As we begin a new year and plan for what is coming in 2020, it is helpful to review the progress Office Cloud has made in 2019. Overall, 2019 was a productive year. The product management teams focused building core portfolio accounting capabilities that are crucial to RIA operations.
Generating management fees is one of the most important workflows RIAs must complete. We pushed hard strengthening billing capabilities throughout the year and this work has gotten us very close to parity with the desktop’s extensive feature set. Office Cloud now supports custom billing periods, billing by security type, security and account billing exclusions, firm and advisor fee breakouts, and customizable group billing in addition to billing by client.
We are excited about Office Cloud’s billing workflow so look for more communications later this year on whether moving your billing workflow to the cloud is right for you.
The first half of year saw advancements in report setting customization. Securities and accounts can be flagged as unmanaged, excluded from performance, and removed from client aggregate calculations and reports. Each client record’s report settings can be customized, as opposed to one setting for all clients. Managing these settings is easy too with the ability to change settings for multiple client records at once. The second half of 2019 focused on delivering highly valued reports such as the net-of-fees Snapshot report and X-Ray report. These high value reports will continue to be a focus in 2020.
The reports area now supports folders within folders, a report archive, and report deletion. Paired with the ability to download multiple reports at once and customizable report names, these features bring more organization and efficiency to document management.
Much of 2019 was spent on improving the back end “plumbing” so that data sets from Report Studio are reproduceable in Presentation Studio. One feature deserves a call out given its popularity in Report Studio. We added the multi-level grouping that allows for grouping account holdings by asset class, security type, and/or equity sector in the Portfolio Evaluation and Period Performance components.
We were happy to see the Morningstar Research section within Office Cloud reach full content parity with the desktop version. The layout and organization are far superior to the experience found in the desktop application, making it easier to find topics important to you, follow analysts of interest, and more quickly find content on securities that matter to you.
Additional research highlights include new ESG carbon metrics data points and the Scenario Analysis tool that provides statistics on equity funds during certain predefined market scenarios.
This year’s strategy looks similar to 2019. Core portfolio accounting features, like billing and high value reports, will continue to garner our attention. Included in this initiative is technical infrastructure work designed to improve program speed and stability.
While bolstering Office Cloud’s core foundation, we will begin adding features that differentiate the program from the desktop version and from competing products. Digital account opening will be a feature unique to Office Cloud, adding value not available in the desktop version. Making the Scenario Analysis tool compatible with transactional portfolios gives Office Cloud an edge in portfolio risk analytics versus the marketplace. Finally, we plan on deepening integrations with several existing partners, such as eMoney, to enable fully digital workflows.
A topic that surfaces frequently is the retirement date for the desktop version. Much is left to be done on Office Cloud, so we have no intention of forcing a retirement date in 2020 on our existing desktop clients. While our long-term goal is to replace desktop with Office Cloud, we need to reach a higher level of feature parity first, then “pull” clients to the cloud platform, instead of “push”, with more valuable capabilities.
Office Cloud has come a long way, but still has a long way to go. We want to genuinely thank you for partnering with us as the journey has not always been easy. Please continue to send your feedback as we progress through a successful 2020!