The AdvisorEngine team places a high importance on collaborative software development.
So it was rewarding when leading design technology firm InVision recognized our leadership in this area.
Over 7 million users use InVision’s products, including 100% market share among Fortune 100 companies such as Alphabet (Google), Lyft, 3M and Starbucks.
“When we looked across the industry at teams that were breaking down cross-functional silos, AdvisorEngine stood out immediately as an organization that set the bar high for team collaboration and client-centric innovation,” said Carolina Paula, Design Director at InVision.
The InVision team recently hosted Craig Ramsey (AdvisorEngine COO) and Raf Czapski (AdvisorEngine senior manager of product design) to kick off a new webinar series highlighting how companies are using InVision’s Freehand product to enable innovative product development.
During the session, the group focused on AdvisorEngine’s transformation of Junxure CRM – a CRM utilized by investment advisors for over 20 years – into a modernized product, AdvisorEngine CRM®.
Ramsey recounted the underlying beliefs behind the transformation. “First: incremental change would not be enough. Second: engaging our clients in co-creation would be critical. Third: capturing varied and diverse internal perspectives would make the product better.”
AdvisorEngine embraces design thinking principles in its product development, Czapski explained. “Originally, we used an in-person ‘war room’ to facilitate ceremonies and rituals to foster in-person collaboration and ideation,” he said.
But the pandemic forced everyone to switch to remote work, and the product team no longer had its war room to gather and actively engage in a collaboration space, Czapski said. Digital whiteboarding tool InVision Freehand was able to take that same process and make it virtual and scalable with its sharing and posting capabilities in a digital environment, he said.
“Going from the physical space to a new way of working helped us stand these things up quickly,” Czapski said. “This tool allowed us to combine all our documentation to have a single source of truth. We could preserve the way we had been working.”
Among the features Czapski said the team used was the ability to use Freehand’s templates for affinity mapping and user research analysis, which enabled the team to become focused on project areas faster. The team also leveraged Freehand’s integration with Jira – a project management tool – to help create greater collaboration across different roles.
“Fewer meetings, less confusion, much better!” Czapski said, adding that you can even embed items into a document – in his team’s case, a Spotify playlist everyone could listen to during its working sessions. “It's a great way to bring in the other part that is you,” he said.
But its greatest value was its ability to be used in a cross-functional capacity, he said. “People saw that you didn't need to change the way they work because the tool provides an open framework.”
“We were able to include roles that historically weren't included in product development,” Czapski added. “You can see the benefit; we removed the awkwardness in using a new tool or being in a new workflow. Through that, colleagues could bring their ideas while balancing against what was feasible and our product goals.”
Patrick Arnold, AdvisorEngine’s head of product, explained the power of design thinking is cross-collaboration.
“You’re starting with client conversations to understand what goes on in their office while working with product managers, product designers and business analysts simultaneously to build prototypes.
“You’re not getting business requirements, throwing them over the fence to design to give you a mockup, then throwing it over the fence to tech to build it. We collaborate in teams to build a client experience to solve problems.”
The result is a product that is widely liked by clients and performs better overall, Ramsey said.
“First, we achieved major performance gains in our new CRM, including 10x faster loading times. Second, we delivered usability improvements, backed up by our Net Promoter Score (NPS) increasing by 32 points. Third, we increased prospect interest significantly - the revenue in our CRM sales funnel is 3.9x larger than only six months ago.” Ramsey said.
Earlier this year, industry consulting firm F2 Strategies published a research paper indicating that wealth management firms’ satisfaction with CRMs had dropped 20 points since 2020.
“When you consider the positive NPS momentum for AdvisorEngine CRM against the backdrop of our industry, it’s especially positive.” Ramsey added.
The greatest validation has been the feedback from clients, Czapski added.
“Many of our clients let us know how they were blown away by the new AdvisorEngine CRM,” he said. “Our collaborative software development process is having a real impact on the lives of financial advisors and their clients.”