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How a modern CRM platform can help transform a firm’s business model

An end-to-end transformation of a wealth management company’s CRM platform is creating powerful tools to provide hyper-personalization.

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The better the question

How can a wealth manager’s CRM platform keep relationships thriving?

A wealth management firm wanted to replace outmoded customer relationship management (CRM) applications to support greater personalization and growth targets.

A leading wealth manager had been considering building a new CRM platform for several years. Over time, it had built a suite of applications to address its CRM and advisor desktop capabilities, and these had become costly to maintain. Additionally, they also provided a poor user experience for employees.

Meanwhile, although the company’s business model had traditionally catered mainly to self-directed investors, it had begun the process of transforming this model to provide personalized services to investors who demanded customized options. This business-led strategy needed to be enabled by technology, in the form of a more modern CRM platform.

The company hoped that building a modern, flexible technology platform would:

  • Drive improved customer experience and service excellence
  • Enable the scalable growth of its personal investment advice service
  • Increase job satisfaction for its employees
  • Enable a redesign of business processes, which would lead to greater efficiencies, cost savings, a reduction in expense ratios and better overall performance

The firm chose the Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM platform and engaged EY to devise the rollout strategy, execute the configuration, integration and implementation plan, train employees to use the new platform and support stakeholder communication. 

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The better the answer

The importance of actionable strategy

EY teams leveraged its strong Microsoft skills and experience and its industry knowledge to devise a comprehensive implementation strategy.

Paul Kelly, Senior Manager, Microsoft Technology Consulting practice, Ernst & Young LLP says what differentiated EY from other organizations was its ability to offer an “actionable strategy." The EY organization has an established alliance with Microsoft and extensive experience of implementing Dynamics through its 450 people who are experienced in working with the platform. This experience would prove invaluable in the transition from the legacy CRM applications to the new platform and help enable EY teams to define opportunities to achieve the firm’s business objectives by leveraging Dynamics 365 capabilities.

Another key factor was EY’s understanding of the wealth management industry, bolstered by insights gained across several major companies. “In addition to our Microsoft practitioners, we had subject matter resources from EY Wealth and Asset Management practice embedded on the team,” says Kelly. “They were able to provide advice on what other clients were doing in the market and give an authoritative view on what a best-in-class advisor desktop will look like in the future.”

The end-to-end transformation program began with a three-month discovery phase, which included the EY team interviewing dozens of business users who would be beneficiaries of the new platform. This process helped enabled them to identify the major pain points as well as the big opportunities; align themselves with the client’s objectives and key outcomes; plot out a three-year plan for the major milestones and agree on delivery dates; and, finally, map that plan to an employee group rollout strategy.

Once the implementation began in earnest, the biggest challenge the EY team and their counterparts within the company faced was dealing with the legacy systems they needed to extract data from, all of these systems had been built over decades by IT personnel who were no longer available to consult. So the EY team helped the wealth manager to effectively reverse engineer code to understand how to best interface with these data sources in order to build a strong data foundation.

Concurrently, the wealth manager was also adopting news ways of working - in particular, transitioning to a more agile environment. EY organizations brought in people from its People Advisory Services practice to help facilitate this change and help the client understand how best to work in this environment, how to structure teams and how to execute in this model.

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The better the world works

Powerful new ways to manage customer relationships

With advisors now using the new platform, it’s time to expand it to support the wider wealth management community.

At the end of the first year of the three-year transformation program, the wealth manager had achieved its initial goal of getting approximately 150 sales, advice and support staff using the new CRM platform, making the sales process more efficient.

Paul Kelly explains: “It was very difficult to see across the organization, and to find the history of interactions with individual clients. In the book of business space, we needed to enable the advisors to manage relationships across their portfolio of clients.”

So, the EY team have implemented a new application that gives advisors a powerful new way to organize, structure and prepare for the conversations they have with their clients by pushing content to them that is relevant for that specific client.

Feedback from the company’s employees and leaders have already been very positive, with one leader describing this as “the smoothest, most well-thought-out rollout for a program this size” carried out at the company.

Kelly attributes this success to three key factors: “First, our ability to execute and implement technology at a low risk to the client; second, our ability to think strategically and bring our industry expertise to bear; and third, the ability to roll this out smoothly and have a well-thought-out communication and change management plan.”

The next phase will involve expanding the platform so that the majority of the firm’s advisors, relationship managers, and customer service staff are able to use it through careful training.