5 Questions You Want to Ask When You’re Exploring Data Aggregation

By Amy McIIwain, President, Financial Social Media on Friday, September 9th, 2011

Trying to decide whether data aggregation is right for your firm? Not sure which solution is best for your needs? Need answers, but not sure where to start? Well, at the risk of promoting myself, that’s where I come in. At ByAllAccounts, it’s my job to answer the questions of those interested in data aggregation to help them understand exactly what we do and don’t do.

I talk with all sorts of people, most trying to aggregate one form of data or another, but all wanting a better understanding of aggregation and how it could fit into their practice or company. It’s from the questions that these advisors most frequently ask—and from my knowledge of what they should ask (I always help them out by steering them to these questions)—that I’ve put together this list of five “must ask” questions that will make your search easier:

1.) If I adopt a data aggregation solution, how do I know the data is secure?

You want to hear why the data is safe. More specifically, since you’re in a service business, you want to ask how you can ensure your clients that their data is safe. So, how is my clients’ data protected? Where is the data stored? Does ByAllAccounts need my clients’ credentials—log in ID and password—to aggregate data?

All good questions—with good answers. But rather than using this blog to explain why our solution is secure, I’ll just stick to posing the questions for now. After all, if I give you the answers here, there won’t be anything to talk about when you call! But seriously, the answers to these questions (and the ones below) are a bit more complex and lengthy than this blog space is designed to handle, so we’ll save the explanations for later.

2.) Does the data aggregation solution integrate with my current advisory software?

You’ve got software in place—no doubt, after a considerable investment—and you need to know whether the data aggregation solution you’re considering will integrate with it. For example, what management platform are you using—Schwab Performance Technology’s PortfolioCenter …Morningstar’s PrincipiaCAMS…Morningstar Office…or one of many others? Also, are you already using a popular CRM system? Planning software? Does the aggregation solution integrate with them as well?

3.) What does the solution cost?

Let’s face it—this question is always near the top. Have you heard that one data aggregation solution is more expensive than another? Or, like many inquirers, do you not have any idea what competitive costs are, or how pricing from ByAllAccounts and other providers actually works? What’s the cost of set-up? How much are ongoing costs? It all depends, of course, on how much work we do for you—a subject we can talk about.

4.) What will my clients experience when I adopt a data aggregation solution?

You’ll need to inquire how ByAllAccounts or any other provider will set up your clients’ accounts. How difficult is it for clients to setup WPC? Do your clients have to sign anything? How do you tell your clients about how data aggregation will be beneficial to them? Chances are, when you hear how your service to clients can be enhanced—and how their overall experience can be improved—you will agree that data aggregation is a technology whose time has come.

5.) What is the ROI?

Do you have a clear idea of the metrics involved in making data aggregation work from a bottom line perspective? Do you have enough clients/assets in order to break even or turn a profit with your data aggregation solution? How many accounts do you anticipate aggregating 12 months from now? Are you factoring better client service and greater client retention into your calculations?

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Okay, back to what I do: I’m here to help you figure out whether data aggregation works for your firm or not. What I don’t do is jam a square peg in a round hole. I’m here to answer your questions—and among the many you have, I hope to hear the five listed in this blog. 

To schedule a time to speak with me, please see My Calendar.

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