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Open and integrated systems

Richard Napolitano, March 30, 2022

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Advisor360° Chief Executive Officer Rich Napolitano and Chief Technology Officer Jed Maczuba discuss what the industry really wants from technology providers (hint: integrated solutions). Learn what integration responsibilities you should expect from your tech provider.

Video transcript

Rich Napolitano: What does the industry really want? They want integrated solutions because they want to solve the whole problem, right? And the integrated solution needs to be deep and it needs to be open enough to allow people to pick pieces in that to create an offer that's most compelling. Right? And so choice is important. APIs are important to enable that. And so that's how we're wired. Which is, how do we really allow for choice and openness but still deliver an integrated solution?

Because the challenge that I think people suffer from, and this is moving on somewhat to the next topic, which is, and getting this balance point is right, which is, how much integration should us as a supplier do versus the customer? Because it's going to have to be done somewhere. It's going to be done somewhere.

And so we would say, “push that into the manufacturing process.” We don't just build components, we build cars and deliver them to people as an enterprise service. And so, the industry has a lot of component suppliers, but getting the right balance of an integrated and open system is the game. And so as we think about that value proposition, our value proposition is derived from the data, as we talked about, this UDF, the home office portal, the advisors' offices portal, the advisor portal, trading, reporting, documents, a client portal, pretty rich set of capabilities. Left to their own devices, people would pick these components in the industry and then assemble their own cars effectively in their driveway. And so some may choose to do that.

But more and more we think that the industry, the velocity, is so high that people actually need to buy cars as opposed to just build them. So how do you see that and then, how do you see our R&D investment as an enablement for that?

Jed Maczuba: Yeah, those are great topics and as I think about the statements that you're having, even back into my experience, you kind of went back into your experience a little bit on the enterprise level in financial services.

So we would look at our options essentially in three buckets. One is do we build it ourselves, do we buy it as is, or do we integrate? And obviously the building is a big investment and these are non-product engineering firms that are doing this, so that's a big investment, we can talk about that on the side.

But then it becomes build versus integrate, and on the integrate, I think the argument is exactly what you had said, we want to pull these pieces together but they would be responsible for the integration, right? And they would sometimes outsource that work, but it was still on their shoulders to actually pull all these different pieces together and trying to figure out how they best fit together. Essentially, we're providing that opportunity or we're providing the work to actually do the integration into one unified experience.

So that's something that as I think about it from a client standpoint, being able to take that burden, like having the best, like I'm integrating what I want, but being able to rely on the actual partner to do the integration, I think is a big value proposition.

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