Investment advisors who already use Alexa to get answers to general questions, or query their mobile phone for information, now have the ability to focus those questions specifically on their business with new technology from Envestnet | Yodlee, the data aggregation and data analytics platform for digital financial services.
“Envestnet Intelligence wants to make analytics easier,” Frank Coates, executive managing director of Envestnet | Yodlee, told ThinkAdvisor. “In the past, we’ve built for power users, but we wanted to make it easy for non-analytic and non-power users. The idea behind it was to allow consumers to get answers to any question on any device and make it easy.”
Using artificial intelligence and machine learning, natural language processing and an advanced data analytics engine, the omnichannel processing behind the system allows users to access information about their business from their desktop, mobile phone and Amazon Alexa-enabled devices.
“We wanted people to be able to personalize the questions, and get the information quickly,” Coates explains. He gives the example that an advisor can set up a playlist of, for example, five important questions that they want information on every day. They can ask, using voice with their Alexa, for example, “How many new customers have we gotten in the past month?” or “Which five clients need rebalancing?” or “Which clients do I need to call today?” A PDF of the information can be produced as well.
The system will go through Amazon to Envestnet to download the information, and return with a response within seconds, Coates said during a demonstration of the product. Using AI, the system will continue to fine-tune information as the advisor asks questions and uses the product.
Coates says the beauty of this system is advisors customize it naturally through their usage. They don’t have to go in and make tweaks, which, typically, non-power users never do, he adds. Further, every group that uses it can get information they want, whether it’s sales or compliance or marketing. The system adapts to the user.
The new technology is available now to all Envestnet customers. Coates says that non-customers also can implement it as long as Envestnet | Yodlee can access the user’s third-party information that holds client data.
Coates adds that the technology isn’t limited to data. For example, he says an advisor who has Alexa hooked up to his or her car can access info on a client even as they are driving to an appointment. The system can fill them in on a customer’s assets, rebalancing history and other family information, such as number of kids, ages, etc.
Of course this brings to mind security issues. Whereas asking Alexa general questions like the population of Detroit or the elevation of Mount Everest is benign, having people’s financial information is stickier.
Coates says they had to work with broker-dealers on cybersecurity issues, as well as their own internal security. Further, they recommend that specific data, like a client’s Social Security number or account balance, isn’t requested.
Banks are already using Alexa and Siri, Coates adds, “so we aren’t pushing the financial institutions more than they already have with their customers.”