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08 April 2020

Overcoming Fear of Change: The Black Diamond Conversion Process

By Brian Justice

During these unprecedented economic times upgrading your financial technology stack might be inconceivable. The process of data conversion, system setup, and adoption of a new platform can be daunting. Yet, now more than ever advisors are leaning on financial technology as a necessary driver of client and business success. As firms become hyperaware of what is needed to keep business running, it is actually an opportune time to evaluate your technology. Furthermore, if you choose the right technology partner implementation should be a seamless process.

Case in point, this year the Black Diamond® Wealth Platform’s Implementation team will convert approximately 250 new clients to the platform. Some of those firms are upgrading from their own homegrown, spreadsheet-based accounting systems. Others are switching from third-party platforms that no longer suit them, and a few are migrating from within the SS&C family. What they share in common is the belief that the benefits of the Black Diamond Wealth Platform are worth going through a substantial system conversion – that having Black Diamond as their core operational platform will help move their business forward. The team continually reinforces the conviction that these firms made the right choice, starting with making the transition as seamless and pain-free as possible.

From the time Black Diamond was launched, we realized implementation could make or break the relationship. Implementation is the client’s first exposure to the Black Diamond service philosophy in action – and anything less than complete client satisfaction is not an option. Our proven methodology is all about setting clients up for success. Once they are up and running, all clients receive a satisfaction survey and they consistently tell us they were pleased with the implementation process.

Still, some of the prospects I talk to put off their final decision for fear that change will be difficult and disruptive. That’s understandable. In the past, we used to hear that changing a firm’s core portfolio management system was like a heart transplant. It’s safe to say, “That was then, this is now.” Movement to the cloud and the continual improvement of the user experience have eliminated many of the technical hurdles to change. But, some psychological barriers persist. Is now a good time? What if important data is lost? How long will we be down? Are people ready to change their work habits? Will clients feel any impact?

Black Diamond’s implementation methodology is designed to anticipate and mitigate all of these issues and a host of others. Over many years and 1,500-plus implementations, the team developed and refined a phased approach to rollout, including a proven six-step data conversion process. A dedicated Implementation manager leads the project from the initial review, needs assessment and data evaluation, through custom configuration, data conversion, training and pre-rollout testing, to the full firm rollout. And, once a new client goes live, they experience a warm transition to the dedicated Client Advocate service model for ongoing support and troubleshooting.

The main point is this: there is no reason for a firm to delay or deny itself the benefits of the Black Diamond platform for fear of change. Even in today’s environment, the market remains competitive and your sights should be set on the long-term. Your clients’ expectations with a modern digital experience aren’t slowing down. Moreover, as a cloud-based platform, Black Diamond is continually adding enhancements and incorporating new technologies, ensuring that clients stay current. That means the conversion to Black Diamond is quite likely the last one your firm will ever need.