Highams, an IT services supplier, has signed an alliance partnership with Siebel Systems to provide new software which will enable staff to improve customer interaction.

Siebel is a specialist in the area of customer relationship management (CRM) software design.

Clive Williams, general manager of group business development at Highams, said the move followed research into the IT needs of the insurance and financial services sectors.

"We identified an awareness of the need for CRM solutions within these markets. Aggressive new entrants and the advent of standardised products has meant that insurance companies are being forced to review how they interact with their customers."

Upwards of 80% of insurers currently do not have an CRM strategy in place but nearly one in six are planning to increase their use of CRM systems.