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Two Big Data Solutions for Financial Enterprises

'Big data' will no longer be a fantasy for financial advisors after the introduction of cutting-edge tools.

Bill Winterberg, 11/14/2013

This month, I joined venerable technology reporters and consultants Joel Bruckenstein (from whom I inherited this column) and David Drucker to produce T3 Enterprise, a technology conference positioned for the needs of broker-dealers and large financial-services enterprises. One theme repeated throughout the duration of the event was the advent of big data and its potential application for financial advisors.

Big data is the buzzword du jour among technology companies both in and outside financial services. The term is used to describe any collection of data that is too large to manage and interpret using conventional tools.

Imagine loading 10 years of historical transaction data from client portfolios into a spreadsheet and then attempting to determine the flow of money in and out of particular market sectors over time. Although it may be technically feasible in a spreadsheet, advisors will benefit from more sophisticated tools to process vast amounts of data and deliver actionable insight and business intelligence.

At least two technology providers at the T3 Enterprise Conference introduced tools to address the challenges of interpreting and using big data. Below are the key takeaways from new products coming from Redtail Technology and cleverDome Solutions.

Redtail Data Cloud
Most advisors recognize Redtail Technology as the provider of one of the most popular web-based CRMs in the financial-services industry. According to Brian McLaughlin, president and CTO of the Gold River, Calif.-based company, Redtail serves more than 70,000 users covering approximately 17,500 offices in all.

With so many users and offices, Redtail is ideally positioned to leverage the volume of data that advisors enter into the system as well as the more than 85 integrations with third-party service providers. All the data input regarding client profiles, investment holdings, marketing opportunities, and so on provide the groundwork for the application of "big data" solutions.

In an effort to equip advisors and broker-dealers with big data analytics capabilities, Redtail Technology announced the introduction of Redtail Data Cloud.

Big Data Output
Redtail Data Cloud collects data from more than 500 existing data points across its three products: Redtail CRM, Redtail Email, and Redtail Imaging. Data can also be collected using external APIs to products such as MoneyGuidePro financial-planning software, Riskalyze risk assessment software, Advisor Websites website hosting, ActiFi advisor benchmark data, and much more.

Bill Winterberg, CFP, is a technology and operations consultant to independent financial advisors. His comments on technology have been featured in a variety of financial industry publications. You can view more information about Bill and see his schedule of upcoming speaking engagements at his Web site, FPPad.com. The author is a freelance contributor to MorningstarAdvisor.com. The views expressed in this article may or may not reflect the views of Morningstar.

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