Like the enduring phrase "One stop shop" the idea of an all-encompassing "adviser work-bench" IT application has endured, it seems, in spite of all the evidence that it cannot be built.
Some systems, it must be admitted, get close. They provide a good core CRM, much in the way of advice workflow, and a reasonably comprehensive set of advice tools. Some allowed research to be plugged in to that process.
The challenges with these systems has always been configuration. In practice few adviser businesses have had the resources or organisational dedication necessary to analyse processes and convert these into work-flows and documents necessary to get the most out of these systems.
Also, most businesses have always had other systems as well. Various email systems, template emails, office documents, hard copy disclosure documents, brochures, non-standard policies, and business lines that fell outside standard procedures.
Life companies (and others, remembering that most insurance advisers sell at least one other major line, be it medical insurance, home loans, or general insurance) have not always offered good integration even with systems that they have promoted.
The marketplace has also cheerfully pulled away from the all-doing 'work-bench' approach. There are always focused new pieces of software which very often do a better job than the 'integrated' tool on the main system. Many elect to use them when they exceed the functionality and usability of the core system - creating hybrids.
Now platforms are fragmenting as well. The time was you could develop for Microsoft Windows and be reasonably happy with the market coverage. But Andriod and iOS are now so big that they need to be addressed. Advisers like the easy sharing made possible by fast, slim, colourful tablets. Clients engage with them well.
I don't think the adviser work-bench idea is dead. However I do think that at best it will be limited to a system selected by many advisers to do many tasks - while other applications are also used for many processes.