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On the Workbench at Sungard: Offering a Helping Hand

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Salt Lake City-based SunGard puts a big emphasis on providing help for users of its platform. However, the financial services software firm’s edge, it believes, is on the automation side, and its help tool is one that clients such as Raymond James, SunGard says, have applauded.

Getting answers on technology questions is a problem area familiar to anyone who has ever used a desktop. All too often a call to tech support can add another layer of frustration to an already stressed situation, especially if there’s a long wait for assistance.

Automated answers built into a platform are extremely crucial, because any kind of delay is detrimental to an advisor who might have a client waiting to open an account, or who needs to make a trade.

“Raymond James said help was by and large one of the most important things to them, and that most questions were answered in our help [module],” says Nate Call, product manager for SunGard’s Planning Station.

Most of the software firm’s newest upgrades lie in the financial planning and portfolio management areas of its program, like its Cash Flow Consultant product released in September. The program lets advisors help clients create a financial plan for the best time in their life to sell a business, for example, based on cash flow, rather than creating a financial plan around a specific timed event such as a child starting college. But its basic platform is already considered a champ to many independent broker/dealer firms, including Cambridge.

One of its strengths, Call emphasizes, is SunGard’s flexibility, which makes the platform easy to integrate with a broker/dealer regardless of it size. The software firm will host the platform on its server, though for larger-end deployments a broker/dealer can host it on its own. Planning Station can also tap into a broker/dealer’s back office–critical for any company that wants to offer its advisors the most streamlined workstation possible.