Lithys 2014: Advent Software - Best Community Design

Lithys 2014: Advent Software - Best Community Design

Company: Advent Software Advent logo.jpg

Entry submitted by: Al Castillo (AlSolutions Manager, Advent Direct Community

Community: Advent Direct® Community (

Lithy category: Best Community Design



Advent Software has a 30 year history of technology leadership in the investment management industry. Our client base spans over 4,400 firms, from established global institutions to small start-up practices, in nearly 60 countries. We view our clients as collaborators, and are constantly seeking to improve our solutions to break down boundaries between systems, people, and information.


Technology as an industry, whether consumer-facing or in the enterprise, is becoming increasingly personalized for the individual user, and as a technology company, Advent strives to be at the forefront of that trend. In November 2013, Advent Software unveiled Advent Direct® Community, a new, interactive way for Advent clients and partners – from disparate parts of the investment management industry – to connect, share information, and learn best practices. In what is so frequently an adversarial and information-hoarding environment, Advent Direct Community provides a unique opportunity for financial industry practitioners and firms to engage with each other and with Advent in an open, personalized, collaborative, and transparent forum.


With Advent Direct Community, we set out to design a website that mirrored our goals of building a personal, transparent community while also providing a simple and familiar experience that would be true to the overall Advent brand. The community design thus is consistent with the look and feel of other Advent properties – simple but bold, sophisticated colors and graphics that reflect our business and client base. From the beginning, we included members of our Marketing and Product teams to ensure that everything from menu navigation and other user interactions to font and color was on par with the high standard we set for other Advent applications.


From the very first click on the landing page, the user experience is all about personalization and ease of use. Instead of sifting through cluttered information that may or may not be relevant, new users answer a few brief questions at the onset and are then presented with customized content personal to their particular interests, minimizing the number of clicks to get to that relevant, recent content.




Advent screenshot1.png


For example, when a user decides to “follow” a product on Advent Direct Community, they are auto-subscribed to the Lithium discussion board for that product, their menu is customized to include a direct link to the discussion board, and a product tile is added to their home page. The tile uses a “counter” approach to highlight contributions from the last seven days on the Lithium platform – Discussions, Answers, and Ideas – and it also provides a count for new and recently updated knowledge base articles. With a single click on any product tile line item, the user can see a list of the three most recent items and by clicking an item link they can view the conversation.  Alternatively, they can start a new discussion or view all discussions. Three distinct actions, one click.



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The Lithium platform has proven immensely valuable in serving as a conduit between Advent and our clients. Through the discussion area and “Idea Exchange” areas of the site, it has enabled us to deliver on our promise of transparent communication and acting on client feedback. We are particularly excited about the “Idea Exchange”, a relatively new feature of Advent Direct Community, where users can suggest, share, and vote on new ideas for Advent products. This has generated a number of constructive ideas that we are incorporating into new releases for our products. The Idea Exchange is, in effect, co-creation between Advent and our clients in action.  In addition, the Lithium platform enables users to give peers a visual “kudos” for post contributions, something which users have particularly glommed onto and helps build a network between Advent product users. Posts that are the most active or receive the most kudos are the most prominently displayed.




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“I love how Advent has gamified Advent Direct Community. I really thrive off getting kudos from other users and rising to the top of the leadership board. I’ve also enjoyed the clean design, which allows me to navigate the site very easily. There aren’t a lot of things that distract me from finding what I need.” – Shawn Larrabee, Senior Control Analyst at JD Clark & Company, A Division of UMB Fund Services


“The design isn’t simple, but it makes things simple. I can see all the information I want to see right when I login and decide if I want to go further or go back to it later. It’s far from basic, but the design of the site makes it easy and basic for me to easily navigate to all the information that’s relevant to me with a scroll of the mouse.” – Tom Harmke, Vice President, Chief Technology Officer, Reaves Asset Management




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We attribute the professional, vibrant, and friendly design of the site to the remarkable success Advent Direct Community has seen almost immediately after launching. Within just three months Advent Direct Community surpassed Advent’s previous client portal in registration numbers, with 8,500 registered users. Ninety percent of registered users visit monthly and about 1/3 visit on a weekly basis. The number of unique visitors to our core products boards is consistently strong and growing – double-digit growth for our Axys, APX and Moxy products.  And users aren’t just visiting more often; they’re starting more conversations, getting more replies, and the number of answers being generated by the community is increasing.


“The enhancements to Advent Direct Community make me feel like Advent is interested in my success and my development personally because they are creating ways and avenues for me to quickly become a subject expert in my field. I didn’t really have a great connection with other Advent product users before and now I am easily able to find users who are in the same position as I am. I can reach out to these users and get the information that I need while at the same time create a strong network of professionals that allows me to excel at my job.” – Shawn Larrabee, Senior Control Analyst at JD Clark & Company, A Division of UMB Fund Services




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Lithium Alumni (Retired)
Status changed to: 2014 Lithy Submission

I'm so proud of our new site. As a web content creator and communicator, it's exciting to be able to engage with clients in such an interactive way. And the ability to receive comments and feedback from them in real-time is a game-changer for us. I've always wanted to provide clients with the right content, at the right time, and in the right place - finally, that time as come! Lisa Jennings Young, Principal Technical Writer, Advent Software.