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Flexibility factor

Flexibility in adviser technology has never been more important. With the double whammy of RDR and the global economic turmoil, businesses are realising that they need much more from their chosen software provider than ever before. This refers in equal measure to requiring constantly evolving functionality from software platforms and also ensuring the flexibility of the software provider to work with the adviser without the necessit of tying in to multi-year contracts.

If a business is tied in to a long-term contract with a core software solution (that is, running front, middle and back office) and that software does not work out, the adviser could be left in a precarious position.

Suppliers also need to make sure that they make money from a business relationship but surely this would be achieved anyway if they were delivering real value into the advisory businesses? If the solution is good enough, there should be no need for long-term contracts.

Turning to the software itself, advisers need to be able to bend and manipulate the way the software works in a cost-effective way. It also means that advisers need to be able to get data out in real time and slice and dice it however they want without the need for an expensive development function.

Historically, both these areas could be managed via bespoke work carried out by service providers. However, this has
generally proved to be neither cost-effective nor timely. Contemporary software solutions and providers work in very different ways through the combination of three areas.

1: Build your own screens
Advisers should be able to add additional fields to core records (for example, clients, policies, fees) and be able to alter the way the screen is displayed. They should be able to provide different views for different users and also create validation rules which ensure that the data provided meets the minimum standards required as an organisation.

2: Build your own management information
Live access to data and the ability to manipulate it easily is essential for any adviser to run their business. This should include any custom-built fields and allow for easy aggregation of relevant information, which should also be made available in different formats to different users. These reports should be capable of sitting in Dashboards. Again, developer experience should not be required to build these reports.

3: Build your own workflow
Under TCF guidelines, it is incredibly important that adviserscan demonstrate their ability to deliver service to clients in a consistent and guaranteed manner. More than that, this is vital to keeping clients and ensuring that they get the very best advice. Advisers should be able
to build workflows that automatically deliver these services cost-effectively. This will require decision trees, document automation and systemmanaged business rules.

Advisers should therefore be looking for software platforms that allow them to manage the above at no additional cost, either ongoing or one-off. If so, they will be firmly in control of how their business adapts to the changing market over the next few years.

Nick Eatock, Chief executive officer, IntelliFlo

The click of time
Case study Concept Financial Planning

Concept Financial Planning has been using IntelliFlo’s Intelligent Office since Concept’s launch in 2007. The group adopted Intelligent Office as itsback-office system to support its RDR compliance initiatives. It aims to get full value from the system by putting in as much information as possible, enabling it to produce management information quickly and efficiently for commission, TCF and regulatory reporting purposes.

Concept also requests that product providers feed information directly into the system so it has up-to-date valuations and information on clients’ plans. This transforms a notoriously labour and time-intensive task into a couple of clicks of a button and gives access to the most up-to-date information for clients.

The facility to auto- match commission has also proved useful. Concept now auto-matches up to 83 per cent of commission and this figure is rising rapidly. This enables advisers to focus on their clients rather than time-consuming administration.

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