Choosing Software That Works for Your Advisory Firm-Part 1

This is the first in a six-part series designed to present best practices to advisors on how to choose, implement and monitor new technology for an advisory firm.-Ed.

Most financial advisors implement technology solutions with the ultimate goal of increasing profits, efficiency and the value of their businesses. At ActiFi, we've helped advisors make many decisions on selecting the best technology solution for their practice. We've been called in by advisors when they don't get ROI from the software they purchase, and through years of experience, we've adopted a set of best practices in selecting and implementing the “right” software for your practice.

Consider this common scenario among advisors. After many months of consideration and research, you purchased a new CRM system. You were optimistic that many of the operational issues your firm had been facing would disappear and things would never fall through the cracks again. However, six months into the deployment you’re not receiving the benefits you had hoped. Sure, you have noticed some improvements, but the workflow efficiencies have not materialized. Did you just spend thousands of dollars in out-of pocket expenses and opportunity cost for what seems to be a glorified contact manager?

Unfortunately—according to numerous studies—when implementing technology programs, advisors failed to meet their business objectives between 60% and 70% of the time. The reason is rarely technical. 

Rather, the main reason advisor technology initiatives fail is because there isn’t a process in place that interprets a vision and puts it into a plan, where everybody understands the goals and their role, and the people have the resources to succeed. It’s interesting to note that most projects do not fail because of lack of time, money, or technology. Rather, it’s lack of process.

Process is the bridge between turning your ideas into tasks that actually accomplish goals. The reason your company needs a process is quite simple. A process helps you take high level business ideas and turn them into reality. 

How do you, your staff, and your clients feel when process is implemented poorly? Without process, you’re winging it. Your staff gets frustrated, you get frustrated, your business suffers, and ultimately, your clients get frustrated if you can’t deliver what you’ve promisedr.

At ActiFi, we implement five key process components, as seen in the 'Bridge' image above:

  • Assess
  • Envision
  • Plan
  • Execute
  • Monitor

In subsequent blog posts, we will decompose each of the aspects in this process and provide some specific advice on how to complete each component. Stay tuned.

UPDATE: See the next posting in this series, discussing the Assess step.

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