1. Identify key pain points. "No one platform will have it all," says Alexander Camargo, an analyst with Boston-based Celent. "In addition to the included features, discuss each vendor's partners such as financial planning, CRM [customer relationship management] and integration."
2. Detail your needs. "For example, firms are very interested in CRM," explains Mary Hepler, president of Cornerstone Revolutions. "But, some want a basic diary system with to-do lists, while others want scalability and advanced workflows. Define your needs upfront to help ensure you get the best fit."
3. Go relationship-centric. "Instead of an account-centric dashboard, ensure you can also easily view John Smith's relationship to Jane Smith as well as their individual and joint accounts," advises Camargo. "And, you should be able to drill down to view data by account and sub-account."
4. Evaluate Flexibility. "Some popular systems are surprisingly inflexible," notes Hepler. She suggests asking whether you can create custom portfolios by sector or asset class. Also, check for automation of multiple billing scenario types, such as billing at different rates, excluding fees on specific securities and billing based on type of account.
5. Have a Little Faith. "We selected and adopted our solution without being IT experts," emphasizes Art Zaske, president and founder of AZA Capital Management. "If you'll be making a similar change, know that it can be done."
Anne Rawland Gabriel is a technology writer and marketing communications consultant based in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area. Among other projects, she's a regular contributor to UBM Tech's Bank Systems & Technology, Insurance & Technology and Wall Street & Technology ... View Full Bio