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Issue of May 2006 

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Cholamandalam AMC (CAMC), an asset management company, was looking for a solution that would allow it to consolidate its expanding customer base. Sneha Khanna finds out how they went about fixing the problem

Sashi Krishnan

Cholamandalam AMC manages mutual funds for retail and institutional investors. Managing a large customer base, consolidating it and avoiding duplication were the challenges for the company. The company opted for a Customer Interaction Management (CIM) solution to sort out these issues.

Market Driven Needs

Faced with the challenge of attracting and retaining customers in a fiercely competitive market, the CAMC felt the need to have a reliable and consolidated database. The company’s transaction processing is handled by a company called the Computer Age Management Services.

As per the company’s guidelines they needed to follow certain patterns. For example, details like name, folio number, calls or e-mail had to be categorised into a finite set of options. Apart from that, they needed to fulfil some of the customer redressal and reporting requirements set up by The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). The company also felt the need to reach out to their investors more effectively through customer-focussed campaigns.

To fulfil these requirements, CAMC needed a solution which could give them a 360 degree view of their customers. Says Sashi Krishnan, Chief Executive, Cholamandalam AMC, “CAMC needed a solution to give us a better perspective of our investors.”

The company also wanted to track the investor queries more efficiently. Says Krishnan, “We wanted to know our investors better so that we could address their needs within given time periods. We also wanted to track the time our company takes to resolve the investor grievances.”

The biggest challenge that the company faced was to identify each investor as a unique stakeholder irrespective of his or her investments in different schemes. While identifying a customer might seem simple from a layman’s perspective, it is quite a complex task for a company with a large database.

Take the example of a customer who registers under different funds. At the time of registering for different funds, he might register himself under slightly different names (For eg, Ashish Kapoor v/s Ashish V Kapoor). Due to these differences, the company many face problems of locating the customer records the next time he calls. CAMC needed a consolidated database to avoid such issues and correctly track the customer.

In A Nutshell
  • The company: Cholamandalam AMC (CAMC), an asset management company offering mutual funds to retail and institutional investors.
  • The need: To consolidate their customer base and have a unique identification for each investor as various investments are classified under different folios.
  • The solution: Talisma's CIM suite

Finding the Right Partner

Before going in for a solution provider CAMC had certain basic requirements. The company needed a service provider who could offer customisation and understood the mutual fund business.

Says Krishnan, “After comparing our company’s requirements with various solutions from different companies, we found that Talisma matched our requirements.”

CAMC is currently using Talisma’s modules from the CIM suite consisting of:

  • Talisma Service
  • Talisma Sales
  • Talisma Campaign
  • Talisma E-mail Response Management

Started in April 2005, the project took four months and was completed in July 2005. “This is the shortest implementation timeline,” remarks Krishnan. “It was made possible by Talisma’s expertise in this field. They have done similar deployments at other financial services companies including some projects for the asset management sector,” he adds.

A Phased Approach

The project was implemented in two phases. While implementing the first phase, it was divided into three steps. In the first step there was a system study of CAMC conducted by the Talisma Team.

Says Krishnan, “A team from Talisma came to our office and conducted the system study. After detailed discussions with the functional and systems team, a tentative time table for the project to go live was fixed.” Using ‘de-duplicating’ algorithms, engineers removed errors and folio-duplications in the company’s database.

In the second step of the first phase the company’s specifications were finalised and frozen. Says Krishnan, “The specifications were frozen and the design got underway. They came up with a detailed specifications document, which was signed off by CAMC and Talisma.” After the data clean up, database consolidation was performed to create a single folio number for each customer.

The last step of the first phase was to test user acceptance modules by the CAMC team. “A detailed user acceptance and stress level testing was conducted by the project team, consisting of the sales and the service functions at the Talisma premises in Bangalore,” adds Krishnan.

After testing completion, a time table for the next stage was drawn. After completion of the first phase, sales and service users started using the data at few locations.

Going Live Throughout

In the project’s second phase, data was tested and imported into the Talisma’s system. Says Krishnan, “In this phase, there was testing to import customer data into Talisma’s system.”

Initially the data was uploaded day wise and then compared with the database maintained by the registrar. “This process took about a week to ten days. After that the system was ready to go online with live data,” says Krishnan. After the system went online, it was extended to more locations.

Talisma provides frequent software updates to CAMC. Says Krishnan, “CAMC is confident that Talisma can provide the necessary feature upgrades as per CAMC’s business strategy. SLAs for the product are as per agreement between the two parties from time to time.”

CAMC Milestones
In the two phases several exercises were carried out concurrently:

  • Data import from third-party database, followed by de-duplication.
  • Contact creation, classification and management module.
  • Customer service module—Impleme-ntation of service request fulfilment workflow.
  • Lead management module.
  • Campaign management module (outbound e-mail campaigns).
  • Reports


Talisma initially faced some challenges while consolidating CAMC’s customer database. They needed to create a unique identity of each of their customers.

Says Krishnan, “Each investor of Cholamandalam needed unique identification since various investments are classified under different folios.” Another challenge was to identify a investor even if he does not quote his folio number at the time of the call.

Tracking Benefits

Talisma solutions helped CAMC handle its customers better by tracking their transactions with the company. “By deploying Talisma solutions we are able to track all our customer interactions,” says Krishnan.

Another benefit is customer identification even with minimum details like scheme and folio. “Talisma’s solutions have helped us create a unique identity for each investor,” says Krishnan.

Apart from that, Krishnan feels that with regards to sales, it has helped the company manage potential sales leads at various stages. On the marketing front, the company has benefited by its capability to send regular personalised mailers to investors.

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