IBM and SAS Institute have entered a strategic alliance aimed at delivering analytical customer relationship management (CRM) solutions to specific vertical markets, starting with financial services and telecommunications.
The new alliance, which elevates SAS to the highest level in IBM's partner programme, combines analytical applications and data warehousing technology from 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," says 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."
Within the financial services industry, the combined offering will enable banks, brokerages and other financial institutions to integrate customer information across all marketing channels and gain greater insight into customer needs, say the partners. IBM's banking and finance industry sales force will promote the package, working closely with IBM Global Services.
Mike Fuller, global vice president and practice executive for IBM Business Intelligence Consulting & Services, comments: "With the huge volumes of customer data pouring in to organisations from multiple channels - e-business and e-commerce applications, call centres, Web sites, etc. - the challenge is to make sense of it all and truly understand customers and what motivates them."
The three year agreement is initially focused on North America, and will be extended to other regions of the world over the next several months.