Departmental Swim Lanes and How TradePMR Adjusts Based on Advisor Feedback
Over 89% of big data has been produced within the last 2 years1. Big data refers to larger, more complex data sets that cannot be analyzed with traditional data-processing applications. Technology development is growing exponentially and is becoming increasingly complex every year.
Just looking at the explosion of online streaming platforms, e-commerce, and digital investing technologies, it’s hard to fathom where we’ll be in five years, let alone two.
Behind all these advancements is a crucial backbone: the technology roadmap.
A technology roadmap is a guiding force for development teams – it lays out goals, timelines, mechanisms, everything a team needs to bring a technology vision to life.
Key Goals of the Roadmap
A firm’s technology roadmap doesn’t just look at one or two projects – it encompasses the entire company’s plan for technology evolution: big and small.
To effectively activate on those goals, the roadmap needs to be broken up into departmental swim lanes. For RIA custodians, these are likely the key departments at the firm, each specializing in some unique part of the advisor-provider relationship. At TradePMR, these could be Trading, Advisor Services, Accounts, Cashiering, Product, Technology, and Transitions.
When developing a roadmap, firms look to balance goals with bandwidth, ensuring each department can effectively build out its respective portion of each project on the desired timeline.
This roadmap will identify which department a particular update will impact, who is responsible for bringing that update to life, and how the firm will test the update to ensure its ready for launch.
Building the Roadmap – Brick by Brick
In order to tackle these projects, the team first needs to figure out what should come next for the firm.
At TradePMR, the team has had a major project on the roadmap for a few years now: the web-based Fusion platform. Fusion is a desktop-based application which the team has been transitioning into a web-based environment accessible via desktop, laptop, tablet and mobile.
For a major RIA solution like the web-based Fusion platform, a single line-item in the roadmap can impact every departmental swim lane. Within each department, the roadmap breaks down exactly what each team is responsible for and how they can contribute to the success of the project.
In developing the web-based Fusion platform, for example, the Trading team is working to make sure the advanced RIA trading capabilities advisors use day-in and day-out could make the move to the new web-based platform. At the same time, the Accounts team is working hand-in-hand with the Technology team to ensure the account opening and update functionality in Fusion would work in this new environment. Every team has tasks and tracks those tasks to the overall roadmap.
The roadmap is more than a guide, it’s a timetable. If any single piece gets pushed, the entire project can be put on hold. The roadmap is a critical asset for technology companies that helps ensure the teams are consistently developing and delivering solutions that fit the evolving needs of their clients.
Evolving the Roadmap
While the roadmap helps set goals for an entire firm, it is not static.
Roadmaps should be frequently reviewed to ensure the tasks continue to align with the goals of the firm. Additionally, priorities can be shifted as new projects arise, taking into account the workload of the team and respective urgency of each project.
At TradePMR, one of the main reasons why the roadmap evolves is advisor feedback.
Take, for example, TradePMR’s launch of model sleeve trading last year. A few TradePMR advisors voiced that model sleeve trading was an advanced RIA trading capability that they were leveraging through third party vendors. The team took a deep dive into the Fusion technology and recognized that the firm could launch its own model sleeve trading capabilities.
The TradePMR team adjusted the product roadmap and made this new model sleeve trading offering a priority – with the Technology, Product, and Trading teams working hand-in-hand, the firm turned around and launched this offering within a matter of weeks. The offering is now leveraged by TradePMR advisors nationwide and has become a key to many advisors’ trading activities.
The Key to Any Roadmap – Flexibility
The best laid plans of mice and men… While a particular advancement may seem like the right move for a firm one day, they may find a year down the line that the offering no longer makes sense.
Technology providers need to be nimble, adjusting to meet the needs of RIAs today and tomorrow, not yesterday.
If you’d be interested in learning more about TradePMR’s approach to technology development and how the firm gathers valuable feedback from advisors, we should talk.
1 How Fast is Technology Advancing? [Growth Charts & Statistics] 2022, MediaPeanut, by Paul Michael. Published July 28th, 2022.