Advisor Technology Q&A: Five Questions From Advisors About The Cloud Answered

Thursday, June 27, 2013 09:12
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Advisor Technology Q&A: Five Questions From Advisors About The Cloud Answered

Tags: cloud | practice management | technology

Two weeks ago, a tech consultant who works with about a dozen investment advisory firms, spoke at one of our webinars about moving your firm to the Cloud. The session was part of an ongoing series A4A is conducting about moving to the cloud and it features tech consultants from around the country that work with RIAs. The sessions have been getting very favorable reviews from attendees. The first session featured Josh Phillips, from ProvisionIT, which is near Orlando, Florida, talking about cloud basics. The second session featured Justin Schillinger of Envision Consulting in Alexandria, Virginia, who spoke about specific situations advisors typically come up against in moving to the Cloud.
 
Here below are answers to five questions Schillinger did not have enough time to answer fully at the session.

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 I was confused about the MX pointers to Office 365 and whether you need to keep a server for that function. Do you?
I probably shouldn’t have mentioned MX pointers. That’s a bit too technical for this audience. In a nutshell, no, you do not need to keep hosting your own server to get mail via Microsoft Office 365. The easiest way to think about it is that Office 365 becomes your new email server. It’s just “in the cloud” and not in your server room. That said, you should plan to engage a tech services firm to do the migration, as there are behind-the-scene changes that must be made, like MX Pointers.
 
How do Portfolio Center hosted trial?
You will have to go through a cloud services firm to get a demo. Schwab is not providing  demos of Portfolio Center Hosted directly to RIAs. It is providing 15-day trials of traditional PortfolioCenter for the desktop. For a 15-day trial. contact Schwab Performance Technologies (800.528.9595 Option 2) or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . As I said in the webinar, I would recommend caution when committing to any Web-App version of software—this goes double for a brand-new one. For the record, I recommend the same caution when a new version of Microsoft Office of Windows comes out. We generally consider the first iteration to be a public beta test.  
 
Junxure desktop requires Microsoft Office (Access) and brings all MS Outlook emails automatically into client records. You write mail-merge letters using Junxure’s database via MS Word. In the Web version of Office 365 and Junxure Cloud, do you imagine this will work the same way?
No.  The user experience is very different. Junxure Cloud is best for smaller firms and Junxure on premise is better for larger firms. There will be functionality within Junxure Cloud to create and save Document Templates within the system.  These templates can be used with the Junxure Correspondence Wizard (which is the tool that will be used to create Mail Merge Letters, Mass Emails, and Mailing Labels).  When creating these templates, users will not be using MS Word.  Junxure has an online word processor that will be used to create the document.  Those templates can be exported to Word. For those that already use Junxure and have Document Templates saved into Word, those too will be moved to the online word processor. At this time, Junxure Cloud will not be compatible with Office 365. However, that is something that they are likely to be looking into. 
 
If we use Outlook on a locally, how does it go cloud?
Not sure how technical you want to get here. Whether you’re looking at public or private cloud, however, migration is not difficult for a tech services firm. Migrating email to the cloud from Outlook is easier than migrating an email server, like Exchange, but regardless—it is well within the ken of most tech services firms.
 
Recently found out we need a new server. I had my assistant call PortfolioCenter to ask about having a Cloud option. She was told $18,000 and I fell off my chair. We currently pay $5,000 for PortfolioCenter desktop. Can we just have the current system put on a private server?
Yes. Assuming your licensing is up to date we can move your current installation to a cloud server. This is really the nuts and bolts of private and virtual private cloud: Take your existing infrastructure and the way you’ve always worked, and get it out of your office so you don’t have to buy/install/maintain the equipment and can access it from anywhere.

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