Increased merger and acquisition activity, system upgrades, and other reasons have led to more wealth management firms migrating their legacy performance reporting systems to new platforms in the past few years. Amidst this flurry of activity, many questions about the best ways to migrate these systems quickly, while causing the least disruption to advisors and clients, have arisen, as firms find out choosing a new technology partner was only the first (and possibly easiest) step.
This series will guide you through key elements of the migration process. Later articles will cover converting historical data, preparing for hidden costs and opportunities and defining minimal viable product (MVP) vs the art of the possible. This article will introduce the key concepts of the migration process and establish a foundation for the journey.
Designing a Firm-Wide Change Management Framework
Before you jump into implementation, you must develop a thoughtful change management approach. How your firm prepares for and manages change will be critical to the success of the migration. Some firms hire skilled specialists with experience in leading and coaching adoption and change practices to support change across the organization. Setting up a structured framework will alleviate much of the stress and ensure your team is equipped to take on the challenge.
Formalizing Your Internal Implementation Team
Most industry technology vendors have implementation teams to assist with the onboarding process. These experts are helpful in providing best practice training, consultation and general system configuration. They work alongside your appointed internal resources who will provide project oversight and coordinate project activities. The vendor can also provide subject matter expertise to help inform decisions that the internal team will be required to make during the migration. Even with the implementation resources provided by the vendor, success will require significant contributions from the internal team – you will need to be intentional about identifying the appropriate resources and carving out sufficient bandwidth to support the project.
In addition, the vendor implementation team won’t know the nuances of your firm’s workflows, processes and reporting specifications. Your internal implementation team must become experts on the new performance reporting system so that a customized experience can be tailored to your stakeholders’ needs. Finally, resourcing the new system appropriately will ensure a successful product launch, adoption and ongoing service and support.
Setting Realistic Expectations and Timelines
Many variables impact estimating your new technology go-live date. For most mid-sized to large RIAs, it’s realistic to anticipate a 12-month timeline for system migration and implementation before you can roll out the new performance reporting tools. Prepare your team and leadership for the possibility that this timeline can be extended well past this date. Here are some common considerations that can impact the timeline:
Historical data conversion method and data validation – approach with caution! In the next article we will explore this topic in depth.
Complex configurations – considerations include custodial data feed setups, custom fields/attributes, ownership structures, integrations, held away assets, entitlements and permissions and report customizations.
User Acceptance Testing – anticipate that you will need to utilize different stakeholders to test everything from workflow to report construction to client beta testing. Read The Value of User Acceptance Testing
The best way to ensure a realistic timeline is to let the implementation team drive its development and communicate regularly with the leadership and the firm about any risks and issues that may impact the timeline.
A Final Word on Migrations
Performance reporting system migrations can be intense processes, but they don’t have to be scary. Setting out a strategy and working along a well-planned roadmap will ease tensions across your wealth management firm, set clear expectations and lead to more successful outcomes. We’ve got much more to come on this topic. Up next: converting your historical data.
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