Moving from one year to the next provides a natural opportunity to evaluate and plan. For advisors and their technology, planning might be the easier exercise. The evaluation exercise is sometimes more challenging and not necessarily as enjoyable. But you need to do it, especially as we start a new year.
When was the last time you met with your staff to discuss what is working well from a technology perspective? Generally, our meetings tend to focus on what is not working versus what is working well. When we discuss the technology solutions that are most successful, though, best practices are identified that facilitate success and which can be utilized for future projects.
Moving into a new year is also a great time to evaluate your open technology projects. Each open project should be re-evaluated to ensure it is still important. Perhaps your firm is in the middle of switching CRM systems, upgrading your technology infrastructure or is in the early design stages of a new website. Whatever the project may be, make sure your time and money are still being well-utilized. Conducting this evaluation is especially important for projects that are not going well. When speaking with advisors regarding unsuccessful technology projects, I consistently hear them say they wish they made the decision sooner to cancel the initiative. Don’t let this happen to your firm. If a technology initiative appears stuck and is not making any progress, push for a decision—one way or the other. There’s no better time to do this than at the beginning of the year.
Reviewing your firm’s operational procedures should also be an exercise conducted at the beginning of a new year. My experience with advisors is that their documentation of operational procedures has really improved over the years, meaning there is an actual written document of procedures. However, the ongoing challenge is to make sure that your operational procedures document is up to date and accurate. It is not easy to make this task a priority—other items will often be more important to complete. Therefore, as you start this year, make sure that one of your staff members is responsible for this effort.