Company Spotlight

Actionable Insights: Issuers’ 2015 Resolution

Data is only as good as the insights that can been drawn from it. And those are only as good as the analytics dashboards that make those insights easy to access and then action. That’s, says Paul Bridgewater, TSYS’ Head of Global Product and Strategic Innovation for Payments and Mobile, is the central thesis of the TSYS Targeted Messaging solution. TSYS and FICO have teamed up to create a new tool that they say has improved the quality of issuer marketing campaigns but also the speed at which these campaigns can be taken to market. Bridgewater and FICO’s Senior Director Patrick Housel, offered MPD CEO Karen Webster a behind-the-scenes look at this new data analytics platform and the ROI that it delivers to issuer marketing programs.


Data is only as good as the insights that can been drawn from it. And those are only as good as the analytics dashboards that make those insights easy to access and then take action. That’s, says Paul Bridgewater, TSYS’ head of global product and strategic innovation for payments and mobile, the central thesis of the TSYS Targeted Messaging solution. TSYS and FICO have teamed up to create a new tool that they say has improved the quality of issuer marketing campaigns but also the speed at which these campaigns can be taken to market. Bridgewater and FICO’s Senior Director Patrick Housel, offered MPD CEO Karen Webster a behind-the-scenes look at this new data analytics platform and the ROI that it delivers to issuer marketing programs.


KW: We are here to talk about a really exciting agreement that TSYS and FICO have entered into that will create and deliver a service to card issuers that is designed to create additional consumer engagement across all channels. Paul, what is it and how does it work?

PB: Yes, we’re really excited about this one. I think this fills a pretty huge void that we see within the industry at the moment. Based on where we see issuers engage for their 2015 strategic plans around growth, I think this one’s going to really mean something.

Basically, TSYS Targeted Messaging fills a need that we are hearing from many, many clients. The issuers really need the ability to effectively and efficiently use their customer data, which they have not necessarily done in the past. But it’s not just for reports. What we are seeing is that they want to put the data into action. Issuers are really looking for a way to take transactional data to combine it with other data, and then put it against their strategy from a business perspective and execute against it.

We are now seeing the clients really recognizing the value of understanding their customers and incorporating that into a meaningful customer engagement. TSYS Targeted Messaging allows our clients with all levels of analytical skills to put that data to work.

We’ve developed some pre-built visualizations of that data to help them understand it. Using the visualizations, they can develop a strategy based on their business needs. And then they can, most importantly, take action.

We think this is a game changer. It’s a one-stop solution. It enables these three-to-four different tools to work seamlessly together. It means that they don’t need to move data between separate companies or separate outsourced partners that they may be using. We are seeing campaign timelines shrinking from weeks to days from the products that we are currently operating at the moment.


KW: So Patrick, how does FICO fit into the TSYS Targeted Messaging solution?

PH: The Targeted Messaging Solution really brings together both organizations: FICO and TSYS. TSYS Targeted Messaging is built on the FICO Customer Dialogue Manager Platform. That platform is a multi-channel marketing automation project that allows marketers to design, execute and manage marketing programs.

To elaborate a bit on what Paul’s talking about, the TSYS analytics organization has built a pre-defined data model on top of this platform that leverages data that’s existing on TSYS’s card platform that TSYS’s issuers are using everyday.

What that essentially does for the issuer is accelerate speed-to-market since there isn’t a lengthy implementation or data model build-out process because TSYS has already predefined those models and templates that then enable that data to run directly into the FICO Customer Dialogue Management Platform which then manages all of the marketing automation and marketing programs from there.


PB: I think that’s a really critical point to pick up on, Karen. This solution doesn’t require individual projects for our clients to prepare data or to install software or applications. It really is a turnkey, out-of-the-box solution with the data that we already hold and manage for our clients. It truly is turnkey, switch it on, try it, use it. If it works, use more of it. If it doesn’t, try something else.


KW: Paul, I want to go back to something you said very early in our conversation. I mean, this sounds terrific but I also know that TSYS had a pretty solid reputation for delivering advanced analytics prior to introducing this new solution set. You mentioned that TSYS Targeted Messaging gives the issuer with access to data that perhaps they didn’t have or found hard to get. Can you give me some examples?

PB: Basically the TSYS analytics business has really done two or three things. The core value is the storage of the data. During the collection and storage of the data, we are touching about 5 petabytes of data at any one point in time. So that’s a significant amount of data. What we have done in the past is we have worked with our clients in a consultative manner to help them dig into those massive data warehouses to understand what’s happening within their business. So now, instead of our clients pulling us, this solution is allowing us to push them.

This solution enables issuers to then understand their business in a 360-degree sense – from many different dimensions. And the most important part of that is that now issuers can take action against that data based on their business strategy.

So we’re really taking analytics of TSYS to the next level with this solution and I think it’s coming at the perfect time as issuers look to growing their portfolios with their existing client bases within the North American market in 2015. That’s what we’re hearing.


KW: Yes, I would agree with that. I think the opportunity to really strengthen the relationship with consumers is priority No. 1. And it sounds like, obviously, access to data and then something else you said, ‘the ability to action it and do it more quickly” is a real value. But how does it happen more quickly with this solution? Is it because you’re prepopulating campaign templates? Walk us through how you are helping issuers increase speed to market and auctioning on their data.

PB: So I’ll touch on a couple of points then I’ll hand that over to Patrick who has clearly got a far deeper knowledge of the FICO Customer Dialogue Management Platform product that we are using as part of this solution.

At the top level, we are creating these visualizations so that the clients at all levels can understand what’s actually happening within their business on a day-to-day basis. From there, they’re able to choose the strategies that they want to execute against. There are predefined campaigns that we’ve created with FICO that we believe are going to be the most meaningful to our clients. We’ve also integrated those into a number of different channels including our card management solution. Our solution has mobile SMS integration, email integration and also physical mail integration. This means that issuers can execute a campaign at a click of a button and then automatically drive the delivery of that campaign through the predefined channels. So there’s no campaign handoff. That’s what we mean when we say, “it takes it from weeks into days.” Patrick, I’m sure you want to expand on that a little bit more.


PH: Absolutely. One of the nice features of the application is the click-to-launch functionality. It gives the user of the application predefined data visualizations that the TSYS analytics organization has put together. The client is able to identify a segment within the portfolio that they want to target for marketing purposes. Now, they can click and launch right into the campaign segment of the application. The channel integrations the application includes a batched campaign mode, which is direct mail, email, SMS, social, as well as a one-to-one marketing dimension within the application that allows organizations to interact with customers at the right time for the customer, not necessarily for the banks trying to push a message out to a broader group of customers.

So for example, a consumer is looking at their account, powered by the TSYS card management application, and while they’re viewing something in their account they are being prompted with the right marketing message at the right time.


KW: So I want to ask for both your perspectives on the data analytics problem that the players in payments, especially the issuers, are really trying to work through. I think there’s certainly no shortage of initiatives around accumulating data, analyzing it and then trying to action it. What about what you are doing together to support the TSYS Targeted Messaging platform will make a difference between an aspirational goal of data analytics and the reality of actually making a difference in the business?

PB: I think the key here for us is security. Typically when we’ve talked to our customers or interviewed our issuers, the biggest concern they have is that their own in-house enterprise solutions cannot move fast enough for them.

For financial institutions, the card business is not a top priority. Therefore, they have a tough time getting to the top of the list to actually get things done.

Secondly, the amount of data that they have to bring in from third parties or ship out to third parties for treatment is creating a security risk. So part of the value proposition from TSYS Analytics is that data never leaves the secure environment of TSYS. The challenge that they’ve had up until now is getting, essentially, business access to that data and being able to put that data to work.

Companies have a lot of data, but they don’t truly understand what they can do with it to turn it into information to be used to grow their business. That’s a void that we are filling with this solution but also with a broader solution that we will be announcing in the spring of 2015.


KW: So if you were both putting together a list of recommendations based on the work that you’ve done to date in this area, what are some of the things that would be on the short list of recommendations? It sounds like there are a number of things related to putting together templates and dashboards that are actionable, the ability to access a single source of data is important. What are some of the other things that you would really stand behind as a slate of recommendations for someone looking at this very problem?

PB: It has to be easy, accessible, and fast to action. It can’t take a team of 10 analytic data scientists to actually use it. It has to be user-friendly. It has to be multi-channel accessible and provide very quick feedback from an ROI perspective on the campaign.

One of the areas that we are addressing at the moment is how we can shift weekly and daily batch feeds of data into real transactional, real-time campaign effectiveness. In other words, when you launch a campaign and a consumer clicks on a campaign and activates an offer the issuer has provided, that you will see that fit back into the solution immediately.

This means that you don’t have to be tied to running three or four major campaigns on an annual basis because of the workload behind it. It means that you can be flexible on running multiple campaigns at one time and have that challenger/champion type opportunity to understand which campaigns are really working and which ones aren’t based on your business strategy.


PH: I certainly agree. However, I just wanted to back up and chime in on the previous question if I could. A lot of the work we are bringing together in this one-stop solution was traditionally done in individual silos. That’s one of the major problems we are trying to solve with this solution. It’s very hard to transition the insights from the analytics team over to the marketing team that has to actually complete the execution of the campaign. The major problem that this solves in addition to the security is that it bridges the gap and puts the actionable analytics data in the hands of the marketer.

When I think of the solution, I think it’s easy, it’s actionable, and it’s accessible. It also has to be measurable; I think that’s an important piece as well.

Marketing budgets are not infinite and the ability for campaigns to be measurable is very important. There’s some really great functionality within the application. And then at the end of the campaign you measure your results and employ your findings to the next campaign. You can send 10 percent of the customer base email 1, 10 percent of the customer base email 2, and then you can measure results of the email campaigns say for the first five-to-seven business days and based on which campaign outperforms the other, the system can then automatically push out the winning email to the remaining customer base.

So it really allows the marketer to make a decision real-time and drive stronger results based on the automated response that the application is collecting with the various marketing campaigns.


KW: You both referenced the opportunity for what you’re doing together to create a measurable ROI, those also made your list of recommendations for your “developing a big data” initiative. I can imagine that when you start to get visibility into the business with the kind of analytics that you’ve described, that any number of things can be possible — not just improving the consumer experience but also potentially refashioning business models and things like that. Can you guys speak to some of the things that you think are possible given access to the data that you are going to be providing issuers through the TSYS Targeted Messaging platform?

PB: Yes. For the moment, Karen, we have been extremely focused on growth. How do we help our clients grow their business versus what we traditionally do, which is help them operate their business.

An organization, a bank or financial institution, has to decide really early on what the objective is from a data initiative. Are they looking to engage more customers? Are they looking to better understand the profitability of customers? Whatever that is, they have to start with the data they have, which is typically transactional data. We are seeing instances where if we add weather data or traffic pattern data into the mix, we start to see a different potential engagement model with the end consumer based on their spending habits are. You can then develop a different campaign at any particular point in time. That’s going to get a different engagement effect with a particular consumer based on what frame of mind they’re in at that point in time.

At TSYS we have customer acquisition transactional history. We also have a number of different partnerships with other data sources to help us really understand how to better provide decision-making and enhanced engagement for our customers with their cardholders. Clients now have the ability to get the analysis and we provide them with many different ways to consume and view that analysis.

We no longer provide them with just raw data, unless that’s what they really want. Customers are moving away from that raw data requirement and are asking for these highly specialized visualization solutions so they can understand at all levels of the organization from the business end of the cardholder portfolio down to the data scientist sitting in the marketing team. That is definitely the way that we are moving.

We have a couple of pilots running at the moment in the U.S. market. They’ve been running for around about six-to-eight weeks. We are seeing nothing but our clients “leaning in” on this solution because of the value of this particular solution and its ability to help them make business decisions and spend smart in a year of growth.


KW: So Patrick, what role do you think data like this will play in issuer organizations?

PH: Specifically some feedback we’ve received from our clients that are taking part in the pilot is that it’s changing the way that they approach the marketing planning process. The tool’s interface really allows the marketer to plan and visualize or lay out the campaign test that they want to push into the market.

Whereas in the past there might have been a tool that made the marketing planning process just a bit more challenging for the marketing organization, the execution piece’s timeline is so dramatically reduced; marketers can now spend their time looking at the data and building out test-plan simulations and spending the time strategizing and executing against their business plans versus just doing the operational work that used to take all their time. They can really focus on the things they want to focus on.




Paul Bridgewater
Head of Global Product and Strategic Innovation for Payments and Mobile, TSYS

Paul Bridgewater, a veteran of the payments and financial services industry, was named Group Executive of Global Product at TSYS in 2011. Prior to joining TSYS, Bridgewater served as senior vice president, payments, of Digital River, Inc., in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, where he managed all aspects of its multi-million dollar internal payment services business unit. Bridgewater’s additional responsibilities at Digital River included product management and roadmap execution, third-party payment vendor relationships, payment services strategy, and real-time fraud and risk mitigation for its external payment services business. Bridgewater also has extensive international payments experience, having worked extensively with Citibank International, NatWest Bank, PLC, and Anker Data Systems.


Patrick Housel
Senior Director of Marketing Solutions, FICO 

Patrick Housel, a Senior Director in FICO’s Marketing Solutions organization, is responsible for strategic partnerships. Prior to joining FICO Mr. Housel spent 10-plus years in various credit card marketing roles. Most recently at TD Bank, Mr. Housel was responsible for marketing, campaign management, enhancement services and public relations for TD’s North American private label credit card business. Mr. Housel also held various roles within the Marketing Analytics and Marketing Systems groups at Macy’s Credit and Customer Services.

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