As an advisor, you’ve undoubtedly heard how you should use technology in your practice. At this point, you’ve probably even memorized the elevator pitch about why it’s time to move past the dinosaur age and embrace whatever fancy new fintech is trying to change the game.
This is not going to be another article telling you what you already know. In this article, we provide easy steps for how you can actually adopt new technologies to improve your practice while tackling the unique challenges you face as an advisor.
Enticing technologies are being developed every day that promise to change your life.
In practice, onboarding new technology can be difficult, and time-consuming, and in the end, it may not even create any real impact.
But there are three easy steps you can take to change this, to finally reap the rewards that technology offers.
Technology Is a Friend, Not a Foe
The pace of tech change in the wealth space has been a source of frustration for many advisors we’ve talked to. Digitization, artificial intelligence (AI), and online tools all offer immense promise, but trying to take advantage of these technologies has been disappointing for many. Often the tools are hard to use, they don’t communicate with each other, or aren’t developed with the necessary insight for how they’ll impact the advisor practice.
Meanwhile, there is more pressure than ever to embrace these technologies as direct-to-consumer players continue to deliver value and win the hearts of clients through digitization. Wealthsimple forever increased investors’ expectations for the online experience by simplifying onboarding and offering robust reporting while managing to still deliver the human experience advisors are known for.
But rather than thinking of technology as a competitor, think of it as a co-worker that can help you better serve your clients. Adopting technology into your practice can truly be a seamless experience if you follow these three steps.
Get Control of Your Data
“The advance of technology is based on making it fit in so that you don’t even notice it, so it’s part of everyday life.” — Bill Gates
The starting point for any successful advisor system is having a robust data strategy. When new tools are introduced without a seamless integration strategy, the use of technology becomes an inconvenience rather than an advantage.
Why is this such a common problem? Usually, this results from challenges with legacy platforms. Data should be able to flow easily from prospecting to onboarding to service to portfolio management.
How can you solve it? Use newer platforms with better integration capabilities. Technology that can integrate easily with everything else is key to making your life easier. An integrated platform will serve as the backbone for automation to increase efficient data insights and, ultimately, the advice you provide to your clients. It also eliminates the frustrations of data re-entry, human error, and other challenges. Integration is essential to enabling a long-term technology strategy that supports all your practice goals.
2. Understand Your Core Business Needs
“What new technology does is create new opportunities to do a job that customers want done.” — Tim O’Reilly
After establishing a data strategy, many advisors continue their quest to automate processes by creating workflows that leverage customer relationship management (CRM) and portfolio management tools with other systems. But usually, this is easier said than done.
Why is this such a common problem? Often out of eagerness to quickly digitize their practice, advisors or firms adopt new technology without fully understanding the core processes that need support. This creates frustration, sacrifices productivity, and introduces a new set of challenges.
How can you solve it? Instead of rushing into a decision to invest in technology, first, focus on how your business operates and it’s core requirements — then you can find tools that fit the needs. By following the correct technology implementation procedure, CRM and other applications will provide a stable infrastructure to support your growth without having to restructure your business. The right system ensures that everyone in the practice is on the same page, and as a leader, you can efficiently assign, track, and manage processes.
3. Leverage Data and Insights
“It’s not faith in technology. It’s faith in people.” — Steve Jobs
The final frontier for advisors is improved data insights. AI is a hot topic in the industry press right now. All advisors want to use data to make smart decisions and help equip clients with investment advice. But in practice, many AI tools either inundate the advisor with an impractical amount of information or try to give recommendations directly to clients.
Why is this such a common problem? As a new technology still working out its kinks, AI systems often lack the nuance to directly communicate with a client. Technology can’t replace a strong client relationship and the trust that comes from a personal connection.
How can you solve it? Successful AI tools don’t ignore the human aspect of the advisor practice. Look for systems that will mine trends and insights to provide the top two or three recommendations for an advisor to review and decide how they can apply them to a specific client situation. Good AI tools will also improve the reporting and organization of data so that clients and advisors can understand it, and advisors can more easily choose the most pertinent recommendations to relay.
The Bottom Line
Technology is not just another piece of the puzzle — it should be the catalyst that drives your business forward and puts you ahead of your competitors.
At the end of the day, if the technology you’re using is not enabling you, it’s not creating value. When business processes and technology integration don’t align, the only results you’ll see are inefficiency and frustrations.
Changes in technology, business processes, and the roles of staff in the business should all work hand in hand. As a business owner, you have a unique opportunity to customize and tailor your technology platform to meet your business needs. Spending time to work through and understand your specific requirements will pay off over time and free you up to focus on your clients and growing assets.
If you are looking for a customized technology solution that is the right fit for your business needs, contact us to learn more about how we can help.