4-page Case Study
Posted: 4/22/2010
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SEB Wealth Management Bank Deepens Customer Relationships with 360-Degree View, Cuts Enhancement Time

Financial advisors at SEB Wealth Management, a division of SEB, one of Sweden’s premier banks, demand in-depth knowledge about their high-worth customers to provide the very best service. The company is replacing its homegrown customer relationship management (CRM) system with one built on Microsoft Dynamics CRM. SEB Wealth Management was able to complete the first phase of the rollout in just five months and create an engaging, easy-to-use interface by using Microsoft Silverlight. With the new system, SEB financial advisors have a better view of their customers’ portfolios and lives so that they can serve them better. With the development efficiencies provided by Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Microsoft development tools, the CRM team has sped up the rollout of new features by 50 percent and now spends 75 percent of its CRM budget on development and only 25 percent on maintenance.


Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken (SEB) is one of Sweden’s four largest banks, with 22,000 employees around the world and a full range of banking services. SEB Wealth Management, a division of SEB, provides asset management and private banking services to customers in the Nordic countries, the Baltics, England, Germany, Luxembourg, Poland, Singapore, and Switzerland. Institutions, high net-worth individuals, and retail customers have entrusted SEB Wealth Management with approximately SEK1.2 trillion (U.S.$1.6 billion) in assets. The Stockholm-based division of SEB employs 1,300 professionals worldwide.

Customer relationships are critical to SEB Wealth Management, because the bank is helping individuals manage their wealth during their lifetime and for generations to come. “Our customers require a lot more attention than most retail banking customers,” says Cilla Wahlström, Global System Owner, CRM, for SEB Wealth Management. “To serve our customers, we need to know them in great depth, not only every financial detail but how they spend their time, what their kids are studying in school, and what their goals are in life. These customers expect us to be there for them with the information they want, and at any time, to give them the service they need.”

In 1999, SEB Wealth Management was ahead of its time in creating one of the first early customized customer relationship management (CRM) systems to help its financial advisors gain the kind of in-depth customer knowledge they needed. The system had links to some of the company’s line-of-business (LOB) applications, but advisors still needed to log on and off of multiple applications every day to get all the information needed to respond to customer inquiries.

Advisors asked that the CRM system be modified to suit their individual ways of working, and Wahlström obliged by making many customizations. “We were so intent on meeting the needs of advisors that we did not think about long-term supportability or consistency across the business,” Wahlström says.

After a few years, the CRM system had become nearly impossible to support. Also, as SEB Wealth Management increased the size of its advisor community, Wahlström could no longer keep up with the customization requests from the business. Legal requirements, too, dramatically increased in the mid-2000s, and SEB Wealth Management spent a great deal of time incorporating these requirements into the highly customized system. “After 10 years, the older system just started falling apart,” Wahlström says. “Seventy-five percent of our budget was spent on maintaining this system and only 25 percent on developing new features.”

Advisors also complained that the program looked its age. “Our users told us that they wanted the application to be more like Facebook and other Internet applications,” says Henrik Ponthan, Business Specialist CRM for SEB Wealth Management. “They told us that they wanted the interface to have ‘bling’—that’s actually the word they used—meaning more graphics and interactivity.”

Developers said the same thing. “They were bored to death with the old system, so much so that I was afraid they were going to quit,” Wahlström says.


In 2005, the SEB Wealth Management office in Luxembourg worked with an outside firm to build a new CRM system, but the effort dragged on expensively for several years. “Despite a great deal of effort, the vendor never made the solution work properly. It didn’t support our business processes in Luxembourg,” Wahlström says.

Easy-to-Use Software Discovered

* Customers must feel that they are really taken care of. With Microsoft Dynamics CRM, we now have the data and workflows at hand to provide this really attentive, proactive service. *

Cilla Wahlström
Global System Owner, CRM, SEB Wealth Management

SEB Wealth Management was just about to close down the project, when Wahlström and representatives from the Luxembourg office visited the company’s Helsinki office and learned about Microsoft Dynamics CRM. That office was using the program to manage its CRM process. The staff really liked Microsoft Dynamics CRM and said that it was easy to use and customize.

In spring 2008, the Luxembourg team used the last of its CRM-overhaul budget to license Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Within five months, the development team in Luxembourg managed to get a new CRM up and running in production with 50 users. The pilot was so successful that Wahlström convinced management to expand the application to the whole division. “It was truly amazing, after years of spinning our wheels, to have a fully functioning CRM in just five months,” Wahlström says. “I was very grateful for our Luxembourg office taking the lead and making this global decision possible.”

Customizable to Fit Business Needs

SEB Wealth Management chose to customize Microsoft Dynamics CRM to further fit its needs, but the effort was much easier than that required by the original system. “The most attractive things about Microsoft Dynamics CRM were its familiar programming foundation and its flexibility,” Ponthan says. “We could use its extensive functionality out of the box, but also customize it to support our processes. We didn’t need to put a lot of time into creating basic CRM functionality; instead, we could focus on developing a great interface and good connections to our back-end business systems. Using the familiar Microsoft .NET Framework meant that our developers were ready to work with the program with no learning curve.”

Using the Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 development system, the bank modified the user interface, added new security and relationship models, and began linking Microsoft Dynamics CRM with about 40 other business systems. The development team uses Microsoft SQL Server 2008 data management software to store customer data and Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services to create reports. The application runs on the Windows Server 2008 operating system.

360-Degree Customer View

SEB Wealth Management calls its new CRM system WM360, because it gives investment managers and private bankers a 360-degree view of their customers. Through WM360, advisors can access data from dozens of LOB applications, eliminating the need to switch between applications throughout the day. An advisor can get a quick one-page overview of a customer, or can dive deeply into the numbers to analyze different aspects of the customer engagement.

* To serve our customers, we need to know them in great depth, not only every financial detail but how they spend their time, what their kids are studying in school, and what their goals are in life. *

Cilla Wahlström
Global System Owner, CRM, SEB Wealth Management

Advisors can also analyze an entire customer portfolio and gain insight such as: How many hours do I spend with this customer compared to the revenue produced? Which are my most profitable customers? Which customers have I not engaged with in the last six months?

SEB Wealth Management uses the system to automate workflows that help advisors gather the right information and take the right actions with customers. For example, financial regulations require that advisors collect a great deal of customer data before they start the advisory process. Using WM360, the company has devised a series of prompts that help advisors ensure that they are gathering the necessary data.

“Down the road, we will be able to give advisors very structured guidance for how to spend their day, if they want it,” Wahlström says. “When they sit down to work, we can show them which customers they need to contact, to which customers they might suggest specific products, whose birthday it is today, and so forth. With WM360, we can be more proactive.”

An Interface with “Bling”

To create the “bling” that advisors craved, SEB Wealth Management used the Microsoft Silverlight browser plug-in to create a highly visual, dynamic interface for WM360. “We looked at Amazon.com, Microsoft.com, and other popular consumer sites to find out how they used technology to enhance the user experience,” Ponthan says. “Silverlight seemed to be the common denominator.” For example, SEB Wealth Management used Silverlight to create a high-level overview of each customer, showing their basic financial picture, sales hints, other SEB relationships, a relationship maps showing connections between the customer and other contacts in WM360, and other information.

“When advisors want to look at customer assets and liabilities, instead of scrolling through a boring list of numbers, they can ‘flip’ through charts and graphs, as you flip through images on an iPhone,” Ponthan says. “Or, when you hold the cursor over a graph, a window showing deeper-level numbers pops up.”

The company plans to roll Microsoft Dynamics CRM out to all 1,300 employees, taking time to educate all users and migrate data from older systems into WM360.


With WM360, built using Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Microsoft development tools, SEB Wealth Management can get 360-degree views of its customers, which helps it develop stronger customer relationships and, ultimately, build higher revenues. With faster development, SEB Wealth Management can bring new tools into the hands of its banking staff in half the time it previously took.

Stronger Customer Relationships

With WM360, SEB Wealth Management advisors have a complete view of customers in one place. With less time spent hunting down information, they have more time to build relationships with customers. “With our new CRM, we can get closer to our customers, because we have more information at our fingertips,” says Christer Filis, Head of Financial Services at Private Banking at SEB Wealth Management. “We can be faster in our replies and even anticipate their questions.”

Adds Wahlström, “Customers must feel that they are really taken care of. With Microsoft Dynamics CRM, we now have the data and workflows at hand to provide this really attentive, proactive service.”

SEB Wealth Management also has a CRM tool that it can share with its customers. “Using the Silverlight interface makes it easier to show our customers the relationship between their assets and liabilities and also the relationships between various investment vehicles,” Ponthan says. “The interface is very modern, very approachable. We’re even looking into the possibility of exposing parts of our solution directly to customers over the Internet. This would enable advisors and their customers to look at the same information, no matter where they are.”

Radically Shortened Development Time

Today, the Swedish CRM team in SEB Wealth Management is spending 75 percent of its IT budget on development and only 25 percent on maintenance, rather than the other way around. The division can bring new functionality to the business a lot faster than it previously could. “Our Head of IT Development and Business Development in Luxembourg, Jacques de Rycke, and his team were able to create the solution in just five months, and have reduced the time-to-market for new functionality by 50 percent,” Wahlström says. “Today, I can give our developers an idea on a post-it note and have a demo within hours. Before, we had to write detailed specification documents, and it was weeks before we saw the feature.”

It was important to Wahlström to not spend time and money developing standard CRM structure. “With Microsoft Dynamics CRM, we were able to focus on adding functionality specific to our business,” Wahlström says. “Microsoft Dynamics CRM provided the development features and workflow foundation required to meet the complex workflow needs of the advisory process.”

The bank’s developers love the new system, too. “The developers love their work now,” Wahlström says. “They spend long hours with WM360, and they even think about possible solutions and features in their free time. Microsoft Dynamics CRM was a good choice for developer happiness.”

Increased Business Agility

The bank’s new CRM system helps it move quickly when the market moves. “With the new CRM platform, we can more easily adapt to changes in the market and serve more customer segments within Wealth Management,” Wahlström says. “We can add new functionality to support new areas of the business or support our moves into new countries. And we can easily meet new regulatory requirements. I see endless possibilities for WM360. Our flexible CRM software will evolve with the business and with our customers’ needs.”

Microsoft Dynamics
Microsoft Dynamics is a line of integrated, adaptable business management solutions that enables you and your people to make business decisions with greater confidence. Microsoft Dynamics works like familiar Microsoft software such as Microsoft Office, which means less of a learning curve for your people, so they can get up and running quickly and focus on what’s most important. And because it is from Microsoft, it easily works with the systems that your company already has implemented. By automating and streamlining financial, customer relationship, and supply chain processes, Microsoft Dynamics brings together people, processes, and technologies, increasing the productivity and effectiveness of your business, and helping you drive business success. 

For more information about Microsoft Dynamics, go to:

For More Information
For more information about Microsoft products and services, call the Microsoft Sales Information Center at (800) 426-9400. In Canada, call the Microsoft Canada Information Centre at (877) 568-2495. Customers in the United States and Canada who are deaf or hard-of-hearing can reach Microsoft text telephone (TTY/TDD) services at (800) 892-5234. Outside the 50 United States and Canada, please contact your local Microsoft subsidiary. To access information using the World Wide Web, go to:

For more information about SEB Wealth Management products and services, call (352) (26) 23 24 55 (Private Banking International), or (46) (8) 545 60 30 (Private Banking Sweden), or (46) (771) 62 10 00 (Institutional Clients), or visit the Web site at:

Solution Overview

Organization Size: 1300 employees

Organization Profile

SEB Wealth Management, a division of Swedish Bank SEB, provides wealth management services to institutions and high net-worth individuals. The division is located in Stockholm and has 1,300 employees.

Business Situation

The division’s older, homegrown customer relationship management (CRM) application had become too customized to meet its needs, and advisors wanted a more modern, user-friendly system.


The bank used Microsoft Dynamics CRM to create WM360, a CRM system customized for the needs of financial planning and wealth management, which gives bank employees a 360-degree view of customers.


  • Stronger customer relationships
  • Radically shortened development time
  • Increased business agility

Software and Services
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM
  • Microsoft .NET Framework
  • Microsoft Visual Studio Team Foundation Server
  • Microsoft Visual Studio 2008
  • Windows Server 2008
  • Microsoft Silverlight
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services

Vertical Industries