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ActionWorks® Solutions for Financial Services

New Product Development

The new product development process for services industries differs from manufactured goods in more ways than the obvious differences in end products. And for the financial services industry, there are additional challenges beyond the minimal requirements of innovation.

For example, Merrill Lynch altered the competitive landscape of the then heavily regulated banking and securities industries through the innovation of cash management accounts (CMAs). Merrill Lynch saw a market opportunity for integrating all of a customer's assets (i.e., checking, savings, and brokerage) under one umbrella. They created a solution that met customer needs while complying with the complex regulatory standards of the day. Today, many financial services institutions offer CMA services, but only Merrill Lynch reaped the rewards of first mover advantage. Creating offers that change the industry landscape is both an art and a science. Creating and maintaining competitive advantage in today's more challenging conditions requires vision, innovation, and a strong business process management solution.

Companies have discovered many additional opportunities since Merrill's innovation—variable rate mortgages, open end and closed end mutual funds, as well as hedge, venture, and derivative funds—but it's not often that we see inventions of the CMA magnitude, After all, if it were easy, everyone would do it. Having business processes in place that enable you to take advantage of these opportunities and be the first to market is a powerful competitive weapon.

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Recently the market has experienced two additional offers poised to change the competitive landscape in the same revolutionary way that Merrill Lynch's CMAs did. The first is by Swiss Reinsurance with ManageReinsurance. Swiss Re's global renewal application is a cross-corporate industry operating system that creates a seamless negotiation process between insurers, Swiss Reinsurance and third party property/casualty experts. It is the first time that complex, multi-party agreements among multiple companies have been brought together into a single unified process. The second is from a subsidiary of Halifax plc, Intelligent Finance for Integrated Assets and Liabilities Management. Intelligent Finance, the fastest growing bank in the United Kingdom, and likely all of Europe, has discovered a way to create additional value for its customers and become a major player in the financial services industry by taking Merrill Lynch's CMA concept to the next level and offering integrated asset and liability management. The bank's solution allows customers to fully use all credits from asset accounts against all debits from liability accounts. Thus, for many Intelligent Finance customers, their monthly interest credits fully pay for their monthly mortgage.

Swiss Reinsurance's ManageReinsurance and Intelligent Finance's Integrated Assets and Liabilities Management are core processes that are transforming the industry and giving their respective organizations significant competitive advantage. Both are experiencing rapid gains in market share because of their innovations and the processes they use to turn ideas into recurring actions that benefit customers. It's not surprising then, given Action's unique ability to enable companies to manage their complex, high value decision-processes that require negotiation, commitment and flexibility, that both solutions are managed by ActionWorks.

Companies attempt to create competitive advantage in many ways; new product development is one of them. In finance, new product development is the orchestrated effort to invent the new offer, gain regulatory approval, implement the systems, and, finally, establish the business processes that enable a company to deliver this value to its customers—while being faster to market than the competition, and at costs lower than "copycat" firms. While the responsibility for creating new offers may reside with a particular group within a financial services organization, it requires the coordinated effort of nearly every department across the organization (e.g., customers, suppliers, and marketing, legal, analysis, services, and other departments). ActionWorks links the hundreds of people who need to plan, invent, negotiate, and commit new product development process flows seamlessly, from the institution to suppliers and customers, from department to department, and from person to person, while being executed 40 to 60 percent faster than previously. Action's unique abilities to support processes requiring planning, invention, mobilization, and commitment is the reason that dozens of world-class financial services companies use our software to manage their mission-critical processes.

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ActionWorks, the Action Technologies business process analysis and redesign methodology, and the Business Interaction Model are protected under US Patents 6,073,109; 6,058,413; 5,734,837; 5,630,069; and 5,208,748