CRM packages look to ease financial firms' move to Salesforce

G1 Asset Management also offers a social marketing element to help users better understand this trend

Cloud computing consulting firm GlobalOne Wednesday released the first of three CRM packages that aim to help financial services firms and banks transition to cloud computing with Salesforce.com.

G1 Asset Management takes software systems commonly used in asset management, such as Albridge, and adds Salesforce.com elements like user interfaces, workflows and libraries, said CTO Geoff Merrick. Next, social marketing components and a mobile element are added, he said. While these types of vertical technology packages are common, Merrick noted that GlobalOne's offering stands out because it is customized for the finance industry and gets users into on-demand computing quickly.

The product has "lots of best practices built in with years of working with asset management firms and it layers in our experience with getting to the cloud," he said.

For financial services firms, adopting the cloud proves challenging because they focus too much on the basics of CRM (customer relationship management), a technology that "has been around for awhile," he said. G1 Asset Management allows users to see cloud computing's benefits early on and soon users consider what other applications can be moved to the SaaS (software as a service) model.

"It allows them to start focusing on more strategic value," he said. "We end up starting the conversation much earlier in the process" so before long firms consider running recruiting or transaction clearing applications in the cloud.

GlobalOne's offerings are available on Salesforce.com's platform due to the company's long-standing partnership with the provider, Merrick said.

While financial services firms are familiar with CRM, their grasp of social marketing remains opaque, said Merrick. Users want to understand how social media can aid their businesses, but do not see its function.

Social marketing's "biggest problem is a lack of a frame of reference. People are really excited about the potential, but don't have anything ... to help understand it," Merrick said. "CIOs don't really have anything to fall back on. All they think is, 'well, how is this different from email?'"

G1 Asset Management includes social-marketing use cases built in so users realize its value "much quicker," he said. "They can start to think beyond basic collaboration and really start to think how it impacts the consumers."

According to Merrick, the asset management market can see social marketing's impact when trying to develop new business.

For example, social marketing allows wholesaler bankers to better support the financial service advisers who use their products. If an adviser sells a product, the banker will see the transaction tagged in Salesforce's Chatter collaboration software and can contact the adviser about the sale. Crafting correspondences to advisers on the products they are selling proves easier "when you do it with social media because you're collaborating with them," he said.

Wholesale bankers who are traveling to pitch a product to a client, such as a wealth management firm, can use G1 Asset Management's mobile abilities to gather more information about the firm, said Merrick. A banker can use an iPad to pull up information on the other business the company has with the firm as well as query co-workers on Chatter and receive documents.

G1 Asset Management is available now worldwide and the other products in the series, G1 Retail Banking and G1 Wealth Management, will be released early next year. Pricing information was not available.

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