Building the Optimal Tech Stack

Building the Optimal Tech Stack

The single most important concept underpinning an advisor’s tech-stack today is interconnectedness. We know this both from a data science standpoint and from a constant stream of anecdotal reporting. Without this easily spoken and hard to create capacity, the advisor and their firm can have a stable of state-of-the-art components from the best technology vendors and fin-tech companies on the market, and none of it will matter to them or their clients if it does not communicate within their tech stack.

An oft cited refrain is inevitably a variant of the following: my client entered some data in a PDF that my assistant fed into our financial planning software but, as that does not feed to our CRM, the data had to be entered again there, and then when the client called with updated data it did not feed back into my planning software which meant that our performance reporting software was reporting stale data into the client’s presentation…

What is the corollary of this, then? It is a world that most advisors dream of but few ever behold- namely, an integrated tech stack. What does that mean in plain English? It means that the advisor, their clients, and their firms can focus on their respective client value propositions–be they asset management, financial planning, or both. It means that they will not have to spend time massaging data, trying to manipulate reporting, on hold with three different support desks, printing and reprinting reams of paper, trying to rationalize billing, etc.

A solution to the above was the salient motivating factor behind the partnership of Advent/Black Diamond and Advizr–the harnessing of Black Diamond’s cutting-edge performance reporting with Advizr’s advanced financial planning engine into a single, functional, integrated, seamless piece of technology. Layered atop this structure is a partnership that simplifies the entire process: one contact, one implementation, one bill, one support team, and critically, one set of integrated data.

What are the differences between and benefits of a partnership over a simple integration? All of the differences in the world, is the answer, beginning with the most critical one–interconnectedness:

  • Black Diamond client portfolios and new accounts synced daily to Advizr, with portfolio information and market values updated daily
  • Classification sync (each holding, extra customizations, unique teams, and investment strategies and styles)
  • Black Diamond advisor-to-client entitlements automatically synced with Advizr (same user/client views on either side)
  • Single-Sign-On technology for one-credential access*
  • Bi-directional data flows between the two platforms for efficient/easy/one-time inputs and elimination of data redundancy*
  • Full access to and engagement in Advizr’s entire functionality suite directly within the Black Diamond client portal*

In simple terms, this means that an advisor can truly focus on what is most important to an advisor and his/her practice–to engage with the client in the most efficacious manner possible, whatever that might mean for the advisory practice.

As a particularly relevant and timely example of this concept, we can reference the firm of One Retirement, run by Ron Sanders, who is one of the original clients to join the Black Diamond platform when it debuted on the market a decade ago. Central to his decision then were the twin concepts of the best possible experience for his client base and the most efficient method of advisory planning and delivery possible. In his recent switch to Advizr, he notes that “these two philosophies continue to be our biggest initiatives, and the Black Diamond / Advizr partnership, and the methodology employed by Advizr in its software, are yet again extensions of that very same philosophy”.

The partnership continues to be built out to this very day, taking live feedback along the way from both companies existing and prospective users, and in doing so, continuing to insure that the ultimate aim of the integration stays top of mind for all involved–namely–to be the best combination of platforms in the vanguard of the financial technology space.

*deploying Q3 2017

— Noah Herman