Published on 25-Apr-2013
Growing Financial Services Firm
Mergers and acquisitions are common as companies seek growth opportunities for synergistic gains, strategic positioning and diversification.
Newly merged financial services firm needed to integrate business applications and data repositories securely, standardize information governance policies, and leverage expertise to facilitate collaboration.
IBM® InfoSphere® Data Explorer delivered a unified view and a single point of access to all structured and unstructured enterprise information across both companies.
Deployed in 12 weeks; achieved data transparency across 21 subsidiaries worldwide; provided secure access to all merger related information; and helped facilitate knowledge sharing and collaboration.
Mergers and acquisitions are common as companies seek growth opportunities for synergistic gains, strategic positioning and diversification. Yet, many mergers are prone to fail at the business process and data integration levels — before the ink has even dried. The success of a merger can be enhanced when business processes are integrated and data is unified seamlessly.
During a critical merger, one growing financial services firm faced several challenges, starting with finding a way to integrate business applications and data repositories securely across the two merging organizations. The information technology (IT) and financial business units also needed to standardize information governance policies to reduce risk. Lastly, it was essential to leverage existing technical and business expertise and facilitate collaboration.
Improving data transparency from a single point of access
The newly merged company chose a core component of IBM’s big data platform to provide a single point of access to large volumes of enterprise information across both companies. With deployment completed in 12 weeks, the firm launched its Information Portal powered by IBM InfoSphere Data Explorer and achieved data transparency across its 21 subsidiaries worldwide. The next step was to combine business processes to support sales and marketing, finance, accounting, human resources and research.
At the outset, InfoSphere Data Explorer provided a high-level overview of relationships among the merging information systems, including the myriad of structured and unstructured content, and then facilitated a secure data exchange between related departments. The solution also helped IT staff identify areas of risk and resolve issues quickly, such as content containing personally identifiable information or lacking appropriate security.
Often, the lack of security controls impedes a greater openness between merging entities. However, InfoSphere Data Explorer respects existing security profiles – which made it easier to merge security infrastructures and apply authorizations appropriately to all content. Users at the same level or in similar departments across the merged organization had access to the content they needed, without exposing privileged information.
Combining sales and marketing strategies
With a focus on revenue, InfoSphere Data Explorer provided sales and marketing staff with a single, global access point to relevant, real-time information and insight into customer profiles and financial offerings. Sales and customer notes, sales processes, product information and sales training were all immediately accessible.
Fast access to sales and marketing activities, methodologies, pipelines and channels helped drive revenue and promote up-sell and cross-sell opportunities in new and existing market segments. Users had a single, seamless view of separate customer relationship management systems that allowed for additional shared content.
InfoSphere Data Explorer also offered the capability to push alerts and notifications out to users. Sales representatives could learn about new and expanded financial offerings with access to marketing materials, research, and news articles that provided the latest information and assisted in training. This empowered and unified sales team was able to improve productivity and increase sales revenue by 4 percent.
Integrating IT and preparing for audits
Integrating the IT and finance systems within an expanded IT infrastructure increased the complexity of the merger. IT staffers had to identify and evaluate the business value of data in acquired systems. InfoSphere Data Explorer enabled this visibility and helped decision makers determine which systems should be retained or eliminated, and weigh the associated costs and savings.
To help employees prepare for financial and technical regulatory audits, the InfoSphere Data Explorer team implemented a compliance wizard to securely manage all merger related information from both parties. The solution provided finance and administrative staffers with a consolidated view into their enterprise resource planning systems from a single point of access, without hindering daily operations or processes.
Gaining insight from intellectual property
The cost of financial research increases when multiple teams unknowingly duplicate effort or fail to recognize and use past research. By accurately combining research data from the merging companies, InfoSphere Data Explorer helped reduce duplication, while providing real-time access to relevant content. The capability to search and navigate information in clusters enabled users to access dynamically categorized content based on themes and content refinements, making it easier to explore past research and gain insight that might otherwise have been missed.
To facilitate retaining and sharing intellectual property, InfoSphere Data Explorer provides social capabilities, such as tagging, bookmarking and automatic feedback loops. For example, a financial analyst might comment on a publication and explain how it relates to new research, providing insight and greater collaboration. The expertise location feature helped employees find knowledgeable staffers on a variety of topics, along with information that these experts authored and tagged.
Overall, InfoSphere Data Explorer helped facilitate data transparency and communication across the enterprise, minimizing disruptions while integrating teams and departments during a critical merger. For this newly merged financial services firm, InfoSphere Data Explorer provided a single point of access to deliver unified data, improve knowledge sharing, reduce risk, gain insight, and improve revenue opportunities.
For more information
To learn more about IBM InfoSphere Data Explorer, please contact your IBM sales representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit the following website: ibm.com/software/data/infosphere/data-explorer
To learn more about IBM big data solutions, visit: ibm.com/software/data/bigdata
Products and services used
IBM products and services that were used in this case study.
InfoSphere Data Explorer
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