Last December, Julie Nickoley, senior manager ofcommercial paper operations at DaimlerChrysler, agreed to work with PrescientMarkets to develop a Web-based subscription technology service to help companiesprice and manage their commercial paper issuance. The goal: a system to providereal-time flow of short-term prices and a way to track investors and competingissuers. At the time, the global automaker and long-time direct CP issuer sawthe possibilities as interesting, but not necessarily a priority.

All that changed two months later, whenDaimlerChrysler's CP was downgraded to A2/P2. Suddenly, big money-market funds,which once constituted 85% of DaimlerChrysler's market, were no longer buyers.Nickoley had an immediate need to figure out what other buyers existed out inthe market to take their place, but it took her a day or two to get investorinformation out of the mainframe-based system she used to manage CP issuance.

In October, the kind of capability Nickoley sought finally became available withthe introduction of Prescient Funding Desk. Now we know for all customerswhat time of day they trade, what size of trade they normally do, if they comein through cpmarket or on the phone, says Nickoley. The customer analyticswas the key.

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Susan Kelly

Susan Kelly is a business journalist who has written for Treasury & Risk, FierceCFO, Global Finance, Financial Week, Bridge News and The Bond Buyer.