Innovation is not something typically associated with transfer agencies, but at Boston Financial it is a hallmark of who we are. Boston Financial was the first transfer agent to integrate imaging and electronic workflows, the first to service retirement and 529 plans and the first to offer comprehensive 22c-2 services. These developments have helped drive the industry’s evolution and have made Boston Financial a leader in introducing new solutions.
To accelerate and further focus our innovation initiatives, we recently established the Business and Product Development group. Our organization is off to a strong start with a well-developed pipeline of new products. We’ve already launched expanded services ranging from financial intermediary administration, to compliance solutions such as Blue Sky Administration and enhanced web-based self- servicing tools. In this and subsequent updates, we will share our thoughts and overall approach to innovation. As well, we’ll highlight future new products and services.
What is Innovation?
Successful innovation involves more than coming up with an idea for the next iPhone or Google Glass. While these products have unquestionably redefined the way we use technology and interact with the world, they are the result of a disciplined process that includes bringing together people with varying skill sets, perspectives, and passions, along with a deep empathy and understanding of who the end-user is and the conditions under which they will use the product or service offering. Innovation also demands an unrelenting commitment to rapid prototyping and continuous refinement.
Studies by consulting teams like Monitor Deloitte show that companies succeed when their innovation “portfolios” are comprised of core, adjacent and transformational initiatives:
- Core: Optimizing existing products, services or processes for existing customers or making incremental inroads into new markets
- Adjacent: Applying existing strengths and capabilities to different use by expanding into a new business for the company
- Transformational: Developing breakthroughs or new offerings for markets that don’t yet exist
There is not a perfect allocation between these segments, but most successful firms have a portfolio where the breakdown is 70% Core / 20% Adjacent / 10% Transformational. This ratio shows that innovation is as much about finding improved or better solutions, as it is about building solutions that completely transform. Even Apple exhibits this trend with new software releases, new features and new designs that fall more into the Core and Adjacent categories than that of Transformational.
Boston Financial is adopting a pragmatic approach to innovation. By building a strategy from a series of stand-alone ideas, we’re better defining what enhancements are needed and how we can implement them. We’re looking at how we can create an innovation-capable organization through the people we bring together, the talent across our company, how we organize our ideas and our execution, how we measure progress, and how we define success.
A compatibility assessment is a key part of our process. This involves taking an idea and reviewing it through a number of unique lenses to ensure the product, business or new service is compatible with our corporate strategy and mission. If the solution is compatible, it will strengthen our ability to capture both credibility and market share. The approach also ensures we bring strong, solid ideas from concept to execution.
By aligning all of these elements, we are creating a structure and an environment to identify and execute. Forward thinking will allow us to translate ideas into financial opportunities. As a result, Boston Financial can introduce a portfolio of new solutions where small and larger changes all combine to keep us at the forefront of the industry.