Standard Chartered Uses SAS® To Build Customer Ties in Asia
If you operate in a region as diverse as Asia, and in an industry as competitive as financial services, understanding your customers is not just important, it's essential. As head of customer relationship management (CRM) for consumer banking in Asia, Parker must devise and implement customer information strategies for nine countries, ranging from emerging markets like India and Indonesia to established financial centers like Hong Kong.
"One thing these markets all have in common is that they are very competitive, but the type of competition varies," says Parker. "We are in the middle of a mortgage war in Hong Kong and Singapore right now, but in other markets the fiercest competition is for credit card customers. In less mature markets like India and Thailand, our major focus is customer acquisition, while here in Hong Kong we are looking more at retaining customers and cross-selling our services. But whichever market you look at, the old rules still apply. You have to get to know your customers – their needs, their preferences – if you are going to be successful."
Developing in-depth customer knowledge is even harder in Asia due to the lack of public information. Says Parker: "You can't just go out and buy geographical and demographic data like you can in other parts of the world. This means that the customer data you build up internally is even more important. With the right approach, the right infrastructure and the right solution to make it work for you, your customer data can give you a huge competitive advantage."
The Advantage of Flexibility
"SAS' scalability is also essential to our operations in this region, since our customer sets range greatly in size," Thomason adds. "We have huge amounts of data for Hong Kong, Malaysia and India, whereas the data sets for the Philippines or Brunei are obviously much smaller. SAS is very good at handling different sizes of data – there is very little difference in performance and it's much faster to analyze SAS data sets than it is to analyze a standard relational database."
Standard Chartered's data warehouse structure has been in place for four years but has evolved over that time, both geographically and functionally. Each country now has its own central repository from which data is pulled each week – in some cases each day – into specific data marts for use by different departments, such as marketing and finance. SAS software helps to automate much of this process. A data dictionary of all the information held in each data mart is also produced so that users can more easily carry out their analyses.
Locally Led, Centrally Delivered
"This regional approach also has the advantage of helping us to share experiences and ideas in different countries. For example, we implemented SAS Enterprise Miner in our credit-scoring center in Singapore recently. We aim to put Enterprise Miner in our Hong Kong office very soon, so our experience in Singapore will be very valuable in getting things right here."
A more recent addition to the system is SAS/MDDB Server software, which gives the bank a multidimensional view of its data through advanced online analytical processing (OLAP). With OLAP, users can "slice and dice" the data according to different dimensions, such as country, time or product.
"We definitely took the right approach to CRM, and as a result we are in a far better position than most in this region," adds Thomason. "We started at the back end with the warehouse implementation before moving through to analysis and campaign management, then finally to the front-end systems. The enterprise warehouse is at the center of the whole structure, and this was the most important thing to get right. SAS has played a big part in helping us to do this.
"Another important factor is that we developed the warehouse for analysis right from the start. Many organizations build a warehouse with a management information system in mind, and then find that they have to change the whole structure when they want to do more complex analysis and modeling. For us, adding the analysis capabilities was easy because we already had the right infrastructure in place."
As for the future, the enterprise warehouse at Standard Chartered will continue to evolve as rapid expansion of its use leads to constant re-engineering. Parker points to the huge amount of data that is coming through new channels. "We already offer mortgages and other services online and will be launching an Internet banking service very soon," he says. "We also offer services for mobile banking. Data from all these new channels needs to be brought into the warehouse and combined with other customer data for analysis. That's an area we will be addressing very soon."
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Jim Thomason (left) and Steven Parker
Standard Chartered Bank
Standard Chartered Bank
Develop customer information strategies for nine countries, ranging from emerging markets like India and Indonesia to established financial centers like Hong Kong.
SAS data warehousing and analysis software is central to the bank's CRM strategy.
“Whether it's credit scoring in Singapore, customer retention in Hong Kong or acquisition modeling in India, SAS helps us get the answers. Some of our people have been genuinely surprised by what they can achieve with SAS.”
head of consumer banking, customer systems