Integration status report: Progress, but still room for improvement

When it comes to technology tools for advisors, integration is as important as innovation. While software providers and broker/dealers have made substantial strides in developing open-architecture tech tools that work seamlessly with one another, there remains room for improvement. "I think open architecture is even more critical today than it was two or three years ago," says advisor H. Brian Adcock of Adcock Financial Group in Tampa, Fla. "Still, being able to integrate technology is not an easy thing."

Improving integration is top priority for tech companies serving the advisor space, says Brian Davis of software provider Scottrade Advisor Services. "There are a few 'all-in-one' options and most technology providers are working closely together to provide best-of-breed integrated solutions."

In a crowded marketplace, finding the right providers and solutions can be a challenge, however. YourSilverBullet.com, a Web site created by a consortium of software providers to facilitate integration of their products, is "a great place to start," suggests advisor and tech expert David Drucker, CFP. "You can gather information on the types of products you want and see whose products work with whose."

Besides visiting that site, Davis urges advisors to "ask their existing technology partners for a list of technology providers they integrate with."

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