What we did
From paperwork to productivity
As one of Canada’s leading diversified wealth and asset management companies, IG Wealth Management has thousands of advisors and over $101 billion in total assets under management.
For every advisor, there are hundreds of clients, and for every client, there are hundreds or thousands of records. That’s a lot of data—and it was weighing down IG Wealth’s existing, highly customized CRM (customer relationship management) system. Advisors were losing valuable time reentering data in multiple systems and relying on hand-written notes to support their clients.
IG Wealth knew that in order to drive productivity and provide the best possible experience for its advisors and clients, transformation was essential. “We needed to create the right foundational digital platform to empower our IG Wealth Management advisors,” says Sam Burns, SVP, Digital Technology and Enterprise Applications at IGM Financial, IG Wealth’s parent company.
In 2017, Slalom and IG Wealth initiated a partnership to modernize the client and advisor experience, leveraging the Salesforce platform to create a digital client portal. So, when IG Wealth decided to expand its Salesforce goals to create an advisor portal on Financial Services Cloud, Slalom was there.
Making the case for transformation
The scale of the project was formidable: over 5,000 users, 250,000,000 pieces of data, and a multiyear delivery. Beyond the complex technology and daunting logistics, change management was critical.
Change wasn’t necessarily a top priority for IG’s advisors—they were already comfortable with their own personal devices, software, and ways of working. A transformation of that size represented a significant investment of time and resources, and IG Wealth needed assurance that it would pay off in the short and long term.
In the past, the IG Wealth team had used a waterfall development process with mixed results. Advisors were concerned about missed deadlines. If the project was going to be successful, IG Wealth would also need to adopt an Agile delivery process.
To earn the support of the advisors and Agile champions within IG Wealth, Slalom helped make the strategic business case to pursue an Agile delivery model for the MVP (minimum viable product), defining the initial release in such a balanced way that advisors could embrace the value of the product. Slalom refined an industry standard estimating model to illustrate just how far Salesforce could take the company in terms of modernization and future productivity from a technology perspective, a change perspective, and an experience perspective. IG Wealth was ready to transform.
Managing change at every level
Slalom’s job was to coach, grow, and broaden IG's Agile practice across all teams so they could work faster, drive innovation, and increase collaboration between business and technology. IG Wealth also onboarded new digital leaders to help drive this new way of working throughout the organization.
Together, in a badge-less work environment, Slalom and IG Wealth set up integrated, multidisciplinary roles to establish governance and reporting, coach product owners, create user stories, and define a product roadmap. This side-by-side approach allowed us to evolve IG Wealth’s product vision and drive business value.
“Right from the start, Slalom helped bring us together as one team,” says Burns. “Sometimes you can have great intentions but not deliver on it, but I think the stars just aligned. We had great comradery at all levels of the team. People just wanted us to reach our goals, period. And that went a long way.”
To help people adapt to new systems and processes, we implemented change management right from the start. A Slalom business architect and a Salesforce functional lead worked together to empower IG Wealth’s Chief Product Owner to maximize the platform’s benefits and fully own the transformation. “I very much enjoyed partnering with the Slalom team. The mix of digital expertise, delivery focus, and client-focused culture contributed directly to our accelerated digital journey,” says Milorad Stefanovic, VP, Digital Technology at IGM Financial.
The path to transformation
More than 100 business leaders and developers collaborated to develop the MVP. In true Agile fashion, teams were reevaluated and restructured to work as efficiently as possible. Following the MVP launch, monthly and semi-monthly releases allowed teams to test, deploy, and collect user acceptance data to inform next steps.
The complexity of the legacy system and the volume of data presented daily challenges. For example, IG Wealth had about 25 different applications that were tied to the old system and needed to be cut and fed to Salesforce. We reconfigured functionality to match the business model while avoiding customization as much as possible. As a result, IG Wealth is well-positioned to both maintain and enhance the production system and take full advantage of the Salesforce product roadmap for Financial Services Cloud.
They really helped us move the needle from speaking about Agile and doing small stuff to Agile with a capital A at a scale of millions of dollars and thousands of users at stake. Slalom provided that structure.
Pivoting in a pandemic
In December 2019, a strategic rollout began to more than 5,000 users from coast to coast. Beginning in the west and rolling across to the east, teams visited IG Wealth offices to train users on the new system and introduce mobile functionality. We held live demos and provided a helpdesk, as well as one-on-one support to transition users to the new Microsoft Exchange server.
Of course, when COVID-19 hit in March of 2020, everything changed. IG Wealth put the health and safety of its team and clients first, shutting down regional and corporate offices. This put the rollout on hold while advisors, leadership, and developers transitioned to working remotely. Over the next six weeks, the team regrouped and pivoted to remote delivery, providing weekly and bi-weekly releases of new features and functionality to enable an effective work-from-home model.
In July, rollout was complete—and leadership is already seeing an impact. “It’s still very early in the game. But we have some advisors that are having record years in this COVID-19 environment. They’ve embraced digital processes, virtual technology, and virtual relationship management. And a lot of really exciting things are still to come in 2021,” says Bill Jack, SVP, Distribution at IG Wealth and business lead for the advisor portal program.
The future is bright
Two years of strategic collaboration paid off. In both size and scale, the IG Wealth Advisor Portal is a standout Salesforce deployment. Advisors now have an intuitive, easy-to-use digital and mobile experience. Salesforce is integrated with Outlook so that users can easily communicate with their clients, journal, track upcoming engagements, review portfolios, and strategize how to market and engage their clients—all from a single interface.
“Salesforce effectively takes what was being reported from a pure data perspective and makes it more interactive. So it’s not just about the fees and how the investments are doing, it’s about the relationship,” says Lesley Smythe, Slalom delivery lead.
For IG Wealth, Salesforce is a long-term strategic partner. “Salesforce has many, many applications that we can easily tie into the ecosystem and continue to grow. It’s opened a lot of doors for us,” says Mike Jack, chief product owner at IG Wealth.
With Slalom’s help, IG Wealth has developed a Salesforce Center of Excellence to establish best practices, maximize advisor productivity, and take full advantage of Salesforce reporting capabilities. “The team at Slalom has played a critical role helping us stand up our digital operating model and grow the Salesforce Center of Excellence at IG, enabling both our new strategic initiatives as well as digital platform activities and persistent product teams,” says Milorad Stefanovic. A Slalom managed services team continues to support the application—and the features still-to-come will only improve the advisor-client experience.
“It’s all about the power of trusted relationships,” says Brianna Ramsay, Managing Director at Slalom and accountable executive for IGM Financial. “Before coming to Slalom, I may have worried about putting our heart and soul into enabling a client to upscale and modernize and become so self-sufficient. At Slalom, I’ve learned that if you focus on your client’s success, the good work will continue to come. It’s a privilege to support IG Wealth on their journey.”
At Slalom, I’ve learned that if you focus on your client’s success, the good work will continue to come. It’s a privilege to support IG Wealth on their journey.