Russell Cross

XPLAN headlines for Managed Services clients - Issue 4

Blog Post created by Russell Cross Employee on Aug 3, 2017


This is the fourth edition of the monthly updates.  We have published the previous 3 issues into the news section on XPLAN so that you can peruse previous versions.  In this packed issue, we have updates in the following areas:


  • Site Upgrade

  • New User Interface / Collaborative testing site

  • XTOOLs - Get the full benefit for your business

  • Client Communication

  • XPLAN release 2.21 & 2.22

  • Meet the Team - Beth Harris

  • Training Spotlight + booking link


If any of your colleagues have not received this update, please share it with them and contact your Account Manager and let them know so that we can add them to our mailing list. 


If there are any topics that you would particularly like us to cover, please get in touch with us at


Site Upgrades


Over the next few weeks a number of changes will be made to your sites. 


Upgrading site hardware

We will be moving the live databases onto a new dedicated server.  This new server will enable enhanced resiliency, enhanced load balancing, enhanced response times and other behind the scenes improvements. 


New Client Menu structure

The new Client Menu structure is being implemented. Attached to this update is the quicksheet provided by our training team.  If you click here you will be taken to a video training session that explains each section in detail. For people who adminster their own site, please contact your Account Manager to arrange implementation.


Corporate Factfind 

A dedicated Corporate Factfind focused on companies is being launched.  This is only visible when the customer is a company.    For people who adminster their own site, please contact your Account Manager to arrange implementation.


New user interface / collaborative testing site


A number of developments have been completed in the last 6 months and deployed to you as soon as we were confident that it worked correctly.  These were things like the Individual Factfind, Valuation Wizard, Letter Wizard etc. We are always looking for ways to improve our processes and one of the areas that we idenitified is the way in which new functionality is deployed to your site.   We would like to work collaboratively with you so that you can input into the functionality that we are working on and have early visibility so that your business can be ready. 


The first example of this is the new XPLAN User Interface that we are testing.  A user guide is attached to this newsletter that outlines the new structure.  Please read it and familiarise yourself with the changes.  It is much cleaner than the current menus and better structures the pages into processes (e.g. Advice Process, Servicing and Administration).  Initial feedback has been very positive.  It is however, different to what you are used to so we want you to experience it before the changes are implemented.  Your Account Manager may be in contact with you in the next couple of weeks to talk you through the changes.


In the interim, if you would like to use the test site that we have setup in order to have a look for yourself then please contact your Account Manager.  They will arrange for your company to have access to the site. 


XTOOLs - Get the full benefit for your business


Are you aware of the adviser tools that are available with XPLAN? Do you know how to fully utilise them? We have objective focused tools and also a full cashflow tool. Those which you are licensed for are found under the Advice Process > XTOOLs menu but there may be others you are not aware of.



Description / Purpose


Full cashflow modelling, What if, and tax planning

Lifestyle Goals

Cashflow modelling for those with less complex finances

Retirement Funding

Determine progress against retirement goals pre-retirement

At Retirement

Determine whether your client can achieve income to support goals post-retirement


Determine whether your client can achieve savings goals

Mortgage Affordability

Calculates disposable income after effecting a new mortgage both now and if interest rates rise

Needs Analysis

Calculates protection shortfalls

Estate Planning

Determines IHT liability and allows modelling for lifetime gifts


Compare income for annuities with different features


We are planning some webinars to show you how you can use these XTOOLs to support your advice journey?


We will be in contact with you in June 2017 to offer to show you the benefits to your business by using these tools.



Client Communication


A recent article was shared with me about client communication and how important it was to do it in the right way and not "just do it".  It had some very useful pointers and I wanted to share it with you as a way that could enhance the way you do business or affirm the way you do things. 


The Communication module in a CRM system makes it very easy to communicate in bulk with your clients. Communication can take various forms - newsletters, statements, surveys, SMS's, etc. In addition, once a communication has been set up, it can be copied and re-used with ease. The above functionality makes it easier than ever to share valuable industry information with your clients. You can do this before your competitors do, or before your clients even realise they need it. This will make you indispensable in their lives. Also consider including prospects in your communications. Potential clients can be loaded in CRM and, with their permission, you can send them your communication, which could lead to future opportunities.


However, the technological ability to communicate with clients in itself does not ensure effective communication. Let’s have a look at the content.


Email statistics indicate that 35% of email recipients open email based on the subject line alone. Also consider that 35% of business professionals check email on a mobile device and that 84% of people aged 18-34 use an email preview pane. Subscribers below age 25 prefer SMS to email. ( These statistics alone reveal insights into how to craft effective communication to yield effective results. Below are some of the tips I believe can make your communication more successful.


Email body

Use the body of the email to tell the client something about what you are trying to communicate in your attachment. If you are sending a newsletter, don’t just mention in the body that your newsletter is attached. Say something that will make the reader want to open the newsletter (a summary of the theme of the content, for example).


Get to the point quickly

Like we see in the stats above, the subject and first line of your content are important. If your newsletter or general communication is going to be very long, chances are that clients will not read through it and might miss out on important parts of the message you are conveying. Also make the overall look-and-feel easy to read. Use double spacing to increase readability and bold to draw attention to something important. Consider the tone of your email. Do not just begin with a sentence, but rather start with ‘Hi’ or ‘Dear’.


Be very clear

When you type a communication, you know what message you want to convey, but remember that your client does not. Be sensitive to differences in knowledge. The chances are good that your clients have less technical knowledge about financial products or legislative changes. If you don’t take this into account, you could either create the perception that you are talking down to our clients, or make them uncomfortable as your writing goes over their heads. Avoid industry jargon unless it is extremely widely understood. Let members of your office read the communication before you send it, to make sure they understand the intention as well.



In CRM you can personalise communication using several variables. This will give your communication a warmer feeling by creating the impression that it was specifically typed for each client.


Divide and conquer

Communicating the right message to the right clients is not only a good idea, but in South Africa it is illegal to send unwanted emails to clients. Segmentation plays an extremely important role here. Make sure your client base is segmented properly. It will greatly enhance the ability to communicate in a focused fashion. Also you can use communication as part of your value offering. For example, your Platinum clients may receive a monthly newsletter with a statement, but the gold clients only a monthly newsletter, but quarterly statements.


Lastly, it is important to use CRM and not Outlook for client communication. Good communication is a two-way street. Your clients will start replying to your communication and if it was sent from CRM, it will be stored against the client’s record. The last thing you want is a client asking about something you communicated about and no one replying to the client


 - Danie Jordaan (click the link to go to his LinkedIn page).


XPLAN Release 2.21 & 2.22


The Managed Services team are currently testing XPLAN release 2.21 and 2.22.  There are a number of new developments and as part of the testing, we will be making sure that these work for you. The initial testing will be complete at the beginning of June and once we have the results of this, we will be communicating with you on which version and when we may be able to deploy this to you. 

Some of the key new items in across the 2 releases are:

  • Capture Adverse Credit History (defaults, CCJ, arrears, repossessions, bankruptcies, IVA)
  • Retirement Products Support (income drawdown products - record crystallisation events and associated follow on options)
  • Family Tree

The release notes will be shared with you prior to deployment.



Meet the team - Beth Harris, Implementation Consultant


Beth has been with iress for 2 years now and as one of the more experienced members of the team is always on hand to share her knowledge by helping the noobies out.


As an Implementation Consultant For Managed Services, Beth sets up clients XPLAN sites and work with data migration, data feeds.  She is also very good at helping them to adopt the new software. She treats every Implementation as a mini project. She works with some of iresses’ larger clients on their data feeds which is a new and interesting addition to her role.


She likes a challenge, no day is ever the same, and working with technology ensures she always have something to learn. Beth likes the challenge of finding solutions for some of our clients queries. She works with an amazing team of people, who she genuinely likes and admires, both directly in my own team but also other teams who pull out all the stops to help our clients both during and post migration.


We always like to find out an interesting fact about each other and share some of them with you.  Beth is no exception to this and all we can share is that in a certain part of Italy, where she was a groom for a rich horse owner, she is known as the "girl who drove into the Ravenna canal".  She managed to drive a vintage, blue, 1965 mini into the canal and ended up being rescued from the upside down car.



Training Spotlight


Training is delivered to you either through our classroom environment in Warwick or online via Webinar.  There is an array of courses that cover an extensive product range.  The iress products covered are:

  • Adviser Office
  • The Exchange
  • Trigold Prospector
  • XPLAN Mortgage

If you want to learn something new, have a new starter that needs to learn our system or just need a refresher on a particular topic, why not click on the button below to take you to the training site and see when the courses are next being run.




1 Kingmaker Court, Gallows Hill,

Warwick Technology Park, Warwick, CV31 1YW



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