Choose your language:

France
Germany
Hong Kong
India
Ireland
Japan
Malaysia
Netherlands
New Zealand
Singapore
Sweden
United Kingdom
United States

Developing a Mobile Financial Advisory Portal for a Leading Financial Services Firm

Financial Services | Application Development, Managed Services, Mobility



Download PDF

The client partnered with TEKsystems to develop a mobile Web portal for its financial advisory platform to provide its advisors with quick access to key financial data.

The client is a leading provider of investment management, retirement planning, brokerage and other financial products and services to more than 20 million individuals and organizations, as well as through 5,000 financial intermediary firms. The client has partnered with TEKsystems for over 10 years.

Technology has enabled our economy to operate at faster speeds than ever before. The introduction of mobile technology allows consumers to access information quickly through personal smartphones and tablets, and mobile applications provide real-time data, convenience and portability. Banking and finance customers increasingly rely on their personal mobile devices to check account balances, review portfolio information and transfer money or pay bills. Customers value the real-time, accurate data provided by these mobile solutions.

Financial services firms are also leveraging mobile technology in order to offer more personalized services. Due to the increased amount of information available and the portability of mobile devices, customers can access investment calculators, financial advice and retirement modeling on their own. Financial advisors must be able to deliver a custom, targeted experience to clients in order to differentiate and show value. In response, many advisors have turned to their tablets to enhance their interactions with clients—sharing personalized, interactive presentations based on real-time data and scenarios.

HTML5, Java, JQuery, Responsive Mobile, Spring MVC

A leading U.S. investment management provider has a financial information Web portal where its financial advisors access market briefs, market analytics and white papers to prepare for client meetings and advise their end customers on real-time investment decisions. However, this portal was inaccessible via mobile devices, making it difficult for financial advisors to leverage up-to-date information on the go and during client meetings. The client knew that in order for its advisors to stay relevant and competitive with other investment management companies, it had to implement a mobile solution for its advisory portal.

The client wanted mobile users to be able to view the same information on a mobile device as they would on a PC. A mobile site solution was ideal as it would require minimal changes and disruption to the original portal and would not duplicate efforts by putting content on two platforms. They sought to leverage their existing Web content management system (CMS) for the mobile version; however, this homegrown CMS did not originally support mobile form factors. Additionally, the client wanted the mobile portal to be device-agnostic; they were looking to adopt a responsive design to ensure it would work seamlessly on any device at any size. The client’s marketing team was driving this project and had set an aggressive timeframe for the turnaround of the mobile portal so its launch would coincide with an upcoming campaign for new products and services.

In addition to the campaign, this project was also aligned with the client’s enterprise-wide initiative to capitalize on mobile technologies to improve efficiencies and increase profits. The client was already working to reduce the number of work-issued laptops in the field—which were expensive to supply and support—and moving to a mobility policy would alleviate overhead costs by leveraging advisors’ personal devices.

The client lacked the mobile development expertise in-house to handle a project of this scale and meet the deadline posed by the client’s marketing team. Thus, the client was looking for a partner with a dedicated mobility practice with core competencies in CSS3, HTML5 and Agile, who could ramp up quickly and adapt to its culture and environment. The firm was also seeking an experienced partner with a proven SDLC process for mobile development and platforms, as they were hoping to grow their internal mobility capabilities in order to adapt to future needs.

We would perform a three-phased approach comprised of Inception, Knowledge Transfer and Construction at our Montreal Solution Centre (MSC). Our team would include skilled mobile experts, including a UI developer, two technical architects, a business analyst, project manager, a QA analyst and a UX developer. 

Inception

We would partner with the client to understand their unique needs, processes and environment to build the strategy, perform the design and recommend a construction plan. The three major stages of this phase would be:

  1. Definition: We would begin with educating the teams, validating the working relationship and disseminating a high-level vision and design in order to set expectations and ensure the entire team had the same basic understanding of the solution before committing to qualification.
  2. Qualification: We would define priorities and the business value of the solution to aggregate and qualify enough information to execute a plan. We would also prioritize risk identification, develop product backlog and define the architecture.
  3. Planning: We would then provide a comprehensive plan that included a complete effort estimate, team composition, foundational duration, stabilization strategy and release plan.

Initially, the client sought to have our mobility experts continue with the Construction phase at the MSC. However, the firm’s corporate policy required mandatory audits of off-site facilities prior to embarking on an outsourced engagement, and due to a backlog, the internal auditors would be unable to perform a site audit in time to meet the client’s deadline. To mitigate this issue, our team offered a solution where we would source high-quality local resources on site at the client to complete the Construction phase with the client’s financial advisory development team and also provide support and consulting from the MSC. Our Application Development practice and our Service Management Organization (SMO) would work in concert quickly and effectively so that we could meet the scope within the original timeline and budget.

Knowledge Transfer

 

Since Inception and Construction would occur at two separate locations, we would establish a knowledge transfer transition stage to support the client’s ability to manage the Construction phase themselves. TEKsystems would travel on site at the client to review deliverables and coach the financial advisory development team project leadership on findings and disciplines that would support successful delivery. Our MSC mobility experts would stay on site for two weeks to coach the internal development team through the first iteration of Construction. 

Construction

Throughout this phase, we would continue to utilize an iterative development process, utilizing several technologies to enhance the mobile Web portal’s look and feel, design, user interaction and layout. TEKsystems would provide an on-site support team consisting of a business analyst, a QA analyst, two UI developers and a delivery manager. Using an application managed services model, we would assume responsibility for TEKsystems’ on-site resources, including resource selection, onboarding, knowledge management, resource management, and service and deliverable management. Additionally, our MSC mobile development team would remain available as virtual consultants, which would include a weekly call with the on-site team.

TEKsystems, a trusted client partner for over 10 years, had learned of the client’s plans to launch a mobile advisory portal during a meeting with the financial advisory development team. The client was aware of our expertise within mobile and back-end platforms and chose to partner with us based on this recommended solution, the strength and reputation of our reputation of our Mobility Center of Excellence, and our knowledge of Agile methodologies and best practices.


The mobile Web advisory portal was successfully launched to the firm’s more than 800 financial advisors. The project was completed within budget and in time to launch along with marketing’s scheduled campaign, giving its financial advisors access to critical information when discussing its new products and services. Moreover, this mobile solution will continue to help advisors be more efficient in client-facing situations, build out their portfolios, capture market share and, ultimately, increase revenue by having a technology that’s imperative in an industry marked by technology innovation and large IT investments.

Although performing the Inception and Construction phases in separate locations was not the original plan, TEKsystems’ teams were able to adapt to comply with the policy and still deliver a quality product. The time our mobility developers spent on site with the financial advisory development team produced an effective knowledge transfer and the client was able to continue to tap into our mobility expertise to help overcome technology and design questions.

During the Inception and Construction phases, the marketing team identified additional features for the portal that would align with future campaigns. We were able to adapt our solution and deliver on the increased scope while also remaining on time and within budget. We also increased their technological footprint in the mobile environment, and the client’s in-house resources were exposed to Agile and automation testing best practices. Agile was still relatively new in their organization and they relied on our experience to help enhance their knowledge as well as spread it throughout the organization based on the results from our Inception phase. With automation testing, we have streamlined the client’s ability to test and deploy changes.

The client was utilizing this project as a proof of concept for future mobility investments. They wanted to know the adoption rate and measure activity to determine if mobility had an impact on overall advisor productivity. They also wanted to find out what types of devices were accessing the portal so this information could be leveraged in the future if they were to develop additional mobile applications. We were able to capture and channel these metrics through their in-house analytics application. This information will help them garner executive buy-in for future mobility investments. For example, the data received helped the client determine that the user community was predominately iOS, and it has gone on to initiate a project to create an iOS application.

  • Creativity. Although moving the Construction phase of the project from off site at the MSC to on site at the client was not originally planned, our team adapted and delivered a creative solution where we could maximize our mobility subject matter expertise via weekly consulting calls with the MSC and hands-on assistance and coaching from our local on-site team. With this solution, we were able to meet the client’s time restraints and stay within budget while still delivering quality service.
  • Honest partnership. At the onset of the engagement, the TEKsystems team established a collaborative relationship with the project sponsor. We relied on the client’s people to provide us with institutional knowledge and they leveraged us for technology knowledge. The client also needed a partner who would give them honest advice and feedback—positive or negative. Previous vendors the client had worked with only did what was asked of them which produced mediocre results, whereas we were able to offer solid, complicated advice that could take them where they needed to be.
  • Cultural alignment. It was very important to the client that their partners be invested and aligned to the company’s business, IT strategy and values. For instance, security is very important to the client. When they visited the MSC, they recognized that security was a high priority to us as well and were impressed with the security principles in place. Sharing similar cultural values provided the client with the confidence they needed to trust that TEKsystems would deliver the results they aimed for.