Monday, May 20, 2024

What will the next graphical interface look like? Try a Calendar!

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Equity Calendar Suite allows Sales force to Leverage the Net. An Equity Sales force is driven by events and scheduling. Therefore, it is very important that they have the most current information for their clients at their fingertips. A calendar is one of the most basic forms of organizing events and schedules. Calendars not only tell you when and what, but now, with the advent of internet technologies, they can also tell you where, who, why and how and link you to a other important information as well. The internet has transformed calendars into three dimensional communication interfaces. HTML linking makes it possible to “drill down” to see the information behind the days and dates. In addition, you can use a calendar as an interface to other applications, information or web sites. Internet based calendars are posed to become the graphical user interface of the millennium.

One example of how this is currently being done is the Equity Calendar Suite used by Equity Sales, the Syndicate Desk and Research at a major investment bank. The Equity Calendar Suite is a set of four calendar applications helping to provide a seamless communications interface, replacing static paper and leveraging the desktop technology. Let’s consider how the “golden circle” of Equity Sales, Research and the Syndicate desk conducts its business.

When an investment bank completes its due diligence on an IPO, it runs a series of Road Shows to showcase the company and its management. The Road Shows are conducted as group functions (breakfast, lunch or dinner) or one-on-ones (meetings with the company’s management). The investment bank wants to be certain that it sells all the company’s securities, so it will offer the one-on-one meetings to the most appropriate clients. As a result, sales people compete for the one-on-one meetings for their favorite clients. The syndication desk and sales management have the final approval as to which clients get the meetings.

The syndicate desk puts together a deal book. This paper document (many pages in length) contains all the scheduled events (group functions and one-on-ones) and the travel logistics for each city. A road show schedule (also paper based) is created and distributed to all sales people so they can call their clients and sign them up for the events. The deal book and road show schedule changes several times during this process and can change multiple times within a day. Each time there is a change the entire sales force must be notified and a new road show schedule must be produced and distributed. Sales people become very frustrated because they must contact their client to reschedule. Additional frustration occurs because the meeting confirmation process can take several days. Sales people must constantly check with the syndicate desk for status of their meeting request. Bear in mind that there can be several deals going on at the same time. Therefore, changes in deal books and road show schedules and approval request status can be difficult to coordinate.

Enter the intranet-based Equity Calendar Suite. This is a suite of four online calendar applications: Lead Managed Road Show Calendar; Co-Managed Road Show Calendar; All Equity Events Calendar and an International All Equity Events Calendar. The syndication process works the same as above, except after the deal book is created it is now sent to a web application that extracts the data and creates an online interactive calendar (that displays the date, deal and city) and an events listing (that lists all the events in that city for that day). Through “client pull” it appears instantly on the salesperson’s browser. The salesperson simply clicks on the appropriate deal and views the events for that day. They can signup clients for one-on-ones or group functions online. Pen icons indicate function availability. A simple online form is submitted and sent to a database for collection. Once approved, the event listing is updated with the salesperson’s client and the event is closed to further signups. The process is seamless, paperless and from the sales perspective, fast and effortless. The Lead Managed and Co-Managed calendar applications work the same way.

In addition, from the Lead Managed and Co-Managed calendar interfaces, salespeople can check on the status of their meeting request, email the analysts associated with the deal and even view the sales memo, all online from their desktop’s browser. History and statistics are also gathered for analysis of intent of interest for future deals. Another benefit is to provide top tier clients with a regional subset of the Lead Managed deal calendar through an extranet. Some investment banks are already faxing this information to their clients.

Another problem is keeping track of the ever- changing landscape of Equity events. One example is Analyst Marketing. From January to June analysts are busy marketing to top tier accounts. Equity Sales had no way of keeping track of what cities or clients analysts were visiting. Enter the Intranet-based All Equity Events Calendar. This calendar application is entirely web-based and can display everything from Analyst Marketing to company conference calls. Here’s how it works.

A calendar administrator can build each event by simply clicking on the date, type of event, city and analyst. Once submitted, it appears instantly on the salesperson’s browser. In the case of Analyst Marketing events, a schedule is also created that allows a salesperson to sign up clients, on a city by city basis, for analysts visits. Once again the process is seamless, paperless, effortless and fast. The calendar administrator can easily add, delate, update and change events in real-time. Calendar icons indicate these changes. In addition, history on client/analysts visits can be collected. Other benefits include, a standard itinerary format and the ability to download these itineraries and schedules into your Pilot (a personal data assistant). The International All Equity Events Calendar, is a subset, showing only international events. It is used extensively outside the US.

Internet technologies are changing the dynamics between the buy-side and sell-side in addition to heating up the race to enfranchise clients. The Equity Calendar Suite is just one example of how these technologies can streamline a process and enable Syndicate, Sales and Research to act as a highly unified team. It provides a dynamic communication interface allowing sales people to spend more time and energy working with clients instead of hunting down papers and approvals. The internet is changing the sales process dramatically and the winners will be those who leverages the best tools.

About the author:

Charles Cirronella is Vice President of Equity Web Development at Deutsche Morgan Grenfell (DMG). He co-developed the Equity Calendar Suite with Shari Feinbloom. The calendar suite is currently used by DMG Equity Sales and throughout the bank and its branches. The suite is about to go global allowing DMG to view Equity Events and Deals on a worldwide basis.

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