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Suncorp Obtains Single Customer View

Onyx's Employee Portal helps Australia's second-largest insurer and sixth-largest bank assemble customer info in one place.

With its 1996 creation following a merger, Suncorp (Brisbane, Australia, AUD $35.5 billion) became Australia's sixth-largest bank and second-largest insurer. In order to optimize use of its resources, Suncorp moved its focus towards improving the profitability of its customer base.

"Suncorp finds that customers with more than five products across two business lines are much more profitable than other customers and are more likely to be retained," says Mark Hocknell, senior manager for Allfinanz, technology and sales effectiveness, Suncorp. Allfinanz is the name of Suncorp's strategy aimed at growing profitability within the customer franchise. In order to maximize profitability, the institution needed to attain a single customer view. This is a daunting task for anyinsurer, but for Suncorp-a company faced with 14 disparate banking and insurance product systems and two million customers-the job was especially difficult.

Although the post-merger Suncorp-a combination of Suncorp Insurance and Finance Ltd., Metway Bank and Queensland Industry Development Commission-utilized point solutions that collected customer privacy indicators, this wasn't enough. In March 2000 it was decided a change needed to be made. "Four years after the merger, Suncorp realized it was not getting enough progress to support the business model," says Hocknell. At this time the Allfinanz strategy became more heavily enforced.

Hocknell was the business owner of the Allfinanz team, which was composed of technology and business professionals. As its investigation began, the team sought a holistic CRM solution. "We didn't find anything that really suited our business model," explains Hocknell. "We needed to 'chunk' down CRM into five critical components"-sales effectiveness tools, marketing tools, a customer information system that could index customer information across the organization, activity-based costing and profitability modeling and analytics tools.

In September 2001 the team began its search for the sales effectiveness component. It required that the solution be mature operationally. "We looked at quite a few CRM vendors that had core competency in other areas," says Hocknell. Among the products Suncorp investigated were offerings from Siebel Systems (San Mateo, CA) and Onyx (Bellevue, WA). According to Hocknell, the team concluded Onyx's Employee Portal-a Web-based CRM solution that consolidates customer information and enables a single customer view-was the most mature operational system.

As the team embarked upon the Onyx product's implementation, it focused on the goal of making it easy for employees to cross-sell. Instead of the traditional strategy of releasing a lot of functionality to a small group of users, Suncorp chose a different route. "We delivered a lower level of functionality quickly so it would reach all customer touch-points," says Hocknell.

Out-Of-The-Box Functionality

In the first phase of implementation, which took place in October 2001, the team developed functional specifications for customization of the tool. "Suncorp focused on using as much as we could out of the box so that we could have a lot of confidence when we went live that the system could work across 5,000 users," Hocknell reports.

Suncorp was able to use the Onyx tool's lead management and sales tracking system out of the box. Aside from its intended purposes, "Suncorp also used the system to collect complaints, marketing indicators and competitor product information," says Hocknell.

Following some fine tuning, the system went live on April 29, 2002. Today, Suncorp's CRM system includes E.piphany Real-time Marketing software. Also, with the help of Infosys (Bangalore, India), Suncorp built its own customer information system. Now, activity-based costing and analytic tools are being developed with other vendors.


Case Study Closeup


Suncorp, Brisbane, Australia, AUD $35.5 billion in assets.


Life, P&C, banking, wealth management.


Onyx (Bellevue, WA) Employee Portal; e.Piphany (San Mateo, CA) Real-time Marketing software; Infosys (Bangalore, India).


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