Technology Champions are Key to Upgrades Done Right

Technology Champions are Key to Upgrades Done Right

For financial advisors, the message is loud and clear: invest in technology now or risk being left behind. But there is more to investing in technology than just writing a check.

According to Stuart DePina, President, Envestnet | Tamarac, to extract the most value out of your technology investment, significant planning is required. Implementing technology can be difficult if there’s poor planning, few resources, and no leadership behind the initiative. That’s why RIA firms should spend time developing a plan that supports their investment.

The plan should steps to identify and develop talent – people who can embrace technology and play a key role in the transition. Overall, RIA firms should look for employees who have the interest and enthusiasm for adopting new technology and can infuse that excitement throughout their organization.

True technology champions should embody:

  • Agility – They thrive on disruption. Technology will bring about change, so it’s important to be nimble and flexible.
  • Collaboration – They are eager to break down silos and fixed roles, and are committed to developing a team structure that operates seamlessly with new technology.
  • Communication – They are open to working with stakeholders across the organization, not just leadership.
  • Learning – They are innately curious and want to learn the full scope of what technology can offer their firm.
  • Client Service – They are passionate about leveraging technology to improve the client experience and boost engagement.
  • Commitment – Envestnet | Tamarac looked at the top performing (top 10 percent) of RIA clients using Advisor Xi®, Tamarac’s portfolio and client management software, and found that successful firms have a project lead that oversees implementation, and provides education and training to staff. This individual remains a primary point of contact throughout the transition period and beyond, and is committed to staying up to speed on the software and supporting colleagues as they leverage the new solution.


The Envestnet | Tamarac onboarding process includes Tamarac University, a three-day classroom program, where new clients hear from both Envestnet | Tamarac consultants and industry peers. The University allows firms to become oriented with the Envestnet | Tamarac platform. This education includes exposure to best practices.

DePina emphasizes, however, that completion of the University program is not the end of the training journey, rather it is the beginning of a process. “Implementing our platform is an evolution,” he says. As users become proficient in some aspects of the platform, they continue to learn about more advanced features, which adds additional value. “It is often a multi-year journey”, DePina says.

More recently, Envestnet | Tamarac is taking much of their educational content and moving it online, which makes it easier for users to continue to improve their skills. They are implementing virtual classrooms as well. In addition, the firm hosts a series of user groups across the nation. The content is advisor driven, but Envestnet | Tamarac provides logistical support. More recently, the firm is launching a virtual users group for those who cannot attend the live events.

Looking forward to 2018, DePina says that the firm will leverage data science to help firms improve performance. The plan is to leverage insights from the data to further improve operational efficiencies at advisory firms.

DePina says that firms deriving the most value from the Tamarac platform have some common characteristics:

  • They reengage with Envestnet | Tamarac consultants early and often.
  • They engage with industry peers who have been through the process.
  • They have a senior person at the firm, typically a COO, who oversees the implementation.

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Joel Bruckenstein
Joel Bruckenstein
Joel P. Bruckenstein, CFP®, is Publisher of the T3 Tech Hub (formerly the T3 newsletter) and the producer of the Technology Tools for Today (T3) Advisor Conference, the only annual technology conference for independent advisors, as well as the Technology Tools for Today (T3) Enterprise Conference. He also hosts other technology summits in partnership with thought leaders in the financial services industry (e.g., Brian Hamburger of MarketCounsel) and his own by-invitation-only fintech summit every summer. In 2020, Bruckenstein will produce for the first time a new one-day intensive called T3 Cyber University. Bruckenstein is an internationally acclaimed expert on applied technology as it relates to the financial service industry. He is the co-author of three books: Virtual Office Tools for a High Margin Practice, Tools and Techniques of Practice Management, and Technology Tools for Today’s High Margin Practice. Bruckenstein’s monthly technology columns appeared in Financial Advisor magazine and Financial Planning magazine for many years. In addition, he works in tandem with industry influential Bob Veres, publisher of Inside Information, to produce an annual technology survey for the financial planning community. Bruckenstein accepted the fifth annual Leadership Award bestowed by Bob Veres' Insider's Forum, a conference that brings together the leading figures of the financial planning profession during a main stage presentation at the Insider's Forum held September 6-8, 2017 in Nashville, TN. Bruckenstein has for more than twenty years advised financial service firms of all sizes on improving their technologies, processes and workflows. For more information about Joel Bruckenstein and the services his firm offers, please visit

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