"Although a large percentage of institutions already have some Internet-based self service options, very few today offer advanced facilities such as structured dialog and virtual agents," said Richard Bell, a senior analyst with the Newton, Mass., firm. "As a result, investment in Web self-service is a significant differentiator and potential competitive advantage."
The 500 largest financial service firms will boost budgets for direct deployments of self service applications from $33.9 million in 2001 to $99.8 million in 2004, Meridien estimates.
Web self service includes a variety of offerings including frequently asked questions (FAQs), search engines, databases with natural language query options, structured dialogue systems and virtual agents.
Meridien was founded in 1997 and is privately held. It focuses on three areas: e-financial services, trading and risk management and customer relationship management.