Penicillin, erasable computer memory, and financial planning workflows

March 09, 2017 by Kyle J Johnson

A female financial advisor working on her laptop using workflows in NaviPlan

About the author

Kyle J Johnson

Revenue operations lead

Kyle provides revenue and sales analysis for all Advicent go-to-market teams. These analytics optimize Advicent pipeline forecasting, marketing strategies, and leveraged media channels to improve efficiency of sales operations. Kyle is interested in combining his three passions: tech, data analytics, and marketing, to drive success.

What do penicillin, erasable computer memory, and financial planning workflows have in common? Major use cases for each of these inventions were discovered as a side effect of the original intention of the invention.

Discovering other use cases for Advicent workflows

One of the greatest inventions ever was the discovery of antibiotics through the invention of penicillin, which was discovered by accident. When Alexander Fleming returned from vacation in 1928, he discovered an odd mold in a petri dish. He found that the mold inhibited the growth of a bacterium that causes infections in the petri dish. This mold, now named penicillin, went on to change the world of medicine.

In 1970, Dr. Dov Frohman was troubleshooting a bug in an early Intel computer chip. The computer chip’s memory was erased when exposed to UV light. In the words of every famous designer and developer, Dr. Frohman said “it is a feature, not a bug.” This faulty chip brought about a brand new industry, erasable memory computer chips or EPROM that was Intel’s most profitable product until the 80s. The core idea behind these “faulty” computer chips still lives on today in our computers and phones.

Advicent introduced our workflows, found in The Compliance Blueprint, as the only firm-level compliance management feature offered in financial planning software. In light of the current state of flux in the DOL fiduciary ruling, the implementation of our workflows into enterprise processes has provided knowledge about business cases outside compliance. Our workflows provide enterprise financial planning companies with efficiency gains and the ability to scale with growth.

Efficiency gains

Is your firm at peak operational efficiency? If you are not implementing a technology solution to enhance your processes, then you are likely not. Processes are only truly efficient if they have standardized inputs and outputs.

Technology provides the framework for these standardizations. Current back-office processes, such as the review of plans, are inefficient processes because human explanation and negotiation are part of the process. These processes require too much human interaction over the preferable standardized process that create efficiency.


Are your back-office processes scalable? In other words, would you be in major trouble if your main back-office employee won the lottery and left the company? This is a good sign that your process is not scalable and relies on people. Great processes allow you to bring in an entry-level employee and train them to follow the process designed in the software.

Often times, our processes rely on a lynch pin employee that has an ad hoc system that does not scale with the rest of the organization. The repeatability of process enables scalability because you can easily add employees.

In conclusion, with the current unknown state of the DOL fiduciary rule, implementing workflows and other features offered by Advicent still provides substantial value outside of the need to comply with the fiduciary ruling. Stay the course on the implementation of your compliance solutions because there are additional benefits to the implementation. Who knows? Maybe you will find something spectacular for your company by accident.

Click here to learn more about how Advicent technology can fit into your enterprise workflows and processes.