Financial planner looks offshore to build CRM system

Too costly to develop in Australia

Brisbane headquartered financial planning group, FinancialLine has developed its own customer relationship (CRM) system designed to deliver high levels of financial information to an increasingly IT-savvy client base.

The system is also bringing new levels of automation to portfolio and investment strategy management and is being used to underpin expansion of the company.

Known as the Evolution system, FinancialLine managing director Peter Sarai said the system is helping to differentiate the company in a crowded and competitive industry sector.

Sarai admits the decision to develop its own CRM system represents a departure from conventional practice for the majority of financial planning firms which rely on third party software licensed through insurance companies and funds managers.

But he said FinancialLine is now expanding its geographic reach using the infrastructure of the new system to attract other firms to a partner network.

"Recognising that information technology is pivotal to ongoing success and growth, we knew we had to invest in the newest technology. But it also crerated significant challenges," Sarai said.

The popularity of Microsoft's .NET platform caused a severe shortage of software developers in Australia skilled in using .NET. So, FinanciaLine commissioned Bali-headquartered company Mitrais to undertake the project.

"It was an innovative approach for a relatively small company like ours to go offshore for software development," he said.

"Rather than paying a 30 percent premium to have the work done in Australia or worse still, delaying the initiative, we engaged Mitrais which completed the system on time for a fixed price contract."

Evolution supports FinancialLine offices in Brisbane, Melbourne and the central Queensland city of Bundaberg as the company actively campaigns to extend its partner network in other regions.

"Evolution is an excellent tool for our advisers because it is an all encompassing customer relationship management system. But it also helps manage the operational costs associated with the compliance side of the business as well as providing real time information on what is happening with the business at any point in time," he said.

The system will soon be enhanced to give high net worth clients access to services in addition to financial planning.

Mitrais is an Australian-controlled near-shore technology company, providing software development and outsourced services to clients in Australia and South-East Asia.

Established in 1991, the SAP NetWeaver and Microsoft Gold - Certified developer employs over 200 staff with offices in Bali, Jakarta and Singapore.

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