Frequently Asked Questions about the Ezra Group WealthTech Integration Score™
Table of Contents
What is the WealthTech Integration Score?
The Ezra Group WealthTech Integration Score was developed to simplify building a reliable and compatible tech stack. However, it is also an effort to bring transparency to a topic that is not well communicated by many application vendors.
One of our goals in developing this scoring system is to be transparent on the methodology that involves prioritizing three areas – breadth, depth, and miscellaneous (security, API availability, and developer support). Our reasoning is detailed below.
How are product scores calculated?
Here’s how our scoring methodology looks at applications’ integration support across three criteria:
This criteria is a measure of how many integrations a vendor has built for their application. We did not want this criteria to be weighted too heavily to avoid vendors trying to game their score by building many simple integrations (i.e., SSO), which is why it is only weighted at 15%.
We also do not simply use the raw number of integrations, since each application category is different and can have different integrations requirements. We developed a formula to score each application relative to the application with the most integrations in their category.
To calculate the breadth score for each application, the raw number of integrations is divided by the largest number of integrations in the category, with a maximum score of 1.0.
For example, if a CRM application has 30 total integrations and the CRM application with the most integrations has 50. 30/50 = 0.6, which would indicate average breadth. Another CRM application might have 45, so 45/50 = 0.9, which would be considered excellent breadth.
A large number of integrations alone should not be enough to score well, which is why we also have the depth criteria, which dives deeper into the specifics of each integration. How does data flow between applications, is it single or bi-directional? What types of data can be transferred? Is it only SSO or an embedded widget?
This is why the depth score makes up 60% of the total Weathtech Integration Score. An application must support integrations with most if not all of the applications on our list to score well in this metric and in ways that make sense and are useful to the end user.
Several applications have many integrations, but the integrations offered are for apps few advisors use. Using key applications to gauge depth ensures an application with a good integration score offers deep integration capabilities to the applications that matter (and are used) the most.
Methodology also considers that some applications don’t need to integrate – for example, competing CRM systems. Researchers built into the methodology expectations of integrating with custodians, financial planning apps, and so on.
Ezra Group researchers used a five-point scale to judge integration depth:
- 0: no integration
- 1: Single Sign On (only)
- 2: Indirect integration (pop-up window, etc.)
- 3: One-way data, either downloading or uploading
- 4: Bidirectional data
- 5: Best in class (tight integration between RIA and vendor, live data, next-gen features)
Out of the thousand or so scores researchers did, less than two dozen applications received a top score in this criteria. While difficult to score high in this category, with depth making up 60% of the score, doing so ensures that high-scoring apps offer the highest quality and deepest integrations in their respective categories (and overall).
What are the key applications in the scoring?
Ezra Group developed a list of “key applications” to ensure that highly-rated apps offer the integrations RIAs need and demand. This list is the result of comprehensive research on both the most commonly used applications by RIAs as well as ones our research showed is essential to a complete tech stack.
While scoring applications, our researchers look for deep integrations with these apps. This way, choosing a high-scoring app will feature useful integrations with the following apps. We’ll periodically review this list based on ongoing research and industry trends.
This portion of the score has the least weight, at 15%. An application can’t game the system with a ton of simple integrations, they must have deep integrations with other applications to do well in the next category, depth.
Our research team will review the list of key applications on an annual basis and potentially add and/or remove applications as market share changes.
What are the Integration Score badges?
Ezra Group has developed two badges to recognize products that have integration scores of Excellent or Superior. When either badge is awarded, vendors are encouraged to display them on their websites or in marketing materials.
Vendors must complete the Ezra Group Integration Vendor Survey for their products to be awarded a badge regardless of their score. If you have completed a survey within the previous 12 months, you will receive a separate email with your badge image and information.
The badges are assigned for Superior and Excellent scores according to the following table:
Why did my integration score change?
The “Breadth” score, which accounts for 15% of the overall score, is the only one that could change without an update from the vendor, because it is calculated relative to all the other apps in the category, so changes to them can affect the Breadth scores of the other apps in the category.
As detailed in our methodology, the app with the most number of total integrations receives a weighted breadth score of 1.5 and the other apps in the category are scored relative to that, so if another app in the category had half as many total integrations it would receive a Breadth score of 0.75 (half of 1.5).
This means if an app were added to the category and it had a larger number of total integrations than the previous top in the category, or if any app in the category increased its total integrations to have more than the previous top, then the Breadth score of all apps in the category would be recalculated relative to the new top.
Why are my scores not updated on the Kitces Advisor Tech Map?
All changes made to the Kitces AdvisorTech Directory are synchronized to our database with a one month lag. This means that when the Directory adds/changes/modifies any product, we will mirror those activities as well, which may require rescoring your product.
What can I do to improve my score?
If you have NOT recently submitted an integration survey or would like to update your integration information, please complete the Ezra Group Integration Vendor Survey. Upon receipt of your completed survey, we will recalculate your score and if your score meets the Superior or Excellent Badge thresholds, a new badge will be issued for your use.
If you would like to learn how our experienced team can assist you with developing, documenting and testing your code to improve your application’s integration score, reach out to us here.