Wheat First Union has been using Toronto-based Janna Systems for the past two years and swears that it has helped it retain clients. Now the brokerage firm is putting its money where its mouth is and is upgrading to Jannas version 6 next year. Janna has been offering Customer Relationship Management software applications since 1996. Three years and over 30,000 users later, the vendor has released version 6 of the Contact Enterprise product. The software was rewritten for corporate enterprises with multiple users. The Contact Enterprise runs on Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle and Sybase databases and integrates with existing customer systems.
"The number one reason clients leave in the financial services industry is because they didnt hear from their broker," says David Hultstrom, vice president at Wheat First Union and Janna Contact Enterprise user. "It doesnt necessarily matter that its a phone call, customers just need something to feel that their broker thought of them." Wheat employs more than 1,000 financial advisers and provides financial planning services to individual investors. Hultstrom explains that the direction of brokerages seems to be heading toward more clients per broker, which means more sales assistants. "You have to add staff to deal with a bigger client base and the communications issues become overwhelming. Brokerages need some sort of contact management system to deal with client calls and information."
The Enterprise product is contact centric, according to a Janna spokeswoman. All of the relevant information is located with the client name, including an unlimited amount of addresses, phone numbers and all previous communications such as faxes, e-mails, meetings and calls. The spokeswoman says the product is based on a Microsoft look and feel, with drop down boxes and pop up screens. "The product is fairly simple to navigate and extremely customizable," she adds. "How ever the client feels comfortable working, thats how we can present the product to them and it can be presented to different users in different ways as well."
The Janna Contact Enterprise has functionality for remote access, an extension to back-office systems and workgroup scheduling, enabling users to view other schedules and make plans with co-workers. The product also has a Web-based application so users can view and update a database through the Internet, Intranet or extranet along with Web-based analysis to monitor results and progress of efforts such as sales campaigns.
Wheat First Union currently has 1,500 users for the Contact Enterprise product including brokers and support staff at 100 branches around the country. The system is integrated with Wheats portfolio management system and receives nightly downloads of all recent portfolio information to the users. Hultstrom says Wheat looked at other systems including Brokers Ally, Plaid Brothers and Act but chose Jannas product because, "it looks and feels like Microsoft Office which makes it easy to use and since about one quarter of our brokers are laptop users, the remote capability was very important." Wheat was previously using Brokers Ally, but Hultstrom says it was not as flexible as the Janna product. "Janna can have unlimited phone numbers, addresses, categories and customer fields, but the Brokers Ally product was limited to a certain number of each," notes Hultstrom.
The Janna Contact Enterprise is priced on a per user basis and customers can choose either client server or Web versions of the product. The list price is $799 for one copy of the software with the appropriate discounts given according to the number of users added. Clients can also receive maintenance benefits such as upgrades and support for an additional 20% of their total cost per year.