused and situated on old legacy systems that lack the flexibility and scalability needed to look across the enterprise and connect customers in different lines of business to each other.
SAP says that by enabling this visibility, banks can enhance customer service and operational efficiency. In addition, alignment between a bank's front-end and back-end operations will allow them to better measure the customer lifecycle, employee productivity and return-on-investment.
Julian Johnson, SVP, industry business solutions, global field operations, SAP, says: "As the survey results support, a bank's customer-facing activities are now an integral part of its business and included in its criteria for selecting standardised software. The value this brings to a bank is seamless integration of its back-office functions, which will provide a true end-to-end view of the customer."