Fintech - Wealth Management
saved vs building chat in-house
internal chat launch
customer chat launch
Entole™ by Grupp Organization LLC is a company committed to enabling high net-worth families with the singular intent to put families first and help them flourish. Behind the practice at the Grupp Companies were the values that have not changed since its inception in 2005: providing full transparency, doing what is best for the family and individual, and upholding integrity in all processes and actions. Seeing the family office industry gap for modern technology, Grupp Organization embarked to elevate the industry through Entole. Entole is a modular command center that centralizes all essential family office functions.
Without a partner like Sendbird, there's no way anyone's going to deliver a reliable messenger in their internal team's hands in 60 days, and the client’s hands in 90. That's just not going to happen. Period. End of story.
As Entole continued to grow and expand, bringing on more families into the fold, growing pains became evident. As a family office, excellent communication between the business and clients is an expected standard (B2C), but intra-communication between clients (C2C) is also very important. Grupp Organization consists of several different subsidiaries and is responsible for communication across them all. This was a challenge for a lean team with a growing user base and acted as the springboard for Grupp Organization’s search for a robust chat solution.
Due to the nature of the company’s work and the sensitivity of client information, there were financial rules and regulations that participants in the family office industry were required to adhere to. Furthermore, older generations in these families were very used to communicating over SMS, which posed another obstacle. “We needed to find a way to communicate with our clients in a way that was secure and auditable,” explains Christian Grupp, COO of Grupp Organization, “and e-mail was not going to cut it.”
Within family offices, families need to reach the office at any hour of the day or night, making ad hoc communication very commonplace. Keeping users off of Facebook, WhatsApp, etc., was integral.
Finally, Entole’s ultimate goal was to use chat to build a network for enterprising families, where they could collaborate, share business ideas, and participate in joint charitable efforts. Grupp elaborates, “if users are evaluating a deal together, or in philanthropic activities together, they can talk to other people, other family offices, invite them in on a private platform and then be able to connect and collaborate.”
These cumulative factors were a challenge for a lean team and were the primary drivers for Grupp Organization’s search for a robust chat API.
Towards the end of the’s selection process, the team had evaluated nearly 30 different solutions before selecting Sendbird. The first and foremost requirements were a solution they could easily embed into their current systems, have capabilities to white label, a well-designed API, and provide the necessary feature set for their roadmap.
Sendbird supported their’s checklist to the letter, with group channel and message threading enabled capabilities, single and multi-push notifications, and voice and video messaging.
What filtered out many competing vendors were Entole’s need to deep-link conversations between its proprietary software and other third-party systems. This eliminated many open-source options, as most would have required a modification to the core of these solutions, or at least very heavy integration work for many of the “commercial, off the shelf offerings,” says Grupp. Every community on the Entole platform has a corresponding message thread, and the team sought an easy two-way link, which proved to be too complex of a task for these other solutions. Grupp explains, “the way all the metadata has to get linked up, it added a lot of additional complexity, but was definitely a must-have on our prioritization list.”
While they did consider building their chat solution in-house, they ultimately decided that it was more cost and time-effective to outsource messaging. Grupp explains, “we do the build or buy conversation anytime we put technology in place. So we always say, what would it take approximately to build it? Is there something out there that we can buy? And then, directionally, which one has the better cost-benefit analysis? With our very lean team, we did not have the resources nor bandwidth to build such a product. So going with Sendbird was a pretty quick decision. Maintaining that large of a platform is rough.”
Concerning cost, Grupp states that during evaluation, they calculated “what is the relative top? And then what are the licensing costs? How much are we going to spend to maintain it and build out the extra functionality we need? Sendbird was actually the cheapest vendor looking at total cost of ownership.”
“With the velocity of the Sendbird product team and what they’re doing with [chat], there are huge teams of people who are constantly making the platform better. Why reinvent the wheel?” concludes Grupp.
Implementation moved very quickly. From project launch to having functional messaging for the internal team within 60 days, “there’s no way anyone’s going to be bootstrapping a messenger in their team’s hands this quickly. That’s just not going to happen. Period. End of story,” says Grupp. Following this stage, the team delivered fully functional chat within the hands of customers in 90 days. “Sendbird worked so quickly we didn’t even finish the other prototypes,” Grupp maintains, “overall, we completed the implementation in approximately 180 hours of total work time.”
Immediately, customers’ reception to Grupp Organization’s chat was very well received, and satisfaction rates were high. Clients “loved it, as they were able to communicate with us on the business side, as well as each other with just the push of a button. Additionally, the interface and text element was very familiar with what customers were used to, which further cemented the improved user experience.”
According to Grupp, with Sendbird, the company saved “6 months to a year” of their product roadmap versus building chat in-house. Grupp elaborates that they “had very little maintenance with the platform because we’ve outsourced all of that to Sendbird. We’ve outsourced a significant majority of the security work, the chat servers, so we can focus on a shared responsibility model that lets us all do what we’re best at.”
Today, with the burden of messaging uplifted, Entole can continue focusing on revolutionizing the family office industry, concentrating on management, private equity deals, philanthropic and non-profit projects, and much more. With Sendbird powering chat, Grupp seeks to help families flourish, leveraging technology, risk management, and best practices to improve the family office ecosystem.