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Alexa, Say Hello to Envestnet

Envestnet launches a new machine-learning aggregation and analytics tool, Envision, that incorporates Amazon’s voice bot, Alexa.

Advisors have a plethora of tech tools at their disposal, from messaging apps to powerful portfolio management platforms. Envestnet’s Yodlee is adding one more option: Alexa. Amazon’s voice bot will be linked with Envestnet’s analytics-powered tool, called Envision IQ, which utilizes a new data management solution, Envision, to provide advisors with real-time insights for their clients, the company announced today.

Designed for both mobile and desktop, Envision IQ will let advisors review client information on demand, at the time of their choosing, even if they’re not sitting in front of a computer, perhaps during a commute or on the way to a client meeting. Although beta testing revealed less than half of Envestnet users regularly talk to Alexa, the firm believes building a tool like this will make voice bots more popular among financial professionals, according to Frank Coates, the company’s executive managing director.

“Like all true innovations, it takes a little vision to see where it is headed,” noted Coates. “Users are at first confused by the power [of voice bots] because they are thinking of the advertised use cases—ordering a pizza, checking the weather, playing music—they don't yet see the use cases in business life that we do.” With its pairing to Envision, the firm foresees advisors using the tool to provide daily briefings that will, for example, incorporate data from markets and internal reports.

Not only will financial professionals be provided with information on request, Envision IQ will analyze the manner in which questions are asked and fine-tune its responses. “By collecting all of your questions and answers, the machine learns quickly what you want and can also serve up ideas for related questions and answers that might make your decision-making that much better,” Coates explained. “It will be like a genius assistant with photographic memory.”

As voice bots become increasingly common in laptops, home and auto sound systems—virtually any internet-connected device—Envestnet clearly believes advisors will be looking to talk to someone, and hope that Envision and Envision IQ will be part of the conversation.

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