Hint: Enterprise-class development, security, services, and compliance are critical
As a leader of several enterprise technology companies, one of the things I asked when I first joined Advisor360° was: what does it mean to be an enterprise-class software company in financial services?
It is critical when building an enterprise-class software company that you focus on building a great product and executing the service-oriented delivery capabilities while simultaneously maintaining compliance with industry regulations. This will help ensure that your company is delivering on the commitments made to your clients. Our clients see us as trusted partners to their business. You cannot build an enterprise-class software company without:
Enterprise-class software development: We deploy a development model and process that allows us to take new ideas and incorporate them into our software as efficiently as possible. We also built our own automation and system testing, which is critical to consistently executing updates.
Enterprise-class information security: We deliver a secure and private environment designed to earn the trust of our clients and help them build their businesses with confidence.
Enterprise-class service delivery: We provide dedicated development, support, operations, and customer success services to each client, marked by empathy and integrity and aligned to their success.
Enterprise-class compliance with regulations: We combine deep wealth management domain expertise and enterprise software expertise, and deliver frequent, innovative solutions configured for our clients’ businesses—all while keeping their data secure and private.
Enterprise-class software development
When you look at enterprise-class software, we have a very rigorous software development life cycle (SDLC) and use the latest tools like Aha!, Confluence, and Jira. Generally, the program and applications will be built to be both for the cloud and on-premises because financial services clients are both on-premises and online, desktop and mobile enabled. You also need to have your team trained in your development process so that you can execute critical updates with confidence. Our team is looking at two to five years out when they are building and testing the product, so clients know they are getting innovation as part of the price of services.
Enterprise-class information security
As we deploy these software assets and data resources, they need to be done in a way that meets high service-level agreements (SLAs) such that these large enterprises can deliver on their business commitments to their clients. One part of these commitments is availability, the other part is security. When you have huge amounts—and we have petabytes of data—you need to ensure that that data is protected.
Security by design: Implement cybersecurity best practices into the infrastructure of your product from the initial design.
Risk-aware culture: Ensure your employees have the best possible awareness of cybersecurity threats.
Proactive defense and monitoring: Deploy security analytics and automation technologies to establish a baseline normal behavior so that you can quickly identify and respond to suspicious behavior.
Data center security: Host your infrastructure in state-of-the-art data centers geographically spread across the country to ensure the platform is available whenever you need it.
Enterprise-class service delivery
It is not enough to build a great product; it needs to be delivered in a way that your customers can meet the needs of their clients. Clients bet their businesses on our technology, so making sure our software is available and approaching the “four-nines” of availability (or 99.99% of software uptime) is a priority. Service and support should be extraordinary, responsive, and tech-assisted so that you can proactively respond and assure success.
Tech-assisted: Leverage technology to automate service workflows from incident origination through resolution. This creates transparency and trust through communication.
SLA-backed responses: Ensure constant contact with clients and partners via email, text, and phone 24x7x365 to assist with business-critical activities.
Retrospective improvement: Conduct regular reviews to assess critical incidents that may impact where and how to improve products, people, and processes to eliminate future incidents.
Enterprise-class compliance with regulations
There are regulations from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), especially in financial services companies, regarding who can see what data. In addition to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and other data privacy initiatives, there are regulatory requirements on who in the enterprise has access to what data. For example, one advisor cannot see other advisors’ information, which is important to maintain the integrity of the enterprise. But it is not enough to meet these requirements, you want to exceed them and preemptively prepare for changes.
The goal is to deliver your product at the highest level
So, what does it take to be an enterprise-class software company in the financial services industry? In addition to building a culture that focuses on the customer and is client-obsessed, it requires a set of both product-oriented and service-oriented components wrapped in business and legal processes that all come together to ensure the highest SLAs and deliver on our overall commitment to our broker-dealer clients.
Richard Napolitano is Advisor360°’s Chief Executive Officer, ensuring every team in the company is focused on a simple strategic vision: create outstanding digital wealth management products for our clients’ success.
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