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Coming Attractions from CRM Solutions

CRM is cooking up some new tools and services for advisors.

Joel P. Bruckenstein, 10/09/2008

It recently came to my attention that CRM Software, the developer of Junxure and ClientView, has been recognized by Inc. magazine as one of the 5,000 fastest-growing private companies in America. This recognition prompted me to contact Greg Friedman, MS, CFP, a principal at the firm, in order to get an update of what's going on at CRM. As it turns out, the firm is preparing to launch a couple of initiatives. One is the launch of a new consulting group. The other is the launch of a totally redesigned edition of ClientView, a turnkey application that allows advisors to offer their clients private Web pages, also known as private Web portals

Junxure Solutions Group
As part of the consulting initiative, CRM Software has established a new division called the Junxure Solutions Group. This division will be responsible for all training and consulting initiatives undertaken by the firm. This means that the existing training programs that CRM Software already offers will now fall under the Solutions Group. The first new initiative undertaken by the group with be the Junxure Practice Management Consulting offering. According the Friedman, the difference between existing Junxure training and the new Junxure Practice Management Consulting offering is that the former provides "how-to" guidance, but the advisory firm is responsible for identifying needs and implementing a solution. With JPMC, advisors will receive a five-phase process designed to optimize the use of Junxure within the firm.

In the first phase, a Junxure consultant will interview the firm to evaluate current processes, identify problems, and assess needs. In the second phase, the consultant will identify specific ways in which Junxure can be utilized to address the advisory firm's needs. In the third phase, the consultant will implement changes, customizing Junxure in order to optimize it for the specific firm. As part of this process, the consultant will deploy Junxure PowerTools. These new tools include preprogrammed action sequences, recurring actions, rules, and other data that incorporate "best practices" methods to help advisors quickly achieve improved results. Through the use of PowerTools, consultants can further customize and optimize Junxure to each firm's needs.

In the fourth phase, the consultant will assist with the full deployment of the optimized Junxure application onsite. Finally, in the fifth phase, the consultant will follow up to make sure everything is working as desired. If necessary, the consultant will fine-tune Junxure to further enhance its utility within the advisory firm.

While all of this sounds good, I pointed out to Friedman that third-party providers already offer similar consulting services for Junxure. What, I asked, differentiates CRM's consulting services from those of others?  "Nobody knows Junxure the way we do," he said. "CRM Software developed the product, I use it in my practice at a very high level, and we get continuous feedback from our users. I doubt there is anyone else who can match our knowledge of the product and its capabilities." In addition, Friedman pointed out that Junxure Solutions Group has a highly trained staff that knows the wealth-management business inside out. "The people we have hired and continue to hire are experienced advisors who have either run their own firms, or who have worked successfully for years at a senior level within a firm," he said. Pricing for Junxure Practice Management Consulting has not yet been announced.

A New, Improved ClientView
If all goes according to plan, CRM Software will begin rolling out the new ClientView to existing clients within a month, and the firm will begin marketing it to new users before the end of the year. The new ClientView will differ from the existing offering in a number of ways, but one in particular is significant.

Currently, ClientView is a hosted solution. This means that all client data is uploaded over the Web to a third-party server, and clients access the data by logging on to that server. The primary advantage of this arrangement is that the data is stored elsewhere. This frees the advisor of the responsibility to own and maintain the server that stores the client data. The primary disadvantage of this arrangement is that advisors have to create reports for clients and then upload the reports to ClientView.

This can lead to a couple of inefficiencies. First, the reports are only current as of the last upload. The longer the interval between uploads, the more stale the reports become. Second, for large firms with huge batch reports to run, uploads can take time.

The new ClientView will take a different approach. Rather than hosting the data, ClientView will only host a secure client authentication and log-in portal. Most of the data will reside on the advisor's server. Under this arrangement, the client will log on to the ClientView authentication server. Once the client is authenticated, the client will essentially be able to pull information right from the advisor's server. Of course, the advisor will control what the client can and cannot access. So, things like performance reports, documents, and the like would all reside on the advisor's server and be accessible to the client through the Web portal. In addition, with the advisor's permission, the client will be able to access a limited amount of data and run reports in real time from within Junxure.

The client home page home page can pull data from a number of different, advisor-specified sources. Modules on either side of the screen can provide weather, news from Junxure and sources like Yahoo, and more. In the middle of the page, there are announcements, followed by "My Alerts." These alerts are user to-dos that are stored and tracked within Junxure, so an advisor can assign tasks to the client and the client can track them here. In a similar fashion, the client can click the "Contact Us" tabs throughout the site, select an advisory firm employee from the drop down menu, and create an action item for the employee within Junxure. Of course, the advisory firm contains the drop down list so they control who the client can and cannot contact through this facility.

There is also a box that shows the client's contact information, pulled from Junxure. Obviously the client is aware of his or her own contact information, but by displaying it here, advisors are reminding their clients that this is the information they currently rely upon;  if the client changes anything this display will hopefully prompt the client to inform the advisor.PAGEBREAK

Advisors have the option of displaying information to clients using a variety of page layouts. Advisors also control what the ClientView portal displays through a tab within Junxure. By checking or unchecking boxes, advisors can enable or disable the content elements. One popular feature is sure to be the ability to pull information from the accounts tab within Junxure. With permission, clients can view, among other things, their assets by account size, by type, and by class, just as the advisor can.

Another nice view is available at the Junxure insurance tab. Here, clients can see what information the advisor has regarding all of their insurance policies. If the client has changed health-care providers, for example, reviewing this information will prompt the client to inform the advisor.

The document vault can be used to store all sorts of files, including those that include graphics. The application allows advisors to name documents and folders, for increased control over the appearance of the vault. A portfolio reports section is where the advisor makes portfolio reports available to the client by batch processing them through the portfolio management software and ClientView. This version of ClientView includes document assembly capabilities, so advisors can create a report template containing individual report elements, including a cover letter, and ClientView will automatically assemble the document package.

Live Report is a new feature that lets clients, with the advisor's permission, access the Junxure database in real time and run their own reports. Reports that a client might have permission to run on their own include a net worth statement, and a client to do report. In addition, there is a separate folder that contains reports run by the advisor to be viewed by the client.

While the ultimate success of ClientView will be in the execution, based on the demonstrations I've seen, the product looks very promising.

With the establishment of the Junxure Solutions Group and the upcoming launch of the new ClientView, CRM Software (www.junxure.com) appears poised to continue its growth in the coming year.

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