Friday, August 20, 2010

Our Integration Partners

Advent Axys   Portfolio Center   Amazon S3   Fidelity Institutional   DAZL   DST   Schwab NFS             eMoney Advisor   Marketing Library (Peter Montoya)    
Our future integrations include Investigo, FinanceLogix, EnvestNet, Morningstar, EISI, and Spectrum Input

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Financial Integration

A recent Moss Adams study concluded that RIAs who use “integrated technologies” had 36% higher

revenue per professional and 30% higher profits per owner.

So how can integration help achieve these higher revenues and profits? Examples include:

  • Saved time: Tasks that used to take hours now happen in seconds
  • Reduced risk: Accurate data means less risk
  • Increased profits: You now have more time to spend recruiting new clients and services
  • Increased flexibility: Single sign‐on – removes the need for separate usernames and passwords,
and single user interface ‐ eliminates the need to learn and remember different features &

functions But what does “integrated technologies” mean? Although there is no formal definition, here are four

examples to illustrate capabilities available today:


Hyperlinks allow an advisor to open                                    

another web site at a specific page. In              
this example, the advisor clicks on a
Financial Holding’s ticker, which

launches a new browser page, opening                

Google Finance containing that ticker’s


This allows quick access to key data,

saving the advisor the time and

frustration of searching for specific

information. Hyperlinks are typically limited to passing small amounts of data

between services, and the lack of true data blending limits the ability to

search across the two services concurrently.


Single sign‐on allows the advisor to
open another, secure, application.

In this example, the user wants to

open a trading platform. They click

on a link next to an investor’s

account details. Secure log‐in details

are passed to the trading application

as well as relevant account &

investor information. The trading platform opens at the client’s account, allowing immediate trading

and account maintenance.


Data passing pulls and pushes data between separate

applications. In this example, a Portfolio Accounting systems

account balances are integrated into the

advisor’s CRM data. The advisor can see

up to date account balances alongside

more traditional CRM data such as notes,

events and attached documentation. This proves a single

dashboard with all key investor data integrated into one screen for easy and error free access. Integrated screening and filtering is also



In‐depth web service integration allows

one application to run another without                   

leaving the first. In this example AppCrown

launches Orion Advisor and retrieves

detailed financial reports. The reports

appear directly inside AppCrown without

changing applications.
Joel Bruckenstein recently evaluated AppCrown's integration in April 09's issue of Financial Planning magazine:

  • AppCrown is a really impressive integrated suite of products.
  • the initial version is impressive
  • .. navigation of AppCrown is intuitive
  • The benefits of integration are unmistakable ..
  • AppCrown is built on top of, a leader in CRM and “cloud computing”
In conclusion:

True integration has enormous benefits to advisors:

  • Time and money saved
  • Errors reduced
  • More time means clients are better served

Advisors can help themselves:

  • Demand deeper integration
  • Support the industry’s innovators
If your business comprises separate applications, data duplication, rekeying, error rates, wasted time,

and too little time with your clients:

  • It is time to upgrade
  • Embrace true integration

AppCrown is an operational system that delivers an innovative, single‐application turnkey solution to

financial advisors. AppCrow is built on the platform, benefiting from’s trusted

global service infrastructure, which currently supports 1.1 million users across 51,000 organizations

around the world. The open architecture platform can integrate virtually any existing technology,

including CRM; client, compliance and back office management, as well as data aggregation. The firm

recently announced that it has surpassed the $2 billion mark in assets under integration on its platform.

The firm serves broker/dealers, Registered Investment Advisors, money managers and custodians.

Please click here to review the list of our integration partners:

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Save an Hour a Day

It comes to no surprise that technology is a commodity. We buy and sell products, and, out of necessity, we upgrade needlessly, to conform to our competitive reality. In the end, business comprises of two categories; innovation and marketing. For everything else, it is a cost. Yet it is humbling to know, one man's revenue is another man's cost.

For this insight, I've always asked "why not make costs a key contributor to generating more revenues?" Taking this approach, at the end of the day, if we can align our time to activities (costs) that does much to move the needle for everyone's top-line (both for ourselves and for our clients), then the concepts of "economies of scale" comes to fruition. Though not entirely a "Build it, and it will come" scenario, it does give life to the idea of "Do it, and it will come".

As an integration software provider, I felt the AppCrown service was lacking the proper understanding of our clients, and have not succeeded in achieving these economies of scale I had envisioned. Our activities (costs) did nothing to enhance the understanding of our software nor did it lead the independent advisor to effectively leverage our product.

This month I had the pleasure of visiting one of our dually registered rep/advisors in Florida. The firm sold clients various financial products, including insurance and alternative investments. As an AppCrown client, we have achieved integration and functionality for their firm. However, to much disappointment, we have not been able to execute on training, and deliver proper support.

I say proper considering our training tends to be functional based. However, the user is using the technology to deal with their day-today activities. As such, the focus ought to be workflow based. Surprisingly, I saw the inherent demand to create a "monthly activities calendar" solution, through AppCrown, for his firm. Notably, through this resolution, the end user not only will get things done quickly but also have the desire to continue the use of technology beyond resolving immediate objectives. The advisor needed to move away from "management by objectives".

To summarize our findings from this visit, the firm and its people valued the desire to:

• Learn how to quickly and easily find client engagement data and holding data

• Track actual client direct activities vs. "left a voice mail"

• Streamline transaction processing to provide better overall client service tracking.

More importantly, after sitting down and mapping out business processes, everyone discovered important insights to the key activities (costs) of their advisory business;

 Information Gathering - This ranges from client activities, records of client interactions, tracking holding data, deciphering activities clients considered important, and tracking overall performance on client accounts.

 Internal Management - Owners have sought to allocate time to managing intensive paper processes, tasks to employees, and working through key firm specific processes that would drive client retention and client-account performance.

 Asset Growth - Apart from existing clients and internal management, the business of an advisor is to grow assets. This comes down to marketing, growing through referrals, and other events that relate to creating brand value and growing assets.

Either fortunately or unfortunately, our technology has the capability to streamline 99% of all outstanding processes and activities (costs) desired by our clients. Our fault lays in our complete understanding of technology. We built a technology firm around advisor, yet we did not go the extra mile to understand the specifics of individual firms under our AppCrown umbrella.

Perhaps the best insight by everyone was the ability to see how AppCrown was able to give back 1 hour a day, at least, to our client in Florida. For the first time, both AppCrown and the independent advisor understood how to leverage strengths on both sides of the equation; AppCrown with technology, Advisor with business.

W have made the first move. Either flying or through multiple web-based conferences, we have engaged a few clients to grow our understanding. This is now becoming a reality, where we are achieving economics of scale and the duality of activities (costs that benefit top-line for both AppCrown and our clients).

What's Next?

As our client, we need to understand the business side of your life. The proverb holds true, "Teach a man to fish and he is set for life". In this case, AppCrown is your high-end, CRM fishing rod. We will act on behalf of the user and fish for you. However, we need to understand you. We follow your lead.

As a next step, it would be best to reach out to us and our client service team. Look to schedule an immediate meeting with Claudio Pannunzio or Don Pollard, so we may begin to understand your world and have you understand ours.

This is the economies of scale advisors can establish, and we will be there to provide the pillars. However, we have made good progress, and now post approximately $10 billion AUM, through Salesforce for our 1000 users (70 firms). This is all within 12 months. So figure this, as we grow, we need you to grow.

What better way to do this than for us to tailor our approach with your business?

About AppCrown

Our History

Until 2006, our CEO, Ted Tsung, served as Chief Technology Advisor for Thomson Financial. In that capacity, he spearheaded the development of technology solutions exclusively for broker dealers and RIAs. Leveraging that expertise, Ted decided to launch his own venture, TwoDimensions Technology, a firm focused on providing integration technology to the marketplace.

In order to concentrate all its resources on technology development, TwoDimensions established E*Assist, LLC, as its sales and marketing arm in charge of the distribution of its solutions. From 2006 through 2009, E*Assist experienced rapid and significant success.

In 2009, TwoDimensions decided to shift its focus to servicing integration technology. To achieve this new vision, it began forging a series of strategic partnerships with leading software providers, including, the world's largest provider of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions.
As Salesforce become TwoDimentions' key strategic partner, to avoid marketing and sales conflicts between E*Assist and Salesforce, TwoDimensions decided to launch AppCrown LLC, to execute its vision. Widely recognized in the financial services industry as innovator and agent of change, AppCrown has become today the leading provider of integrated solutions to U.S. broker-dealers and RIA firms.

What We Do

AppCrown partners with its clients to provide comprehensive technology and business development solutions. By implementing resilient and effective operational methodologies and working practices conceived by our seasoned consultants, broker/dealers, RIAs and money managers are able to achieve superior business efficiency, grow their business and boost their enterprise value.