At first mention, the difference between a platform and ecosystem isn’t obvious. But at Carson, saying the former will result in you forking over a $5 bill. But the difference between the two words goes deeper than a reluctant reach into your wallet.

To us, a “platform” is the base level of services you could provide a client. Everyone at least has a platform these days – it’s like having a website. “Ecosystem” goes a step further and then some – it is the all-encompassing future of client experience, from investments to technology.

With a platform, you aren’t necessarily getting the best of the breed, you’re getting the best your vendor offers. An ecosystem is connected. Its parts speak to each other and adjust accordingly. So why the dropped jaws when someone drops the “p” word at Carson?

A platform is stable, consistent, flat and stationary – not necessarily bad qualities, but not great either. “Not bad but not great” is not the level of services we think advisors should offer their clients. An ecosystem, on the other hand, is as if a coach handpicked the best players in the league for each position. It’s comprised of the best solutions and technology.

It all comes back to the digital client experience (or CX, as it is known in the marketing world). What kind of experience are you giving your clients?

Want to see the new Carson CX in action? Click here to learn more.

On a basic level, using an ecosystem over a platform is about creating a solid digital client experience. On a deeper level, it’s about continually listening to our partners and adding value. Choosing an ecosystem over a platform is about more than keeping the client in mind when selecting or building technology. It’s about keeping the client at the center of attention in everything we do.

Ecosystems Thrive In Big Brands

Take a look at the top global brands of today – Apple, Google, Amazon, Microsoft. We could argue about what makes these brands so successful, but their quick ascent and the remarkable gap between the top four brands and the rest of the pack is unquestionable. I’d argue that many of these brands with such great success have curated more of an ecosystem rather than a platform.

Ecosystems nurture and thrive on innovation. Platforms ignore change until it’s too late. It’s why you see a lot of brands drop off the top-15 chart as 2018 nears.

They didn’t adapt to their customers’ changing needs or the changing landscape. People aren’t looking for a low-cost product or service, they’re looking for a high-value product or service. And they aren’t necessarily looking to save money, but to save time. A great client experience hones in on that and simplifies lives.

By no accident, the brands at the top of the list are well-known for their exceptional digital client experiences, which are largely built on ecosystems. Apple offers a slew of products and services from laptops and phones to music streaming and television alternatives. Microsoft owns LinkedIn and Skype among other companies. And Google is always online for you.

At Play in the Financial Industry

In the financial industry, platform vs. ecosystem comes down to the question: “What adds the most value to my client?” More often than not the answer will be an ecosystem. All the services are connected and work together to create the best client experience possible.

That outcome is only reached by listening to clients and knowing their needs – an activity platforms don’t require. By asking for feedback from our clients, we’re able to champion the experience for our advisors. Our clients’ voices are important and second loudest only to the clients they serve. We listen, deliver and validate.

A lot of technology platforms grow to a certain level until someone has to curate and manage it for you. That’s not what the future of experience should be. At the end of the day you shouldn’t have to rely on a system that doesn’t take your needs into consideration.

We want advisors in our ecosystem to have a voice the same way their clients do. Brands and firms don’t want customers or clients going somewhere else for a service they could provide. An ecosystem provides the environment to focus on client experience. The difference between a platform and ecosystem is more than a $5 bill – it’s the potential success of the company.

Carson CX webinar button

facebook twitter linkedin mail print
Share Post: facebook twitter linkedin mail print
Recent Posts

Listening Effectively and Breathing New Life into the Industry with Suzanne Siracuse

By: Jamie Hopkins
In today’s episode of Framework, Jamie talks with Suzanne Siracuse, former Publisher and CEO at InvestmentNews. Suzanne has a long history in the financial planning profession and oversaw the growth…

Retirement Income Planning and Playchecks with Tom Hegna

By: Jamie Hopkins
On today's episode of Framework, Jamie talks with Tom Hegna, a thought-leader in the income planning for retirement space. Tom spent time in the military prior to entering the insurance…

Leading with Integrity and Building a Culture of Success with Bob McKillop

By: Jamie Hopkins
In today's episode of Framework, Jamie talks with Bob McKillop, head men’s basketball coach at Davidson. Bob started off as a collegiate player (via a failed run at baseball) but…

How to Safely Return to the Office as COVID-19 Restrictions Lift: A Guide for Business Leaders

By: Jessica Harrington
We have spent a large portion of 2020 in a state of limbo. Now that many regional lockdowns have lifted, business owners are faced with a number of questions about…
1 2 3 61