IBM, SAS Alliance Targets Financial Services, Telecoms

IBM and SAS Institute yesterday announced a strategic alliance that aims to deliver comprehensive solutions for analytical customer relationship management to specific industries, starting with financial services and telecommunications.

The two companies will enhance each other's offerings to customers and will further integrate technologies to provide organizations in the targeted industries with solutions for building and maintaining profitable relationships with their customers.

The alliance combines SAS' analytical applications and data warehousing technology with IBM's strength in e-business infrastructure, technology, data management and services.

The new integrated solution for the financial services industry will allow banks, brokerages and other institutions to integrate customer information across all marketing channels and gain customer intelligence. With this intelligence, organizations can execute effective marketing campaigns, deliver highly targeted and personalized messages, and detect and predict significant new sales opportunities.

IBM's banking and finance industry sales force will promote the new solution, working closely with IBM Global Services.

The new integrated solution for the telecommunications industry will include SAS Telecom Churn Management and the business intelligence and industry domain expertise of IBM Global Services. The integrated products and services will help phone and wireless companies predict which customers are likely to leave so they can take early, appropriate action to retain valuable clients. By gathering and warehousing huge volumes of customer data and applying predictive analytical models to this data, these companies can better understand their customers and anticipate their actions.

IBM's telecommunications industry sales force will promote the new solution.

SAS will use IBM for hardware, middleware, services and financing for these new financial and telecommunications CRM solutions. SAS, Cary, NC, and IBM, Armonk, NY, also will develop marketing plans to promote these solutions jointly and share leads for customer opportunities in these industries.

The companies also will work together to integrate and optimize the new solutions with each other's technologies. For example, SAS and IBM will continue to work closely on the integration of SAS solutions and the DB2 Universal Database.

The three-year agreement initially will focus on North America, though the deal has been structured to allow for expansion into other locations.

SAS has had a technology relationship with IBM since SAS' founding in 1976. The relationship has expanded over the past decade through more formal partnerships — including joint development and marketing — primarily with IBM's Server Group.

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