Financial technology business IRESS has announced a new initiative, IRESS Labs, whereby users of its software will be able to input directly into the design and development process and use future functionality in advance of general release.
IRESS Labs is now available to users through the latest version of XPLAN and will be used in additional IRESS products over time.
Through IRESS Labs, more users are actively sharing their opinions, experience and insight on what matters to them and their clients. This feedback is being directly used to create functionality for all users. Financial advisers test and provide feedback on prototypes during a development phase, before co-designed features are released.
Labs also enables IRESS to regularly roll out new and updated functionality meaning users will be able to get the benefits of new functionality as soon as it’s available.
Recent releases of XPLAN include co-designed features resulting from IRESS Labs. These are:
* A refreshed and contemporary screen design;
* A much simpler menu structure to make navigating XPLAN simpler and quicker; and
* A new opportunities management capability that enables better management of the advice and review business pipeline, accessing the rich client data in XPLAN.
With a further series of experiments across XPLAN’s CRM, Advice and Portfolio modules scheduled for 2018 and 2019, the number of users contributing their insights and experience will grow significantly.
Emily Chen, product executive at IRESS, says: “Labs expands IRESS’ existing face-to-face user-centred design processes by using a combination of technology and IRESS’ products.
“We’ve always included our users’ ideas and suggestions of what they would like to see in our software and what business problems they are looking to solve with technology. IRESS Labs means more users will be able to participate more easily, with the software being even better for it.
“IRESS Labs is starting with a focus on XPLAN, with 75 firms having already participated in development experiments to date and co-designed functionality already released.”
The IRESS Labs approach takes concepts from end users into development, through user experiments, culminating in the delivery of co-designed functionality. This is done in three stages:
* Design discoveries – a collaborative process where users are actively involved in designing the functionality and interfaces by providing insights on what’s most important to them and has the greatest impact on their business.
* Development experiments – where the themes, functionality requirements and common user journeys defined in the design stage are taken into development, with the same users iteratively testing and providing feedback on prototypes to ensure the software works the way they need it to.
* Delivery of co-designed functionality – the new co-designed interfaces and features are released into the latest production version of the software, with the option to toggle between the new functionality and the earlier version.
Development experiments already underway include:
* Adviser and client dashboards – presenting summary information in a better way.
* Advice documents and presentations – preview of advice documents and tools to help advisers present advice recommendations to their clients.
* Goals building and tracking – to help advisers better monitor progress against clients’ goals and tools to support review conversations.
* Workflow – enhancements to the task management function.