Vista Wealth Management runs it business on Salesforce. The company partnered with Sikich to perform a data migration project when it acquired another firm and wanted to create a unified, productive software environment. Together, Vista and Sikich completed this effort by putting best practices to work together with industry and technical expertise.
Vista Wealth Management serves individuals and families with investment management and advanced planning services based on a deep understanding of clients’ goals and needs. Most Vista clients are on the west coast of the U.S. While the company follows a structured approach that begins with in-depth discovery of what moves a client, the actual service delivery engagement and the communications that support it are always individualized to fit clients’ unique preferences, goals, and circumstances. For Vista and its clients, proactive, wise planning of investment-related and financial decisions is key to achieving goals and makes it possible to be proactive in addressing life’s challenges
For the last eight years, Vista has used Salesforce, the cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) software, to manage client engagements and business activities. Vista COO, James Knight says, “We like Salesforce because it is not just a static product—it continues to evolve and become better. We often say, ‘If it’s not in Salesforce, it didn’t happen.’”
Everybody at Vista uses Salesforce, every day. “We track everything we do for clients, all tasks and follow-up actions, in Salesforce,” Knight notes. The trading objectives and transactions of individual accounts, portfolio balancing measures, and planning opportunities and activities are recorded and updated in the software. Vista also manages its internal reporting, projects, and tasks in Salesforce. During the pandemic, when team members are always working at remote locations, Salesforce serves even more than usual as the system of record for all account and business activities.
That highly disciplined and efficient process consistency becomes critical as Vista grows and onboards new team members. Recently, the company made an acquisition that led to an entire team along with a large database of client records, histories, tasks, and activities becoming part of the organization.
The firm Vista acquired used an Apple software product called Daylite as its CRM system. Ten years’ worth of Daylite client records and other data needed to be transferred into the Salesforce environment. Vista decided to enlist outside expertise to accomplish this task. “Our new colleagues couldn’t be without access to their CRM,” Knight explains. “We had to find a way to let them do their jobs in Daylite until the end of one day and enable them to work comfortably in Salesforce, starting the following morning.”
Vista contracted with a local provider of technology services for this project. The consultants spent roughly half an hour learning about the requirements and goals for the Salesforce migration, assured Vista that they were on the right track, and transitioned the data. However, the process was flawed. Information didn’t land where it should have been, and the consulting team was unable to make the necessary adjustments. Eventually, the Vista stakeholders decided to reset the software to its previous state and start anew.
Initially, Vista had acquired Salesforce through NextGen, a professional services organization that eventually merged with Sikich. Knight says, “We knew that Sikich owned the critical wealth management industry expertise, so we reached out to them. Indeed, we found the same level of understanding and service excellence that we first experienced with NextGen. They just got it. They understood the data and where it needed to go.”
The Sikich consultants began with a thorough fact-finding and discovery process to ensure that they understood what Vista wanted to accomplish and how users needed to see their data in Salesforce. “I was pleasantly surprised by how thorough Sikich was,” Knight says. “The team didn’t just plug in Daylite data into Salesforce, they also wanted to know how we used it in our business. Then they went another step further and reviewed our automated workflows—which rely on that information—to surface any opportunities for improving them.”
Working with small subsets of the Daylite information, Sikich repeatedly mapped data to Salesforce and performed a test migration. Following feedback from Vista, the consultants finetuned the process until the outcome was exactly what the company’s Salesforce users needed. “By the time Sikich migrated all data from Daylite into Salesforce, we were one-hundred percent confident that all the mapping was correct and that all data, tasks, and activity sets were going to be where we wanted them,” Knight says.
Thorough testing and collaborative reviews of the results went a long way toward ensuring that the new team members were comfortable in making the switch to Salesforce. Knight comments, “The biggest fear of the team was that data might be lost, but when they saw how Sikich managed this effort, they believed in the process and were happy with the results. Nothing was missing or misplaced.”
As Vista had hoped, the new colleagues ended their work one Friday night in Daylite and found all their data in Salesforce on the next Monday morning. Following training in the new environment, they began using the Salesforce tools.
During the project, Sikich gave the entire Vista Salesforce database a health check and scrubbed data which had not been touched in years or which was no longer needed. When it was time to transfer Daylite activity sets into Salesforce as tasks, the Sikich team implemented some changes to make these assignments easier and more efficient for the users. “Because of the improvements Sikich suggested and put into practice for us, at the end of the migration project our Salesforce software fit our needs better than before,” Knight says.
From initial fact-finding to former Daylite users working comfortably in Salesforce, the entire effort took close to three months. At the beginning, Sikich provided Vista with a detailed schedule. Knight says, “The time Sikich spent upfront with discovery and learning about how exactly we run our business was fully worth it to ensure the right outcome. They actually completed the project a week earlier than anticipated. We were very happy about that.”
Vista and Sikich regularly met to share project updates and discuss improvements the consultants suggested. “Sikich was extremely responsive in reflecting our feedback back to us and refining the data migration once we saw their test results,” Knight comments. “They also kept us current regarding the consumption of the project budget, so there were absolutely no surprises.”
In addition to taking the time to understand and document all requirements and goals for a migration project like Vista’s, Knight recommends getting the right people involved throughout the process. He says, “You need stakeholders from different areas of the business to review and comment on the consultant’s proposals and test results. They need to be comfortable, especially if they are impacted by any changes in the working environment. Also, because of their expertise, they may observe details that are not as visible to the technology experts.”
Vista manages Salesforce without any outside assistance, but may work again with Sikich if complex needs arise. Knight explains, “We most likely will reach out to Sikich as we make other acquisitions. Even if everybody is already using Salesforce, you still need to map and migrate accounts and data to ensure a smooth transition. Sikich expertise might also help us create more advanced automations and complex, new workflows.”