New York (April 15, 2004) -- With utilization rates for financial planning software said to hover in the 30 percent range, Unger Software has adopted a new pricing model that charges its financial service customers for only those license fees incurred by actual users of its Methuselah package.
Even when a customer has contracted for 10 users, if only half of them use Methuselah for developing financial plans, the customer will be charged for only five licenses, explained Kenn Devane, senior vice president of sales and marketing. At the end of each quarter, when a customer downloads a Methuselah upgrade, Unger can upload their usage rate to determine which reps utilized which modules to draft financial plans.
Utilization pricing program participants must receive formal training, for which there is a charge that varies based on duration and where and how it is conducted. The client also agrees to periodic measurement of their reps' usage of Methuselah. The package's built-in Performance Module enables clients to track their utilization levels by region, office, rep, customer or product, allowing them to determine their return on investment in Methusaleh software. "We've always tried to push the measurement of utilization; now we're putting our money behind it as well," commented Devane.
He cited industry studies that indicate that up to 80 percent of financial service firms have deployed planning software tools to their reps, but only 30 percent use them. The reasons for this utilization gap include the perceived complexity of the software, the need for repetitive data entry, and a lack of integration with other software tools. Devane believes this gap can be narrowed, at least among Methusaleh users, with better training. "We think our tool is flexible and functional enough to drive utilization," he said.
Methuselah in available in three tiers: Bronze, for the field force; Gold, for fee-based planners; and Platinum, which includes expanded estate and trust capabilities. Respective license fees are $49, $89 and $129 per user a month. Multi-user discounts are available. There's also a Quik Planning model, priced at approximately $30 a month, to draw up preliminary financial plans at the start of a new client relationship.
-- Richard McCausland
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