Kudos To Schwab For Publishing A Workflow Library For RIAs, But Is Schwab Intelligent Integration’s Focus On CRM An Outdated Notion For RIAs? Hot

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custody assets with Schwab.

Schwab also published a “white paper” on workflows that presents an excellent primer on why embedding workflows is important to RIAs, a topic we
cover frequently. It’s great that Schwab is making workflows available to RIAs. (TDAI released a library of 50 workflows  in October 2011 embedded in Salesforce.)

Schwab’s workflow library was launched in October 2011 and Schwab says that, as of May 31, 250 firms have downloaded 500 workflows. Schwab says it now offers a more intuitive way for advisor to select workflows, and an advisor can download workflow instructions customized to their specific CRM. In addition to the 28 workflows released today, Schwab already offered five workflows customized to Junxure and Salesforce.

Schwab continues to focus on running an RIA based on a CRM-centric technology stack, but that notion seems dated.

CRM, for years an underutilized information database in RIAs, is definitely important. But it is no more important than your portfolio management system, financial planning system or client portal. The concept of creating a single app that dominates an advisor’s desktop is outdated. As software has become more specialized, the notion of making the CRM the only screen you need has become less important.

Different users in a firm have different needs and software is so specialized now. “There’s an app for that,” is the mantra of modern technology. Five or six years ago, the notion that CRM would dominate the advisor desktop seemed logical. But that was before the advent of professional applications for a suggestion engine for advisors, automated portfolio rebalancing, client portals, and a product marketplace integrated with financial plans for clients.

Software development progresses so fast now that the notion of controlling it all or even viewing it all from one app, CRM, is no longer desirable or necessary. Software advisors use is so much easier to learn since more specialized Web-based professional apps became widely available. Plus, it’s all more affordable nowadays because development of software advisors is generally off-shored. Development is cheap. Advisors and staff just need to be able to navigate easily from app to app to get exactly what they need when they need it.


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