Financial Firm Switches to Windows 8 Pro Tablets to Improve Customer Experience

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financeTec makes a customer management software product used by thousands of financial advisers across Germany. financeTec is modifying its product to run on Windows 8 Pro tablets so that advisers can discuss investment portfolios with customers in a friendly, interactive manner. The firm expects that up to 30 percent of its customers will upgrade to the Windows 8 Pro version in the next year. financeTec also wants to develop additional Windows 8 apps.

Business Needs

financeTec is a software developer whose AdWorks product is used by nearly 4,000 financial advisers. It is a complete customer relationship management system augmented with financial tools for investment transaction processing, portfolio performance reporting, and other tasks. financeTec is based in Frankfurt, Germany.

financeTec developed AdWorks to run on the Windows operating system and to work smoothly with Microsoft Excel spreadsheet software, which is used by many financial services firms. However, when financial advisers sit down with customers to discuss their portfolios, they do not like having a laptop screen between them and customers.

"The laptop forms a wall between financial advisers and their customers, which does not foster the kind of trust and transparency necessary for an investment adviser relationship," says Harald Dehn, Chief Executive Officer of financeTec. "Financial advisers want to run our product on a computer that is not so intrusive, that promotes trust and information sharing with customers." financeTec salespeople had the same problem when demonstrating AdWorks to financial advisers.

 "We expect that up to 30 percent of our customers will upgrade to our AdWorks product running on Windows 8 Pro tablets in the next year because of the improvements provided by Windows 8 Pro."
Harald Dehn, Chief Executive Officer, financeTec           
               

Other companies in this market began modifying their products to run on tablets, which are small, can be laid flat on the table, and have touch-sensitive interfaces for greater interactivity. Customers began asking financeTec if it would reprogram AdWorks for tablets, most of which ran Apple and Android operating systems. However, that would be a huge task, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars and taking years. "Even if we put in this effort, our customers would not be able to take advantage of Excel and other Windows-based applications that many financial tools depend on," Dehn says.

Solution

financeTec asked longtime technology partner Glück & Kanja, a member of the Microsoft Partner Network, for ideas on how to move forward. Glück & Kanja helped financeTec deploy three Samsung ATIV Tab 7 convertible tablets running the Windows 8 Pro operating system and helped financeTec see the possibilities that Windows 8 Pro held for its business.

"Windows 8 Pro was a dramatic development for us because it gave us a full-scale Windows operating system in a tablet form factor," Dehn says. Instead of financial advisers sitting across the table from a customer with a large laptop screen between them, advisers could sit alongside customers with the tablet in front of them and walk through investments using the touch-enabled Windows 8 Pro interface. financeTec?s own salespeople would enjoy the same advantages in presenting AdWorks to financial advisers.

"Windows 8 Pro tablets create a completely different customer relationship environment," Dehn says. "If the customer wants to take a closer look at his or her investments, the financial adviser can use the Windows 8 Pro ?pinch to zoom? feature to grab one piece of a portfolio pie chart and zoom in on it. The touch interface lets the adviser take greater advantage of the graphical features of our product and lets them be far more interactive with their customers." If advisers need to access Excel-based programs for financial calculations, they can quickly access those through the familiar Windows desktop in Windows 8 Pro.

If the adviser and customer decide to make a change in the customer?s portfolio, the customer can use a stylus to sign an electronic authorization form on the tablet, something that was not possible with laptops that were not touch enabled. The adviser then can send the authorization to the mutual fund company from the tablet.

financeTec will have to modify AdWorks slightly to optimize it for the tablet and touch interface, but Dehn expects this to take about six months?a fraction of the time required to rewrite the entire product for another operating system. It can also sell the Windows 8 Pro version of AdWorks through the Windows Store.

financeTec also likes the BitLocker drive encryption technology, which helps protect customer data if a tablet is lost or stolen, and the new layout of Windows 8 Pro, which Dehn feels gives his salespeople quick access to all needed applications. financeTec has upgraded to Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2013, which also features a clean, uncluttered interface that promotes efficiency.

financeTec plans to have 12 to 15 salespeople using Windows 8 Pro by end of 2013, on both tablets and laptops.

Benefits

financeTec feels that financial advisers who elect to run AdWorks on Windows 8 Pro tablets will have a solution that is much easier to use and promotes greater customer closeness and trust. This will help financeTec sell more product and grow its business. "We expect that up to 30 percent of our customers will upgrade to our AdWorks product running on Windows 8 Pro tablets in the next year because of the improvements provided by Windows 8 Pro," Dehn says.

Windows 8 Pro gives financeTec the opportunity to create other highly visual, touch-enabled financial apps. "More people in all professions are taking advantage of mobile apps, and this is an exciting market for us," Dehn says. "We?ll be able to sell AdWorks and other apps in the Windows Store, which is a new sales channel for us that has great potential."

financeTec estimates that one developer will be able to modify AdWorks for Windows 8 Pro in about six months, a fraction of the minimum of five years required to rewrite the application for the Android and Apple operating systems.

"The time and effort needed to redevelop our product for other operating systems makes the effort simply unfeasible," Dehn says. "With Windows 8 Pro, we can invest our time in improving our existing product and creating new Windows Store apps."

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