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InvestmentNews takes advisers through the developments and innovations in technology that’ll change the way you do business today—and tomorrow.

T32013 Live A new tech quarterback for your firm

RIA operating center can simplify life; plus, PortfolioCenter update

By Davis Janowski

Feb 11, 2013 @ 1:14 pm (Updated 11:14 am) EST

Technology, OS, T3

There is a neat startup launching at at the Technology Tools for Today conference in Miami this week.

If it is able to live up to its claims, cloudRIA has the potential to simplify the lives of many an adviser. At its heart is the RIA OS concept.

"RIA OS [operating system], think of it as the technology quarterback for your firm," said Ryan Terwedo, chief executive and founder of cloudRIA (cloudRIA.com).

You can think of it as an online ecosystem where advisers can find many of the popular online applications they may already be using, for example the popular MoneyGuidePro goal-based financial planning application is there but others, even currently Windows-based applications will be added in the future.

As but one example the widely used PortfolioCenter portfolio management application is available.

"It all runs in your browser so don't have anything to install or maintain," said Mr. Terwedo, who explained that the service's offerings are by invite only for now and will be free for the first 150 firms to request an invitation.

In addition, another feature is workflow construction. The site and service provides live annotated wizards for building workflows in and between all the applications on cloudRIA.You can also run and keep audits up-to-date in real time.

Watch for more on cloudRIA soon.

And speaking of PortfolioCenter, I stopped by John Norwood's booth while he was setting up this morning.

Mr Norwood has his own consulting firm and is enjoying creating additional plug-in features for the ubiquitous PortfolioCenter application he helped create years ago, that is now owned by Schwab Performance Technologies.

His latest offering and the one he is discussing here is a composite building and reporting application for use with PortfolioCenter. While only a small fraction of RIA firms created composites there are enough out there he said to be of interest.

"With the push of a button, really, you can create these composite reports," said Mr. Norwood, who went on to describe in his understated way how a recent demo elicited screams of joy from someone at a firm who incredulously asked if he knew just how long doing this took from a manual standpoint.

Ran into Donnie Carpenter of Money Tree Software this morning. They will be announcing an open beta of an online version of the Money Tree financial planning application. I'm told it is not just a version of the program hosted online but takes the bulk of current features.

The open beta will be free and those that end up being active participants and make substantive contributions to improving the application will likely receive a discount for some period of time following launch.