How to Make the Most of Your Advisor Tech
How many pieces of technology does your advisory firm use to help run your day-today workload?
If you’re like most firms you likely have a CRM or financial planning application to help you manage work for clients. You may also have a portfolio management platform for client reporting and trade order management.
But that’s just skimming the surface. In addition to the advisor-centric technology, you also need accounting software, project management apps, and a whole host of additional pieces to help run the business side of your business side.
According to a Cerulli study, only 36% of advisory firms heavily embrace technology, but that number doesn’t tell the whole story.
It’s not about how much technology you use. It’s about using the technology you have in the right way.
And to be honest, most advisory firms have too much technology—and it causes indecision and inefficiency as a result.
If you want to create the best technology stack for your firm, you have to know what you need, know what your existing systems do, and maybe most importantly—know when to stop adding more technology.
The Trouble with Technology
When I ran internal sales for one of the industry’s premier portfolio management software companies, I saw firsthand just how important it is for advisors to understand their existing technology and all the features it offers.
Based on my experience, it’s not a stretch to say that 75% of advisors today replicate needs between systems and waste money by buying multiple systems with overlapping features.
The other 25% aren’t getting off easy, either. The other 25% are typically paying for technology that they either rarely use at all, or don’t know how to use well enough to get a good return on their investment.
If it sounds like I’m saying 100% of advisors are making some kind of mistake with their technology—well, it’s close.
But here’s the good news. You can be part of the section of advisors who don’t fall into the trap of overbuying or underutilizing technology.
I’ve got four steps for you to follow to make sure you’re maximizing the technology that you purchase.
4 Ways to Build a “Just Right” Technology Plan
- Identify Your Core Value
Go back to your firm’s story and how you want to run your business. What is most important to you as a company? This question should inform all the decisions you make about your growth and that includes the technology you purchase too.
If you’ve decided that your core value is going to be delivering a top-of-the-line digital client experience, then you’d better invest in a system that creates an intuitive onboarding experience and connects to your client portal.
Envision what you want your process to look like and then identify what technology is necessary to deliver it.
- Know What “Integration” Means—and What It Doesn’t
Integration is a hot word that can have a million different meanings. All too often, bad integrations between systems are one of the primary reasons an advisory firm’s staff isn’t as efficient as they should be.
Here’s the truth of it. Unless the integration offers specific data points to sync from system to system, truly communicating with each other, integration can be fake news.
If you decide to add technologies simply because they promise to integrate together, you’ll end up with multiple platforms and disjointed solutions.
Go back to your process and stay focused instead of falling for marketing messages that don’t live up to the hype.
- Plan for Your Implementation
If you begin thinking about implementation when you’re ready to purchase new technology, you’re already behind.
Unless you don’t have any clients or don’t need to show historical performance, you need to know where your data is right now and if it’s in good shape. Your new tech solution may need to migrate data from existing systems, and the last thing you want is data that’s incomplete or inaccurate.
Beyond data quality, you need to have a solid internal plan for who’s going to be the internal product owner for new technology.
If your team can’t dedicate time to becoming an expert, consider budgeting for a consultant to help you implement your new technology correctly so you can mitigate the risk of adding technology only part of the way.
Even if you bring in a consultant, you can’t expect them to do everything. Adding technology means your team will need to be prepared for how you want them to use it, and what it will replace (or add onto) in your current list of systems.
If it’s a big technology piece, like portfolio management, you’ll likely have to run both your old and new systems side-by-side for a period of time. However, don’t go into implementation without a surefire end date. I’ve seen companies fail to prepare their staff and end up paying for legacy systems in addition to their new systems, simply because one person on staff didn’t want to learn a new program.
- Train Yourself and Stay Current
Staying on top of the new features your technology partners release needs to become part of your job—or the job of whoever you’ve designated as your firm’s technology evangelist.
If you fall into a rut and don’t even scan the newsletters your partners send you, you’ll end up missing out on a lot of new productivity-enhancing tools. Not staying current with what your technology offers is the number one reason advisors begin to add other technology they don’t need that replicates something they already have.
It also becomes a negative ROI over time if you fail to leverage your technology to its fullest extent.
Get a Tech Stack that Works from Day One
For some advisors, the thought of vetting technology sounds like the worst part of their job.
And you know what? That’s okay.
We’ve gone to the effort to vet best-in-class technology partners for you. When you join the WealthPlan TAMP, you’ve got access to everything you need—and nothing you don’t.
Plus, they all work great together. (We checked.)
Ready to see how you can take advantage of our experience team so you can be confident in the technology you’re using?
By Sarah Mclean, Director of Strategic Development