The INVENT Elite team discusses the complex but solvable problem of balancing customization with integration, and the cloud native connective tissue that can make it all work.
Suzanne Siracuse, CEO of Suzanne Siracuse Consulting
Oleg Tishkevich, CEO of INVENT.us
Joel Brukenstein, Founder of T3
Gavin Spitzner, President of Wealth Consulting Partners
Tim Welsh, President of Nexus Strategy
Suzanne: So, in addition to tech adoption, tech integration seems to also be in the spotlight. Tim, it seems the pendulum swings every few years from having a unified all in one platform that doesn’t need integration to more of an API driven integration approach to allow for best in breed apps, right. Which is what I was talking about with Cambridge. What is your view of that? Like where are we going to come out on all of this?
Tim: You know, ideally, we could come up with that chassis that has all the components in it that all work together. But I think what’s driving that, I think that future, which will become more available to us, is the cloud native work that Invent is doing, being able to bring everything together, having the processing, the business rules and the data models all in one cloud environment will definitely facilitate a lot of this right now. But, you know, if you’ve met one adviser, you’ve met one adviser and they’re all different and everybody wants to have their own secret sauce and create their own capacity. So, if you sort of compare and contrast the employee model of a wire house or a broker dealer or big bank, they’re given one workstation. Those are the tools. And that’s it. That’s what they got. However, you give somebody some freedom, like, oh, you mean I can roll my own, I can pick whatever I want. I’m going to do that. And I’m going to create much more of a complicated ecosystem to Gavin’s point, and maybe they only use 20 percent of what the thing does anyway. So, I think the key word here is tradeoffs. I do see us moving towards that unified vision. APIs are fantastic, but they’re still not perfect and people are still doing a lot of manual workarounds.
So ultimately, to kind of bridge that gap from best inbreed to a unified stack, it’s not that far away. And there are some interesting players that are coming online where we’re going to couple right now that are innovating with this all unified stack, which is maybe not innovation because it’s been around for 50 years. But in the independent world, I think it is something new to consider because the sort of status quo is you pick your CRM, you pick your financial planning, you pick your trading and reporting, your rebalancing, and you cobble it all together because of some great work done by, like we have one initiative from TD Ameritrade and all the APIs that have been out there and all the vendors working closely together. But I do think if you look at the acquisitions and maybe you’ll get that question in a second or where everyone’s coming from, it’s all trying to create that one unified operating system on a desktop that I can just go into and be much more efficient. To Joel’s point, I have to be more efficient going forward into a much tougher environment. So, I love my other panellists’ points of view on this. I do think that is where we’re going to end up in the next several years. I do.
Suzanne: Great. Oleg what do you think about, obviously you’re going to come at it from a very specific point of view, considering that’s really one of the values that Invent brings around integration. But what are you seeing? Right. Like why did you start Invent? Because you must have thought that this is really kind of the direction that the world is going in.
Oleg: Yeah, I mean, the idea was, if you just kind of scan all the previous conferences that we’ve had and just kind of think back, if you pick two major themes that you’ve seen in the last few years, they were integration and client experience. You know, maybe some cybersecurity, but the top ones probably integration and the client experience. So those were the main focus points for me as a CEO, for my previous company. And I just wish, what if we could just snap a finger and sold those things. Turned out to be not as easy as I thought in the beginning, but nevertheless, I don’t believe that the solution is there. That would be a unified, single kind of model to rule it all. We’re not in the world of Apple or Android advisors, as Tim pointed out, a very different. Everybody wants to have something unique and different. And I don’t believe there’s ever going to be a single standard, if you will. We live in a world where each kind of outlet, each firm, each major enterprise creates their own ecosystem. So, in order to solve this, you need to adapt. You need to have a solution that adapts to each individual ecosystem and still somehow connects to the hundreds of vendors. And more and more now they’re entering the space to be able to provide value to those advisers and the Home Office that are using those ecosystems. It’s a pretty complex problem, but is a solvable one. And that’s kind of what we’re doing with Invent is really creating that connecting tissue, if you will, that would connect these different worlds in a more efficient manner. So, you could have a unique value proposition, a unique ecosystem as an enterprise at the same time as an independent advisor. You know our ideal situation is to provide those tools to individual advisors. I mean, we’re doing this because we want to help smaller firms. We want to help more advisors join the business and hopefully help more clients. So, the easier we can make it, and I believe the path is through technology to be able to make it easier for advisors to do this. If we can optimize this, I believe we can grow the business overall. We’re going to help more clients and provide some much better value overall to everybody in America. So, I know big ideas, big aspirations, but, you know, step by step, I believe we can get there. You know, it’s already, I think, making some good progress. And we’re excited to be working with everybody in the space and both on the client side and the enterprise side as well as the vendors. So, I think it just takes a little bit of collaboration and dedication and we can make this happen.
Gavin: To build on this, it helps not just the Advisory firms, it helps the vendor community and the ecosystem, because they have been pushed by their clients to bring more and more on. So, you have the CRMs, Custodians and the All In One platform providers, they have been pushed to keep bolting and bolting on and trying to create a complete end to end for firms that want them for everything. This takes some of that burden off. You do not have to be everything. Focus on what you do well, and you can make money at and there are other ways to integrate what you do with what other firms do.
Suzanne: I think that’s a great point Gavin. I am seeing it with a couple of clients right now, where they are working together with synergistic technology solution providers in order to offer the complete solution to an enterprise firm, So I think a lot of tech companies are realizing they are not the be all and end all, and in order to be that solution provider you have to join forces with other types of solutions to get that complete solution so to speak.