With the right software solution, a family office can substantially increase productivity and efficiency. Before selecting a solution provider, however, it is very important that the family office take the time to understand its internal requirements. The following nine-step guide will help make the selection process of family office software easier and more successful.
1. Establish Your Business Objectives
Every family office has different needs. Identifying your business objectives is critical to ensuring you get the technology system most suited to your needs.
Review the objectives you defined in Step 1 to establish which are most important. What must you have right away? What can wait? This prioritization will form the blueprint for the Needs Analysis checklist you will prepare in Step 4.
3. Learn What Is Available
Search the Internet using keywords like ‘family office software‘ or ‘family office technology.’ Make notes of providers’ strengths and where you see a fit for your practice. Ask friends in the industry for recommendations.
4. Complete a Needs Analysis
A Needs Analysis is a detailed list of the specific features and functionalities you need. Classify each feature or function as ‘must have,’ ‘should have,’ or ‘nice to have.’
5. Determine if You Need an In-House or Outsourced Solution
What kind of solution will work for your family office – one that is housed completely within your office (in-house), one that is completely off site (outsourced), or something in between? Understand the trade-offs for each alternative, bearing in mind the strengths and culture of your operations.
6. Share Your Needs Analysis
Send your Needs Analysis to the providers identified in Step 3, above. Ask for a comparison between your requirements and their solution. Providers will appreciate your clear roadmap. Encourage them to reach out to you if they need clarification.
7. Narrow Your List of Potential Providers
Start by eliminating firms that cannot meet your requirements. Next, cut those who do not support the service model (in-house or outsourced) of your choice. Other factors like costs can also help you narrow the field. Your goal is to arrive at a short list of three providers.
8. Conduct an In-depth Evaluation of Your Short-Listed Providers
With the shortlist, you are ready to evaluate each solution in depth. Request a product demonstration from each provider. During each demo, keep your Needs Analysis with you to determine how closely the product matches it.
9. Partner With the Best Provider
Recognize that no solution is perfect and each product will have its own strengths. Involve your core staff to determine the best fit for your organization.
This nine-step process is based on decades of our work with family offices and accounting firms such as yours.
You can read a more detailed, six-page article on our Resource Center under the topic: Selecting a Solution Provider.