There’s no doubt that advisors are quickly adopting mobile technology. Everywhere I look I see iPhones, iPads, Droids and a variety of other smartphones and tablets. The question I always ask advisors is: “Do you mainly use these devices for checking email and surfing the Web, or have they really changed the way you serve your clients?” By design, these devices are powerful and should make it easier to serve your clients. Furthermore, they should be leveraged throughout all aspects of your firm—not only how you and your colleagues use them, but also how your clients will use them as they work with your firm. Fully utilizing the benefits of these devices doesn’t just happen; you need to have a defined strategy.
Whenever I speak with advisors regarding their success with mobile technology, I always ask who is in charge of the effort. If everyone at the firm uses their own preferred device as they see fit, there is a real risk that only a few members of your firm are proficient with the technology. You would never take this approach with other hardware or devices used by your firm. Today, mobile technology is reaching this same level of importance in advisory firms. Various technology solutions operate better on certain devices. For example, if your portfolio reporting system operates best on an iPad, then you don’t want your colleagues using it on an Android tablet. Assigning an owner for your mobile strategy will ensure the right device is purchased and will facilitate best practices in using the technology.
The power of truly leveraging mobile technology is greatly amplified when you are out of the office and you receive that critical demand for attention from your largest client. “Out of the office” could mean you are at Starbucks down the street or in another part of the world on vacation. As long as you have access to a secure network, your location doesn’t matter. In fact, true power users of these devices no longer use the “out of office” feature on their email, because their access to information and their ability to respond to requests doesn’t dramatically change. Many advisors take pride in this extra level of service.