Adding new technology into your advisory firm can be a huge step, whether you’re installing or upgrading a portfolio management system, CRM, planning tool, rebalancing software, client portal or any other application.
Yet for all the bells and whistles, the applications themselves are not the guarantors of success. Rather, it’s the smooth, seamless flow of data through your organization—from system to system—that makes for an effective and well-oiled operation.
How does the data move from app to app? Is the flow integrated? To put it simply, does your workflow work?
As an example, visualize, for a moment, installing a feature-rich application to aid your staff and serve your clients.
Suppose it’s a portfolio management system that’s designed for maximum functionality. But…to feed data into the app, your staff needs to intervene manually. They need to “touch the data” and spend valuable time inputting the necessary information.
What’s the point of that? In a case like this, buying the expensive app is like buying new tires for a car in which the engine doesn’t work. Technology without integration is no solution at all.
Yet in today’s advisory world, this type of disconnect happens all the time.
Instead, imagine a data flow that was “hands off.” You and your staff arrive in the office every morning and refreshed data is just waiting for you—always accessible, easily managed, and moving seamlessly from system to system.
The right person gets the right data at the right time. And through it all, the data flow is application-independent—running like clockwork regardless of what tools you want to use.
Pie in the sky? Hardly. It is achievable—without back-breaking work or bank-breaking expenditures.
Five Steps for Implementing an Integrated Workflow Now
- Map your needs. What types of data do your various tools need? Why do they need it? How often? How much is too much and won’t be used? Don’t worry about the tech side here. We’re talking business drivers and figuring out what you need to make your business run better. By the way, this shouldn’t be a major undertaking—a half day of mapping should suffice.
- Perform a gap analysis. What is the gap between what you can do and what you need to do? This is a necessary step for gauging how much work is ahead of you and beginning to set expectations.
- Put together an action plan. What do you need to change in your operation and why do you need to change it? Here’s where you list the steps and assign responsibilities.
- Reach out to the vendors you need. Who can help you with data gathering, transformation and delivery? Is your vendor purely in the data world, and not tied into specific applications in order to maximize performance? And ultimately, can you count on them for the effective flow of data necessary for your firm and clients to make timely decisions?
- Pace yourself. Don’t do it all overnight. Approach any modifications to your data flow realistically—one system at a time. At this pace, it’s absolutely do-able.
Data has become a strategic asset to financial firms. The firms with the best data workflow will have the richest analytics, reporting and insights. This shift is why we are seeing increased demand from global financial institutions to use aggregation technology to streamline the flow of data within their organization—taking it from one internal system and delivering it to another—so all stakeholders have efficient access to the information, reports and insights they need.