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How Well Do You Know Your Fintech Vendor's Strategic Direction?

An Inside Look into the Relentless Development Philosophy at SEI Family Office Services

This isn’t surprising: long-lasting technology companies, those that thrive amid changes and challenges, are the ones that meet the demands of their clients over and over again without disrupting the way they operate.

This obviously implies ongoing accessibility to the technology as changes take place, but it also alludes to the intentional design and development of features and functionality that build efficiencies and make a user’s job easier. Where’s the value in a change that doesn’t align with – or unnecessarily distracts from – the solution’s core mission?

As advocates of transparency, especially when it comes to product development, we know how compelling a unique and forward-looking strategic vision can be for family offices and financial institutions. But we also strongly believe that an organization’s strategic vision should seek to enhance, not clutter, the capabilities of a platform.

At SEI Family Office Services, our commitment to intentional innovation is embodied by our Relentless Development Philosophy. When you look back on the past two decades of the Archway Platform℠, the evolution of the product has always been channeled through a long-term vision. Our resolve to adhere to this vision and to avoid diversions along the way ultimately afforded us the staying power that we have today as an award-winning family office solution within the broader SEI solution suite.

As a part of this ongoing process, there are a few guiding principles that help us deliver meaningful, if not incremental, improvements to our clients.

User Feedback

Technology companies don’t withstand the test of time by making assumptions. Period. They use data, analytics and tangible user insights to establish and prioritize critical enhancements. Through focus groups, enhancement requests and everyday client service interactions, SEI Family Office Service has amassed a wealth of enhancement requests and leverages these requests internally to help drive our strategic roadmap for the Archway Platform.

Peer Dialogue

Many organizations believe that internal disagreements negatively impact a business. But we think a dose of healthy opposition leads to some of the greatest product outcomes. We engage with internal stakeholders across the entire lifecycle of a client – from the sales and marketing teams that help them begin their buying journey to the client service personnel that deliver ongoing product and service support – to ultimately derive the right balance of function and flair when it comes to product enhancements. This is evident in our current effort to redesign the Archway Platform’s user interface scheduled to be released in December 2020. The interplay of these dynamics puts our internal release committee in a position to design a product roadmap with input from advocates of system power users with complex problems as well as proponents of simple, easy-to-understand solutions. The result is well-rounded innovation.

Frequent Upgrades

Firms that can successfully combine constructive user feedback and the internal exchange of ideas are more likely to deliver effective product enhancements and upgrades that align with the solution’s core mission. And the frequency at which firms release these product upgrades is a key driver in letting users know the value their fintech provider places in product development. At SEI Family Office Services, we upgrade the Archway Platform on a regular basis through both minor and major releases throughout the year, amounting to hundreds of enhancements on an annual basis. By delivering incremental enhancements seamlessly and often, clients gain access to better tools while not missing a beat in executing their daily operations. To ensure our clients are aware and up-to-date on these major improvements, we provide complete release notes and documentation through our client support portal. By being transparent and thorough in explaining our upgrades, our clients are able to trust that each change is an intentional improvement to the solution.

So how does this all play out in real life? Download our latest mini ebook, Our Perspective: A Relentless Development Philosophy, to find out where our innovation focus is pointed in 2021 and beyond.

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Paul Freeland
Paul Freeland
Head of Sales & Service – SEI Family Office Services

Paul Freeland is responsible for leading SEI’s Family Office Services business development division, which is responsible for identifying new opportunities in the marketplace and presenting value-add technology and outsourced service solutions to family offices and financial institutions. Previous to this role, Paul served as President of SEI AFO where he oversaw fund administration operations for the firm’s emerging managers segment. Additionally, Paul was a founding executive of Archway Technology Partners, acquired by SEI in 2017, where he was responsible for the outsourcing and back-office administration services for family offices, multi-family offices, hedge funds and private equity funds.

Paul is a graduate of Indiana State University and received his MBA from Indiana University. Paul also holds a CPA designation. Outside of SEI Family Office Services, Paul enjoys long bicycle rides and spending time with his family.

Paul Freeland

Paul Freeland

Head of Sales & Service

SEI Family Office Services