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The Advisor's Technology Swiss Army Knife

One advisor technology startup combines a suite of disparate business-development tools into one effective solution.

Bill Winterberg, 04/10/2014

Financial advisors have no shortage of individual technology solutions available to communicate with clients, gather business intelligence, and grow a more efficient and profitable business. Beyond the standard CRM, portfolio management, and financial-planning solutions, progressive advisory firms likely use one tool in each of the following categories: 

> Business analytics
> Website publishing
> Website analytics
> Email newsletter and campaign management
> Prospecting tool
> Client portal
> Electronic document vault
> Account aggregation
> Quick financial goal-planning calculators

Clearly each tool offers a specific solution for advisors, but managing all of the individual tools quickly becomes challenging, often requiring the addition of even more solutions to simply organize workflow and project activities. In addition, advisors often waste time manually updating the disparate tools because they don't integrate at all with one another.

Fortunately, one advisor technology startup, Oranj, wants to help advisors consolidate such tools into one integrated, easy-to-manage, and affordable platform. 

The Oranj Platform
Oranj is a Chicago-based startup founded in January 2013 by CEO David Lyon. Lyon is also the CEO of Main Street Financial Management, an SEC-registered investment adviser with assets under management exceeding $200 million. Much of the business development and client collaboration tools developed for use in Main Street Financial Management became the precursor to the Oranj suite of tools. 

The Oranj platform comes in two parts, Oranj Cloud and Oranj App. Oranj Cloud is designed for financial advisors to conduct business development and management activities on the platform, while Oranj App offers an online interactive financial management dashboard to an advisor's clients and prospects. 

Why Run Oranj?
Typically, advisors initiate business development efforts by using a variety of separate solutions. First, new content regarding marketing events or new services is often posted to a website. Not only must the material be effective at informing clients and prospects about ways to engage with the advisor, but the content must also be archived for compliance purposes. Archiving is generally accomplished by a separate technology solution not built into the website solution. 

To determine if content is being viewed, advisors often turn to Google Analytics to gauge metrics across the website. Google Analytics shows how many unique visitors viewed pages on the website and for how long, but the solution doesn't specifically identify individual visitors, so the information is useful only for general trends. 

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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