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Already known to be cutting edge, Black Diamond shoots for the bleeding edge with total rewrite of its software

RIAs can multi-task, upgrade and customize better with the new portfolio management system

Monday, June 21, 2010 – 6:19 AM by Nevin Freeman
Admin:
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Dave Welling: That ability to get data quickly is very powerful.

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Nevin Freeman

Nevin Freeman

June 21, 2010 — 6:22 AM

One glance at the applications on your computer will verify that software interfaces are modified copied of other software interfaces. This is good for users because it means they can rely on conventions, but bad because it signals a lack of innovation. Black Diamond’s web interfaces are clearly not carbon copies of other PMSs, but instead show that their development team took the time to think about what seemed like the optimal way to present data. At first things looked a little cluttered, but as I started to see how the BlueSky interface unfolds to reveal just what the user is looking for I caught a glimpse of the clever architecture of the system.

RIABiz Editor Elizabeth MacBride pointed out to me that one of the more interesting points is the trend toward customization, and wondered how often users actually take advantage of the customizability common to many new software applications. I would be interested to know as well.

The thing is that BlueSky seems like it would not provide a very good user experience if the user left the default SkyBoxes/Views/Pages. Rather than just offering flexibility, Black Diamond is requiring that users organize the interface themselves, so that only what they need is there. For many kinds of software I would view this as a bad thing, but for something like a PMS that an advisor uses so heavily all the time, I would guess that the end result will be a boost in productivity, even if it means a small headache to get started.

“Feedback from our beta users has been that they like having the consultative support and, in many cases, having a central firm user (typically the admin. user) coordinate this kind of customization,” Dave Welling said in a followup email.

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