How to Validate Family Office Software Capabilities and Enhancements
As a family office software vendor that has been a part of hundreds of technology assessments, the team at SEI Family Office Services is intimately familiar with the questions that tend to come up during technology selections.
In many cases, assessments use polar yes/no questions to identify existing capabilities. These questions may look like: “Can users review and approve journal entries before posting to the general ledger?” or “Do you receive data directly from banks and custodians?”
These yes/no type of questions are excellent for understanding what the solution can do, as is.
Then there are the open-ended questions around things like company background, system configuration and data security—all of which can help family offices gauge a technology vendor’s experience.
More recently, family offices have focused their due diligence efforts on evaluating a firm’s client service, product support and training components, which can help define the long-term viability of a solution.
But there’s another side to technology due diligence that oftentimes doesn’t receive the attention it deserves: product innovation. How much has the product changed, grown, and evolved since it first appeared in the market? Are the upgrades impactful, well-designed, and easy-to-use? Do the enhancements add efficiency, capability, and scalability for users? Do the enhancements actually perform the functions they’re supposed to?
These types of insights are critical to choosing a technology partner whose technology not only does what it says it can do today, but one that has an eye turned towards the future with a clear, strategic direction for the solution.
To help you validate solution capabilities and measure product evolution, here are a few topics you can include in your technology evaluation to audit a vendor’s commitment towards innovation:
- How much does your organization invest in R&D?
- What percentage of staff is allocated to product development?
- What are your firm’s software development processes and procedures?
- How frequently do you introduce new functionality?
- How is new functionality tested and validated?
- Do you have a formal Quality Assurance (QA) team?
- How do you address bugs or issues with product features?
- Do you have a pre-determined release schedule?
- How are product upgrades rolled out to users?
- How far in advance do you plan product upgrades?
- How does your organization determine the types of functionality and enhancements that are included in product upgrades?
- Please highlight notable enhancements to your product in the past three (3) years.
- Do you have a defined product roadmap? If so, can you share it?
- What types of enhancements are planned for your software in the next 1-3 years?
- Do you offer prospective clients a sandbox environment to validate stated product capabilities?
At SEI Family Office Services, we routinely roll out product enhancements to the Archway PlatformSM.
Through a variety of bi-weekly builds and small- and large-scale upgrades throughout the year, we typically introduce 75-100+ new features, reports, data feeds, and enhanced capabilities annually. These enhancements are automatically made available to our clients during planned downtime, resulting in minimal interruption to the platform. Upgrades are detailed using thorough release notes and additional training on new features is offered via video tutorials, live demonstrations, and self-service documentation.
To learn more about our latest enhancements to the Archway Platform—and find out what we have planned for the future—schedule a call with a member of the SEI Family Office Services team.
Vice President, Business Development – SEI Family Office Services
Dennis is responsible for developing strategies to help SEI Family Office Services reach new markets, attract new leads and acquire new clients. In this role, he leads speaking engagements at industry events and manages the sales cycle. With a core focus on family offices, accounting firms and other wealth management organizations selecting a technology solution, Dennis has worked with many of the Forbes 185 families and Forbes 400 individuals for over 17 years. Prior to joining SEI, Dennis served as Managing Director of Sales and Marketing at Financial Navigator, Inc. where he was responsible for the company's growth and market penetration.
Dennis holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing from San Jose State University. Outside of SEI, Dennis enjoys traveling with his family, reading and scouring used record stores to grow his vinyl record collection.