In just about every software category, you find an “all-in-one” solution: a combined financial planning and investment management platform, or a CRM that does opportunity management. You get the idea.
Increasingly, the Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) industry has come to recognize there is a hard limit to what “all-in-one” software applications can offer. Think about your own practice – why do advisory firms have employees who specialize in estate planning and a different team member who leads up investment research? Just as today’s business climate requires specialization to keep pace with changes in all aspects of financial planning and investment management, so it is with technology, but multiplied by 10 times.
Bottom line, it’s difficult for a single software platform to perform well in all areas in addition to its core competency. That’s why you see advisors complaining that the portal isn’t getting enough attention in their CRM or the investment software platform that also does financial planning isn’t keeping pace with new regulatory requirements.
Even CRMs are splintering out into lead management versus opportunity management versus campaign management software—and these are just three unique platforms that at one time represented “prospecting” features alone within the CRM.
While past performance is no indicator of future performance, based on the direction of both the RIA and technology industries, advisors are better served choosing software that is best-in-class for its core usage, along with being a good profile match with the firm, and then use provider-supplied integration points that connect their robust software platforms together.
As an example, this means your CRM talking to document management software, and document management talking to portal software.
While it’s absolutely important to modernize, don’t fall into the trap of oversimplifying by purchasing an all-in-one application. Running a financial planning and investment advisory firm is a complex endeavor. You want to ensure your technology partners are all-in with you instead of constantly hearing than an ancillary feature “is on our roadmap to implement.” Having software that delivers at its core functionality at a high level and continually evolves is an important to keep pace with your changing needs.
Just like financial advisory firms, the software industry is becoming more niche and specialized, so it’s now more possible than ever to find the software that best suits your needs. Just don’t stop at one-size-fits all. Instead, it’s time to get exactly a good fit.