How inclusive collaboration transformed product innovation for AdvisorEngine®

Company size

  • 100


  • New York, New York


  • Financial services

As a pioneer in digital wealth management technology, AdvisorEngine is laser-focused on providing its clients with the best possible solution to help them supercharge their growth. Whether bringing new innovative technology or iterating on already loved features, AdvisorEngine’s client-centric and collaborative approach makes them a best-in-class solution for advisors.



The team at AdvisorEngine had a large task at hand — transform their legacy CRM product into a new, innovative, user-centric CRM solution. Their mission was clear: gather and implement client feedback in a productive, accessible, and meaningful way while collaborating cross-functionally in real-time.

“We are not just vendors to our clients, they’re truly our partners, so It was important for us as we embarked on this journey to make sure that our clients were involved in every step of the process. When we were working on the first update of the CRM, we took all of our client feedback, printed it, cut it out and pasted it on a huge whiteboard. We would physically move the responses around to identify themes and create priorities based on actual feedback.” Rafal Czapski, Sr. Manager Product Design, AdvisorEngine.

Like many organizations, when AdvisorEngine moved to a remote working environment, they had to change their approach. With a dispersed workforce, the team knew that they needed to find a way to replicate the feeling of in-person brainstorming, iterating on the fly, and collecting real-time feedback in their new remote reality.


With the help of InVision’s collaboration tools, the team at AdvisorEngine has been able to break down cross-functional barriers, gather and implement real-time client feedback, create a culture of inclusive collaboration, and increase the speed from design ideation to product launch. Creating an amazing product that clients love.

“By using Freehand and doing more design sprints, we’re breaking down the barriers of the traditional siloed roles. We’re able to have a collaborative discovery approach and hear more cross-functional voices from the start into the design. Having that diversity from other teams or stakeholders in the design process creates a more holistic, better product.” Patrick Arnold, Head of Product, AdvisorEngine

As a client-centric organization, breaking down the barriers to allow for timely client feedback has been critical in the team’s success.

“A big part of how we’re building our product is by bringing clients into the process. Our clients are in Freehand designing the product alongside us. They don’t feel like they’re just observing; they’re actively participating. They aren’t designers or product professionals, so the ease of use for them to be able to jump right in and contribute has been very powerful in how we’re designing the product.” Rafal Czapski, Sr. Manager Product Design, AdvisorEngine.

The ability to iterate and ask questions on the go has been instrumental in how AdvisorEngine designs their products.

“There have been times where we’re asking ourselves questions about what we’re doing with the product and then we decide, hey, you know what — let’s go ask the client and show them quickly. It has been an impactful tool to help us solve problems and develop truly useful, client focused solutions.” Darren Gideon, Sr. Product Designer, AdvisorEngine.


Breaking Down Silos

For AdvisorEngine, breaking down the barriers to cross-functional collaboration, not only internally, but also with clients, is only one Freehand away.

“It really opened up the opportunity to bring more people into the design space. Before Freehand, we were limited to the areas that we were working in, both physically and on the departmental side. But now, we’re able to collaborate with more people with ease. Anyone can jump right into the project, understand the history of what has been happening, and get to the work faster.” Rafal Czapski, Sr. Manager Product Design, AdvisorEngine.

Removing the traditional barriers of communication and cross-functional collaboration has enabled the team at AdvisorEngine to increase the speed from design ideation to product launch. Now the team solves problems in real-time — reducing friction and removing roadblocks.

“We’ve been able to get to our end-goal faster. You don’t have to wait for designated meetings for clarification. If something comes up, you can quickly look at the Freehand, and work on the problem together.” Thomas Morrell, Product Design Lead, AdvisorEngine.

Inclusive Collaboration

Creating a space where everyone is a part of the solution has been a key to AdvisorEngine’s success. Not only are clients part of development, but Freehand has also enabled team members that might not feel comfortable speaking up on a call to actively participate in meetings and be more collaborative.

“InVision has changed the way that we do product discovery. It has made it a fun, interactive, and collaborative process. In the past, we would get on calls and it would be only one or two people speaking, but now we can do cross-functional mini design sprints and it’s very interactive. Team members can add a note or screenshot right into Freehand to share their idea, which completely changes the dynamic to be a much more collaborative experience. It’s helped our product discovery and requirements gathering.” Patrick Arnold, Head of Product, AdvisorEngine.

Replicating the in-person feeling was critical for AdvisorEngine to create a space for organic, free-flowing conversation.

“There is something so natural about collaborating in Freehand. It feels like you’re holding a marker, and making ideas happen. I can’t imagine doing that in another tool. It captures that human essence of being in person and talking to someone that is right next to you and getting work done together. Especially in today’s world when everything is remote. It makes for really organic communication.” Kirti Bansal, Sr. Product Designer, AdvisorEngine

Single Source of Truth

The speed to execution is also directly tied to the ability to work end-to-end in a single canvas.

“I work alongside our product managers using Freehand to launch new features. For example, we have one canvas where we include everything we’re working on: the discovery, user testing notes —  everything related to the project lives in this one single source of truth. Anyone can jump in to get what they need, no matter the role of the person or the stage in the process. Having one single source of truth makes it more efficient to get things done.” Kirti Bansal, Sr. Product Designer, AdvisorEngine.

By leveraging InVision, the AdvisorEngine team is able to harness the power of their design process to create a truly user-centric product that clients love.

This post includes personal opinions of those quoted and is not a recommendation by AdvisorEngine or those quotes to purchase any investment or other product or service.

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