For many, many years, financial platforms have sucked for developers. The majority have been written in languages that date back to the dinosaurs and are so closely ring-fenced that you only ever get access to it if you're in the elite circle of trust. In this day of age, you really should be able to have your cake and eat it; if you use a platform, the data should be yours and accessible.
We've tapped into a few financial platforms in the past, and if they've had developer access (an API) the "approach" used has been super-old-school. It makes you want to weep.
We heard mumblings that Intelliflo was building an API, and to be honest, when I first heard the news, the words "here we go again" came to mind. That was until I saw with my own eyes what they've built.
Now let's get a few things straight, we've never integrated with IO, we don't have a vested interest in what they do, nor have we been asked to put this together. This is the result of pure developer euphoria!
So what have they done?
In the simplest form, they're giving you (the advisory business) the ability to build your own "front-end" using their back office tool, and then some more!
When you log in and interact with IO, as a user currently, your every action initiates a function in their code to either grab data, update data or run a few calculations. This happens whilst you wait for the page to reload, and once done, it's then displayed back to you with their own design wrapped around it. Not a fan of how it looks? Well, that's not a problem anymore!
They've opened up their platform to allow developers to latch on to most of the features of their back office tool. For example, we could grab a list of all of your clients, and then display that information in whatever format you would like. You can now use and abuse IO for the number-crunching and data-harvesting, and build your own unique back-office tool on top. If you so wanted to.
We've already had a goosey at the documentation for their API, we've come up with a few ideas of simple things you could do with this new found freedom.
1. Automatically update your email marketing list, and vice-versa
If you use tools like Spudmail (you really should!), Constant Contact, Mailchimp or any other email marketing tool, chances are it has an API itself to be able to dynamically interact with it from another system. You might even have a form on your website that allows visitors to add themselves to your marketing list. To then store that information in IO would require you to take a manual extract of data and then manually import it into IO. Not anymore.
There's absolutely no reason why when someone fills in their details to join your mailing list that they couldn't automatically be imported as a lead into IO within a few milliseconds of signing up. Fancy! Likewise, if you wanted to import your IO contacts into a platform, there's no reason why it couldn't be done now.
2. Build a simplified (or more complex) client portal
If you fancy having something a little different to what you get already from IO, they've basically handed over the keys to the platform and said: "do what you like". If you think their existing client portal is too much, no worries, build exactly what you want to offer. If there's something else that you would like to offer your clients within the client portal, that isn't already there, again no problem, just build it. As a developer, we have access to all the critical data you might want to display in a portal, so if you can think it, it can be built.
3. Build your own mobile app
This one's a little more extreme, as I think the majority of us are all over the "WE NEED A MOBILE APP TO STAY CURRENT" flash-in-the-pan that occurred a few years ago but if you *really* do need an app you could now very easily pull out all the data you might ever want to display, including bank account transactions and investments. In theory, with this, you could create your own simple mobile app to display this data with your own messages and marketing around it. Think the likes of MoneyInfo or MoneyHub, only more personal and bespoke.
4. Share data with other tools you use
Maybe your paraplanners use a specific time-tracking app, or your admin team prefer to use a project management system to keep everything organised. It's a really P.I.T.A to manually re-enter client information all over the place, so why not (platform dependent) automatically pump data in or out of IO? Add a client once, and watch as all of your other systems just sync around you.
If you're as excited as we are, let's chat!
As far as we're aware, the API should be going "live" in the next week or two, so if you have an idea that you would like to explore, please feel free to get in touch. We're already working with two clients to integrate this into their online marketing in various forms so stay tuned for more information on what we're doing.