The demand for speed and mobility today has touched every aspect of our business and personal lives. In an age of mobile communications people want instant answers to everyday questions, especially when those questions involve their assets and investments.
SEI Investments, a global provider of asset management, is determined to stay in the forefront by providing its clients with real time critical investment information no matter where they may be. For this reason it is important to SEI that its financial advisors, being the first line of contact with its clients, use their smartphones to have instant access to client account information to assist in their investment discussions and decisions.
To build a state-of-the-art mobile application system for its financial advisors SEI turned to Anexinet, the award winning systems integrator and technology management company that enables clients to optimize the value of their IT investments. The challenge for Anexinet was to build a smartphone app that would enable SEI investment advisors to gain instant access to sophisticated legacy systems and provide their clients with key information no matter where or when it was needed.
Tom Whalon, manager of SEI’s Architect Team, says: “The job of our advisors is not to be generating reports or working on the computer. Their job is to provide quality service to our clients. In this economy, the demands on their time are high. The mobile app that Anexinet helped us create lets them be anywhere and able to address how clients are doing performance-wise on their portfolio and answer a variety of sophisticated questions. With the mobile app on their smart phone, they can bring up all the information they need. They get instant access to performance information, portfolio holdings, pricing, everything that’s needed about client’s account and profile. Now they can collaborate 24/7, where previously was difficult to do if they were tied to a desktop.”
Whalon says the agile development model Anexinet brought to the table all but guaranteed a successful conclusion. “With guidance from Anexinet we set up milestones on our development.” says Whalon, “As we hit each milestone we would have a one hour meeting. We had a mix of clients, business people and SEI technology leadership part of our focus group for review of system enhancements. We would put a phone in their hand and say, ‘This is what we’ve built in the past week or two. Showing them what it looks like including the style, navigation and overall user experience. We would ask the group, Are we on the right track?’ They would say, ‘Yes, or no, or change this or change that.’ Using the Anexinet agile development process, we were able to make mid-stream corrections. The key was getting all the stakeholders in a room for a short time, showing them and saying: ‘This is what we built. Are we in the right direction?’ Then off we’d go and continue moving forward.”
Whalon says Anexinet exceeded his expectations in both the speed and accuracy of the system they created. He adds: “I believe the agile development process that Anexinet runs is going to be an essential type of development process in the mobile world because you have to move fast. It worked very well for us. We were on time, on budget and the users loved the resulting product. We achieved our three success factors…on time, within budget and acceptance.”
The process is ongoing. Says Whalon: “Anexinet is great to work with. They’re very responsive. For me one of the key elements is that they bring topnotch people. We have Anexinet people all over the building. Our relationship with Anexinet is continuous.”