13 December 2018

Planning for technology stack success

By Bob Conchiglia, Vice President, Advisory Sales

For today’s financial advisors, meeting the rising expectations of digitally savvy investors is a top priority. Clients want to interact with streamlined, user-friendly tools they can access 24/7. However, simply investing in more technology won’t ensure future business needs are met and that your firm is ahead of digital trends. Instead, advisors need to plan carefully for technology stack success and seek a partner that will help deepen client relationships and offer an experience that keeps clients coming back.

Are you confident with your technology partners? To be certain, ask these key questions when considering a new technology or when there are signs that a current partner is no longer the right fit:

  1. What does your roadmap look like?
    No matter what kind of technology you select, it should have a purpose that aligns with your business vision — now and down the line. Make sure to ask questions not only about the current state of the solution, but its future roadmap. Do both match your goals?
     
  2. What other technology products do you integrate with?
    Integration is essential in today’s technology ecosystem, to provide users with information continuity across platforms and to streamline processes. You should clarify whether your technology partner has an open architecture, and whether its integrations align with your current and planned technology ecosystem.
     
  3. Can you provide a basic overview of your corporate structure/organization?
    The last thing you want is to find that you can’t get help from your technology partner when you need it. Make sure you understand their organizational structure: Who can you call when you have a question? Will you be in touch with a call center, or do you have a dedicated representative? How many layers of management are there? What is the hierarchy, and how does that relate to how decisions are made?
     
  4. What is your release cycle, and how do you educate clients to adopt new releases?
    No firm wants to conduct business with a technology provider that doesn’t evolve and looks the same 10 years from now, so ask your potential partner about their release cycle — it should be continuous. However, you also need to stay on top of these constant new releases, so make sure you understand how to become aware of upgrades and are educated on new innovations. Are there webinars? Roadshows? Client conferences?
     
  5. How many employees have you hired lately? And how many clients have you gained?
    The success of your technology provider directly correlates with the results of your investment in them as a partner. Is this a company that is growing, with new hires in key areas such as engineering, product development and marketing? Or are they shrinking, even having to let employees go? Have they regularly gained new, satisfied clients, or is there a trend of client termination over the past year?
     
  6. Will my data be secure? What preventive measures have you put in place?
    Data is key to understanding your clients and providing the digital experiences they expect. But in an age of high-profile breaches with serious legal implications and damage to brand reputations, making sure that data is secure is a must. Any potential technology partner should be readily open to sharing all information about what security safeguards they have in place.
     
  7. Do you survey your clients using Net Promoter Scores?
    Before you partner with a technology provider, it’s important to know if they regularly survey their current clients to make sure they are happy and satisfied. The best way to do that is with a scientific approach, using a widely-adopted industry benchmark, such as the Net Promoter Score. This is calculated based on the likelihood that survey participants would recommend the company/product/service. What are the provider’s scores? Has the company noticed any themes in the feedback provided by survey participants?

How did your technology partner stack up?

For comparison purposes, one of SS&C’s leading advisory technology solutions, the Black Diamond Wealth Platform, delivers wealth management capabilities to more than 1,300 firms. The holistic, cloud-based platform allows advisors to manage their clients’ complete wealth picture through portfolio management, reporting, trading rebalancing, risk management and planning solutions, which are combined with fully outsourced daily reconciliation and data management services. Black Diamond includes extensive native integrations for specific partners across financial planning, risk metrics and CRM, as well as an open API architecture. All of this is backed by a dedicated, single point of contact for ongoing support and assistance for a high-touch service experience. Plus, a regular cadence of new features and system enhancements ensure advisors stay up-to-date in the ever-changing investment and client experience landscape. Contact us today to get detailed specifics on how Black Diamond holds up to each question. We are confident you will like what you hear.