The explosion of mobile device usage has reshaped our perceptions of the value of being connected. We now take for granted our ability to access just about any information we want, whether personal or public. We can communicate with friends on impulse, shop, ask for help, advice or directions and give feedback on what we like or dislike. As investors, we can check on our financial status as easily as we can check the weather. Where all this information originates and how it gets to us doesn’t really matter, as long as we can get it exactly when we need it.
This sense of connectedness is quickly becoming a key differentiator in the advisory business. When an advisor has a fully integrated suite of back office tools, it makes a digital experience possible for the investor that not only meets but can exceed expectations. On the Black Diamond team, we are constantly working to deliver a platform that enables advisors to access integrated information when they need it, and to deliver the same for their clients.
In 2018, significant resources were devoted to enhancing and growing Black Diamond integrations to further position us as an advisor’s complete business hub. Throughout the year, we saw substantial growth in the breadth of our integration network as well as advisor adoption and usage. During 2018, nine new integration partners were added bringing the total number of partners in the integration network to 55. New partners added included:
- ACM, and their Trade Compliance Analyzer
- Cheshire Software, a financial planning provider
- Everysk, a provider of automated risk analytics
- FactorE, a factor based risk analysis tool
- LifeYield, provider of a tax planning solution for advisors
- Practifi, with its financial advisory CRM solution
- Totum Risk, which provides a risk tolerance calculation tool
- Two document management solutions: Box and Sharefile
At Black Diamond we know that it’s not just the number of integrations that matter, but also the depth of those connections. In 2018, Black Diamond made significant strides in deepening integrations with key solutions for advisors across categories like custodians, CRMs, financial planning, and risk.
Most popular among advisors was the new automated statement integration with our custodial partners. Advisors can seamlessly pull in custodial statements and trade confirmations into the Black Diamond Client Experience – further connecting investors with their key financial information in one centralized location. We’ve seen widespread adoption of this integration and are actively importing over 100,000 statements on a monthly basis, and that number is growing daily.
We also developed a rich two-way integration between Black Diamond, and SS&C’s Salentica Elements, a CRM built for wealth managers on the Salesforce® Lightning Platform. Information flows between the systems and we rolled out new enhancements to support key advisor workflows like client information sync, prospect-to-client conversion, and client communications.
In addition, we released deep two-way integrations with some of our other key partners such as Riskalyze and Advizr, in order to support robust integrated workflows.
Key among the new capabilities released in 2018 was the introduction of an inbound application programming interface (API) to improve portfolio and client relationship workflows. While Black Diamond has long enabled the ability to pull data from the platform, a major focus during the year was to build out the inbound API to let clients and partners create, update and modify the platform programmatically. This new functionality enables new and powerful workflows that eliminate duplicate data entry and streamlines an advisor’s practice.
Also released was the addition of performance returns to the Black Diamond API. This powerful tool equips advisors with access and control over their data and allows for Black Diamond’s powerful performance reporting capabilities to be leveraged within integrations.
All of these integration enhancements further reinforce the value of Black Diamond as the hub of an advisory business – the single point of connection to a vast ecosystem of solutions and capabilities that help make your business more competitive and valuable in the eyes of your clients.