09 May 2019

Off to a good start: how implementation sets the tone for a true technology partnership

By Karen Sears

As Black Diamond clients are well aware, the total Black Diamond offering is more than a cloud-based technology solution. There’s a huge service component as well, with a dedicated team that functions as a virtual extension of the client’s back office. The service aspect becomes apparent on day one, when implementation begins. In many ways, the client’s experience with the implementation team sets the tone and the expectations for the whole relationship going forward – so getting it right is critical.

With Black Diamond, professional implementation support is not an add-on. It is always included in the agreement. In 2018 alone, the Black Diamond team implemented 218 new clients on the platform. And unlike some competitors who may not begin implementation for 30, 60 or even 120 days, the Black Diamond team goes to work as soon as the contract is signed. An implementation specialist schedules a welcome call and requests authorization to access the firm’s data. Once authorization is obtained, a kickoff call takes place and the entire team digs deep to fully understand the firm’s unique business requirements that dictate system configuration.

As a cloud-based platform, Black Diamond doesn’t require onsite installation. However, the implementation process does require the firm to designate point people on staff who can answer questions, make decisions and provide direction. It is a genuine team effort with a common goal: configuring the Black Diamond Wealth platform to our client’s unique specifications.

Data conversion and migration from the legacy system is usually the biggest challenge and the key determinant of implementation timing. This is your firm’s data and Black Diamond handles it with the utmost care. That’s why we have a dedicated data conversion team who is responsible for analyzing your historical performance, flagging areas of potential concern, and walking alongside you to determine the best course of action to give your firm a full picture of client performance. There are several options to import historical data, which can even include transaction-level processing.

During the process, many firms will send people to our Jacksonville office for an intensive training workshop. Throughout implementation, new firms can access an online training portal with videos and documentation as well as touch base with their lead consultant on a weekly call.  

Given the importance of a successful launch, client feedback is a critical part of the process – and fortunately, it is extremely positive. “After implementation, we survey every client,” says Jen Becher, Director of Implementation and Reporting for Black Diamond. “The last question we ask is how likely, on a scale of 1 to 10, would the client be to recommend us to another firm.” That is the question that yields the net promoter score, or NPS, which is calculated by subtracting the “not very likely” from the “very likely” responses. “Our NPS score is consistently at the very high end, nearly twice what is considered ‘good’ within the industry,” Jen says.

And what do clients like most about the process? Jen responds to that question confidently: “The overwhelming feedback from our surveys address the quality of the implementation consultants – how helpful they are, their knowledge and expertise, their ability to think out of the box for solutions, and how they go above and beyond to deliver a good experience.”

That kind of response is instructive for wealth management technology providers: delivering innovative technology is imperative, but the real differentiators are the people and the service behind it.

To hear from a number of firms who are leveraging all that Black Diamond has to offer visit blackdiamond.advent.com/clients.