The bane of advisory firms and their broker-dealer and custodian partners has a new foe: a robotic tool from Laserfiche that can automate the inefficient time- and manual labor-intensive tasks faced by advisors and their partners.
At Laserfiche’s annual Empower conference early next month, 3,200 users of its enterprise content management (ECM) software will learn about the firm’s new robotic process automation (RPA) tool.
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Linda Ding, director of strategic marketing for Laserfiche, echoing the company’s tagline of “accelerating how business gets done by creating software people love to use,” says the RPA tool will address the “biggest pain point” for advisory firms, BDs and custodians: integration of disparate applications and systems.
Ding says Laserfiche is taking a “no-code approach” to integration, meaning users needn’t do any software coding themselves to move toward integration but instead can employ a bot that users can train to move data from one app to another.
While an API is usually required to move data from one application to another, Ding points out that many legacy systems used by financial services firms don’t even have an API.
Instead, the RPA approach captures visually the actions of the user—noting which fields the user copies data from in one application and then ‘remembering’ where that data in the target application is pasted to. Think of the process as similar to an old-fashioned keystroke recording program where the keystrokes can be captured then used to create a macro script, except with an RPA you’re using the visual currency of the web that is familiar to all users.
In which instances does RPA provide the best return on an advisor’s investment? While it would be valuable in any high-volume, repeatable process, Ding suggests it would be particularly valuable after the merger of two wealth management firms. RPA would be useful not only in cases where the two firms have different CRM systems, for example, but even where the firms use the same client management system.