A Marketing Information System I Information Technology Essay


A Marketing Information System is a routine, planned, gathering, sorting, storage and retrieval system for market information relevant to the operation of a particular business.

Most except the largest businesses do not have much of a marketing information system, if at all, with executives perhaps relying on reading a few trade publications and the monthly reports of their staff.As far as I am aware you cannot buy a ready made marketing information system suitable for any market, rather you have to organise your own, specific to your markets, your staff and your decision needs.

The more volatile your markets, the more your organisation wishes to get ahead of the pack, the more you wish to be a winner, the more you are able to respond to emerging opportunities or threats faster than your competition, the more you could perhaps benefit if you organised the routine gathering of up to date pertinent market information from within and without your organisation so that it is to hand, to warn, and to present opportunities to your organisation.

Here the overall analysis was made on a Specific Company’s Marketing Information Systems Which is HSBC Ltd. The overall report begins hereand also some of the materials are attached in the Appendix section.

About HSBC:

HSBC is one of the largest banking and financial services organisations in the world. HSBC’s international network comprises about 10,000 offices in 76 countries and territories in Europe, the Asia-Pacific region, the Americas, the Middle East and Africa. Through an international network linked by advanced technology, HSBC provides a comprehensive range of financial services. Corporate communications for ‘The World’s Local Bank’ means informing employees in 76 countries about the latest HSBC news, legislation, HR and legal issues.

History of HSBC:

The HSBC Asia Pacific group represents HSBC in Bangladesh. HSBC opened its first branch in Dhaka in 17th December, 1996 to provide personal banking services, trade and corporate services, and custody services. The Bank was awarded ISO9002 accreditation for its personal and business banking services, which cover trade services, securities and safe custody, corporate banking, Hexagon and all personal banking. This ISO9002 designation is the first of its kind for a bank in Bangladesh. Realizing the huge potential and growth in personal banking industry in Bangladesh, HSBC extended its operation to the personal banking sector in Bangladesh and within a very short span of time; it was able to build up a huge client base. Extending its operation further, HSBC opened a branch at Chittagong, two branch offices at Dhaka (Gulshan and Mothijheel) and an offshore banking unit on November, 1998. Another branch has been opened at Dhanmondi on 1st of March, 2003. Till date, the number of employees of this bank in Bangladesh was 180. HSBC Bangladesh is under the strict of supervision of HSBC Asia Pacific Group, Hong Kong. The Chief Executive Officer of HSBC Bangladesh manages the whole banking operation of HSBC in Bangladesh. Under the CEO, there are heads of departments, who manage specific banking functions e.g. Personal banking, corporate banking, etc. Currently HSBC Bangladesh is providing a wide range of services both individual and corporate level customers. In 2000, the bank launched a wide array of personal banking products designed for all kinds of (middle and higher middle income group) customers. Some such products were Personal loans, car loans, etc. Recently the bank launched three of its’ personal banking products – Personal Secured Credit, Personal secured loan & Automated Tele Banking (ATB) service, Credit Cards, ATM, Day& Night Banking Service and Easy Pay Machines. These products are designed to meet the diverse customer needs more completely.

Some Important Things to know about MARKETING INFORMATION SYSTEMS:

Information System

A system that accepts data from its environment (input) and manipulates the data (processing) to produce information (output). An information system is a data processing system that engages in collecting, processing, editing, storing, transmitting and supplying data relating to a certain area of application. The term information system is normally used in a narrower sense to refer to an automated system; it then refers to the applications in combination with the IT infrastructure. In a wider sense the information system includes all the procedures and resources in connection with the data of a certain area of application. A non-automated administrative system is therefore an information system, too.

System Design

System design is the key phase within the system development cycle. It consist of devising specifications for an information system (IS) that best fit a firm’s current and expected circumstances (Wilkinson. J.W & Cerullo. M.J, 1997). The design may involve an improvement to an existing IS or may pertain to the initial IS for a new firm. Wilkinson and Cerullo, 1997 stated, systems design as, Reassembling the components and functions of the IS to satisfy the organization’s information needs most effectively and efficiently.

System Analysis

Systems analysis is the process of studying an existing system – whether manual or automated – and its’ environment. The purposes of analysis are to understand the components and functions of the current system, to identify the organization’s information and processing needs, and to determine the characteristics of a new system to meet these needs (Dewitz, 1996). In the System Analysis phase, Preliminary Investigation, Problem Analysis (studying the existing system), Requirement Analysis (identifying the information needs and what the new system should perform) and Feasibility Study (determining whether the system is feasible for the proposed system) will be performed.

Before moving to the broader horizon of systems analysis it is necessary to shed some light about the core concepts of system and information systems. Dewitz (1996) stated, a system is a set of interrelated components that work together in a particular environment to perform whatever functions are required to achieve the system’s objectives. Each of these components is very critical to the makeup of the system. These components must be interrelated for the system to work properly. A system has three basic functions:

Figure 4.1: Basic functions of a system

Input: Input involves capturing and assembling elements that are to be entered and processed in the system.

Processing: Processing involves transformation process that converts inputs into outputs.

Output: Output involves transfer elements that have been produced by a transformation process to their ultimate destination.

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Marketing Decision Support Systems (MDSS):

MarKeting decision support systems (MKDSS) is an information system that helps with decision-making in the formation of a marketing plan. The reason for using an MKDSS is because it helps to support the software vendors’ planning strategy for marketing products; it can help to identify advantageous levels of pricing, advertising spending, and advertising copy for the firm’s products (Arinze, 1990). This helps determines the firms marketing mix for product software.

User Interface

An interface is the ‘tangent plane’ between man and computer (the user interface) or the link between components (both software and hardware) in computer systems. Data are exchanged in two directions via the interface. There have to be proper standards concerning the way the data are exchanged via the interface. This standardization concerns the functional meaning of the data, their physical shape and the technology used for the interface. A proper standardization of the user interface leads to the simplification of human/computer interaction and contributes a great deal to the transparency for the user. The following figures show the prototype design of the user interface of LC tracking system.

Details of HSBC Marketing Information Systems:

HSBC uses a broad catagories of Marketing Information Systems and a vast amount of Information tools in different segments of the overall organization. According to the data availability, the few of them are described here.

IBM Lotus Domino Content Management System

HSBC run their corporate communications authoring and delivery on an IBM Lotus Domino Content Management System. The system delivers the information to offices in all HSBC’s countries of operation. The articles deployed on the Content Management System range from general interest, appointments, board news, economic reviews, company wide directives and weekly news roundups.

Microsoft® Windows Server® 2003 operating system and the Active Directory® service, Systems Management Server 2003

To improve system management, HSBC implemented a centralized solution based on the Microsoft® Windows Server® 2003 operating system and the Active Directory® service, Systems Management Server 2003, and Operations Manager 2005. Now the company can automatically install updates, get new financial service software to market quickly, and cut IT travel costs. It can also monitor systems in real time and plan for change and business growth. HSBC began researching solution options and quickly concluded that Microsoft had the tools needed to streamline its technology infrastructure. The company wanted an IT environment that would be a resource for supporting sustained business growth.

Microsoft Infrastructure Optimization

With help from Microsoft Consulting Services, the company developed an infrastructure optimization strategy to help it reach its goals. Microsoft Infrastructure Optimization is a process that helps businesses analyze IT assets and determine a strategy for developing those assets in line with business goals. A business first determines where it fits into the infrastructure model and then uses a series of benchmarks to guide it to the next level.

Systems Management Server

Systems Management Server continues to play a major role in the company’s strategy for keeping software up to date and managing assets. The company uses Systems Management Server to deploy software updates to workstations and to perform hardware and software inventories.

Group Policy Network

The recent infrastructure changes have affected IT employees the most, although all HSBC personnel have noticed a few differences. For example, employees now log on to their desktops and access applications using a single password from anywhere within the organization. Authentication information is stored in Active Directory, which also manages Group Policy settings for all the workstations. HSBC uses Group Policy settings to set permissions and control user access to resources, and to respond quickly to new regulatory requirements on access policies.

Integrated Receivables Solutions (IRS)

Electronic Collections

Inward Remittances

Direct Debit (Standing Instructions)

EasyPay Bill Collection Machines

Paper Collections

SmartCollect (Collection at HSBC branches)

Collection of Cash/Instruments (Cheque/Pay Order/Draft etc) deposited at HSBC Branches (all branches in Dhaka, Chittagong and Sylhet)

Cash Pickup/Delivery Services

HSBC can arrange pickup of cash and instruments from your institution to the Bank premises in metropolitan areas where there is an HSBC branch presence.

Nationwide Network Collections (Countrywide Collections)

HSBC currently has arrangements with number of partner banks to broaden distribution coverage for nationwide collection processing of its corporate clients

Clients depots can directly deposit cash and instruments (Cheque/Pay Order/Draft) at correspondent bank branches in outstation locations throughout the country

Collection of funds nationwide in the form of cash and instruments, and credit to your institution’s collection account with HSBC

Receivables Management System (RMS)

Receivables Management System brings together all of the IRS components to create the leading receivables management solution offered in Bangladesh. Receivables Management System (RMS):

Consolidates receivables information across all collection locations

Delivers real-time data on collections, through HSBCnet (our internet banking platform)

Provides various consolidated reports structured to meet your specific needs (e.g. collection reports sorted by nationwide branches/locations, by distributors (vendors), returned cheque reports)

Automates accounts receivables reconciliation using your own pre-defined parameters (payor ID/invoice ID patterns)

Delivers unique receivables advices via e-mail or SMS

Integrated Payments Solutions (IPS)

Electronic Payments

Domestic Funds Transfers (within HSBC customer base)

Account to account transfers within HSBC

Payroll (salary) payments

Single/Bulk vendor payments

Utility bill/other payments using Direct Debit (Standing Instructions)

Telegraphic Transfer arrangements via alliance (partner) banks. Instructions placed to HSBC

International Funds Transfers

Outward Remittances (subject to compliance of all foreign exchange regulations)

Cheque Outsourcing Service (COS)

Issuing cheques, cashier orders, demand drafts can be labour-intensive, time-consuming and expensive. Here the Cheque Outsourcing Service enables to outsource cheque payment production to HSBC. COS features include:

Requests for issuance of cheques, cashier’s order, demand draft can be sent through HSBCnet (our internet banking platform)

The instruments will be printed at HSBC premises, and dispatched as per your requirements (mailed directly to beneficiary, or sent to your office)

Instructions can be sent in bulk, using file-upload facilities

Auto-reconciliation of instruments, through reports showing individual instrument status (presented/un-presented/returned/unclaimed etc)

Customised Dividend Warrants can also be issued through COS, as per customer request.

ChequeWrite Pro

Cheque printing software, installed at office premises. Features include:

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Cheques printed at your office premises

Print on A4 size cheque leaves, provided by HSBC. Cheque leaf contains a cheque part, and narrative part, separated by a perforation

Bulk instructions can be uploaded, using an Excel File

Auto-saving of cheque information into a common database on your network, for access by multiple PCs

Paper Payments

Paper instruments


Pay Orders (Cashiers Orders) for metropolitan areas

Demand Draft drawn on Alliance (Partner) bank branches (HSBC has arrangement with Alliance/Partner banks to widen country-wide distribution coverage)

Other Services

Fax instructions, subject to fax indemnity

Dispatch of instruments via courier

Integrated Delivery Channels

Balance and Transaction Reporting

Access to real-time account balances and statements

Account and transaction inquiries by date, amount, and other criteria

Daily or periodic statement download and printing capability


Instant account-to-account transfers (within HSBC customer base)

Pay Orders Demand Draft, Telegraphic Transfer etc instructions sent via the internet

Bulk payments, including salary payments, using file upload tool

Trade Services

Create and Amend DC

Real-time data on – Outstanding DC, Outstanding Bills, Paid Bills, Margin Payments, Loans etc

Real-time enquiry into “Trade Facilities Breakdown”

Logical Data Modeling – E-R Diagram

HSBC uses the Logical Data Modeling – ER Diagram approach. An important aspect of every business is record keeping. In our information society, this has become an important aspect of business, and much of the world’s computing power is dedicated to maintaining and using databases. Databases of all kinds pervade almost every business. All kinds of data, from emails and contact information to financial data and records of sales, are stored in some form of a database.

The logical data design technique most commonly used in traditional systems development is the entity-relationship (E-R) diagram. This diagram uses a number of notational conventions to model the relationship among the entities of organizations. Thus data modeling technique is based on relational database concepts.

The entity-relationship (E-R) model is a high level conceptual data model developed by Chen (1976) to facilitate database design. A conceptual data model is a set of concepts that describe the structure of the database and the associated retrieval of and update transactions on the database. The main purpose of developing a high-level data model is to support the user’s perception of the data, and to conceal the more technical aspects associated with database design. Furthermore, a conceptual data model is independent of the particular Database Management Systems (DBMS) and hardware platform that is used to implement the database.

Process Modeling: DFD Diagram

Using another model, called DFD Diagram, HSBC makes a good flow their Data and information saving and transfering. A data flow diagram (DFD) models the sources and destinations of data (external entities), the data inputs and data outputs (data flows), the actions that transforms inputs into outputs (processes), and data maintained by an information systems (data stores). There are two types of DFDs. A logical DFD models the processes that must be performed but gives no identification of how they will be performed, that is, by what person or software module. In contrast a physical DFD specifies the details of a system’s physical implementation, including who performs and how (e.g. manually or using information technology). Thus, a logical DFD describes logical functions whereas a physical DFD describes physical functions.

Data flow diagrams use four basic symbols, as represented in figure 5. The figure shows symbols developed by Gane and Sarson (1979).

Figure: Gane and Sarson DFD Symbols

External Entity: An external entity is represented by a labeled square or rectangle. The name of external entity (e.g) is indicated inside the rectangle. In a DFD, an external entity is any person or agency outside the organization or any employee, system, or department outside the system being studied; that is, an external entity maybe any entity that provides inputs to or receives outputs from the system but does not perform any system processes.

System process: A system process is represented by a rounded rectangle (Jane and Sarson, 1997). A process is any activity – manual or automated – that transforms data. Logical DFD’s model both manual or automated processes, but they make no distinction between the two. Thus, whether a process is performed by humans or computers is not an issue in creating a logical DFD.

Data flow: It is represented by an arrow. This symbol is labeled with a noun phrase describing the data flow. Data flows represent inputs to and outputs from processes; they also represent data written to or read from a data store. They are usually unidirectional, that is, they point in one direction.

Data store: A data store is any organized data store for future use by the organization. For example, in a manual information system, a data store may be telephone book; customers file folders, inventory-count sheets. In an automated information system, most data is stored in magnetic or optical form on magnetic tape, magnetic disk, or optical disk.

The Hexagon System

Hexagon is a key component of HSBC’s IT strategy, as indicated by the use of the Hexagon symbol, a six-sided figure, made up of six red and white triangles, as HSBC’s corporate logo.

The Development of Hexagon

The Hexagon idea originated in 1982 in the Technical Services Department, then headed by Strickland. Citicorp and Chase Manhattan were already providing corporate customers with mainframe computer terminals, through which they could access within-country transactions and balance data about their accounts. This was a strategic threat to the HongkongBank because these products focused on business customers engaged in intercontinental trade and, potentially, high-end retail customers who used global banks to manage their personal global finances. Such customers might favor a bank that could deliver a system to manage cash worldwide. If competitors developed such a global system first, HSBC could find itself sidelined in the competition for the world’s most important banking customers.

To meet this threat HSBC would need to leapfrog the concept of a simple global inquiry system, otherwise it might find itself trying to compete with a product that was always functionally one step behind that of the competitors. To turn the threat into a positive strategic thrust, concluded Strickland’s group, HSBC had to develop the most ambitious concept possible. The Hexagon vision was to deliver the resources of a worldwide banking system right to the desktop of the manager. “At the time their systems were just dumb terminals,” not capable of two-way communication. “We envisioned intelligence on the desktop,” Strickland told us. While competitors systems were offering only cash management, Hexagon was to be a complete banking system. The global scope of the system was a major component of the idea.

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The Current System

Today Hexagon is a global electronic banking service that gives customers direct access to a range of banking services, worldwide 24 hours a day, 365 days a year from their offices through their own PC’s. Hexagon runs on all platforms and in all languages supported by MS Windows.

Hexagon’s defining features are its global geographic scope and functional generality. Hexagon is first an internal network, a delivery mechanism for communication between the bank and its customers worldwide. Communication with other banks is handled largely through SWIFT, a messaging network of about 4000 banks in over 110 countries, and the Automated Clearing House (ACH), which provides clearance for checks and electronic transactions within the US. Other links use telex, global clearing systems and cellular phones. About 500 banks, other than those in the HSBC group, currently use Hexagon to support their own cash management needs as well as to provide these services to their clients. For example, according to Kurtis Giehl, a JPMorgan associate, JPMorgan uses Hexagon to provide cash management services for its private banking customers, using its own “private label” interface. Some of the sites have online links with Hexagon, while others process transactions through an electronic banking center. HSBC is working toward having online links with all sites.

Hexagon Services

Continual expansion of Hexagon’s functionality is intended to ensure the flexibility of the system. The main service groups offered by Hexagon are cash management services, trade services, EDI services, Electronic Trade-Related Services (ETRS), securities services and information services.

Cash Management

Cash Management was Hexagon’s original feature. It has two components: information and funds transfers. Customers can access balance and activities information about all their accounts, in over 40 currencies, regardless of the country, for any banks within the HSBC group.

Trade services

Trade services involves financing the international sale of goods. With Hexagon the whole trade cycle is automated. In the Asia and Pacific region letters of credit (LC) are heavily used to finance trade. The first step, an LC application, is traditionally a laborious task. With Hexagon the client uses a software template to transmit the LC to HSBC electronically, where it is printed and processed.

EDI and ETRS services

HSBC was one of the first banks to make electronic banking EDI capable. EDI and ETRS services facilitate the exchange of electronic documents in standard international EDI formats between trading partners. Hexagon ETRS has the capability to interface with the company’s existing computer applications, enabling the electronic exchange of business documents.

Information Services

Through information services customers can access stock market and foreign exchange information. For example, dealers and analysts in trading centers around the world provide advice through the system on which currencies to buy.

Security Services

In the securities services module a customer can access his/her global investment portfolio and buy or sell securities online in more than 15 countries. The customer can also move idle funds to interest-bearing accounts, time deposits or overnight money markets.

Each of the HSBC member banks prices Hexagon services for its own customers. Currently most corporate customers are charged a flat monthly fee for all services. For retail customers Hexagon is priced differently, that is, cheaper. Later services may be “unbundled” to separate services and fees; there may be different prices for on-line and off-line use and a la carte pricing for service modules. Moving more and more of the functionality of Hexagon to the PC further pushes the cost of the services down.

Hexagon Performance Impacts

Customer Acceptance

Product Value


Organizational Effectiveness

Competitive Advantage

SAS®Fraud Management

HSBC has chosen  SAS®Fraud Management , the real-time fraud detection system and part of the SAS Fraud Framework, as its principal solution for fraud management across its global network. HSBC and SAS are working together to expand SAS Fraud Management’s capabilities, beyond protecting against credit and debit card fraud, to provide a comprehensive approach to combating fraud across multiple lines of business and channels. These enhanced capabilities will enable the bank to monitor activity at the customer, account and channel level. This will result in further protection against branch banking, bank transfer and on-line payment fraud, as well as internal fraud, and represents part of SAS’ continuing investment in helping financial institutions to reduce fraud.

About SAS

SAS is the leader in business analytics software and services, and the largest independent vendor in the business intelligence market. Through innovative solutions delivered within an integrated framework, SAS helps customers at more than 45,000 sites improve performance and deliver value by making better decisions faster. Since 1976 SAS has been giving customers around the world The Power to Know

Other Information Systems used by HSBC:

HSBC also uses other few Information systems to maintain the following Banking variables:

Foreign Exchange Rates

Small Business Credit Cards

World Currencies

Consumer Loans

Free Bill Pay

Bill Payment Systems

Small Business Loans

Online Merchant Accounts

Stock Quotes

Penny Stocks

Small Business Grants


The task of developing an information system based on the real world business process is very crucial as the acceptability of the information system depends on the user’s requirement and adaptability with the new system. The implementation of a new system is subject to organizational change. Whether the organization accepts this change depends on the successful implementation of the developed system and the organization prepared to take such change. The analysis shows a broad disscussion of the Marketing Information Systems of a Large Multinational Company in Banking Sector of Bangladesh, HSBC. Though MKIS has a few uses in Banking sectors, HSBC still uses most of it because of serving the Customer Better and attaining Better Customer Loyalty.


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