During the past 11 blog posts, part of our twelve-part blog series, we covered a wide range of technology trends. The key question that you need to ask is: “What do these trends mean to me?” and more important, “What actions do I need to take that will help me achieve my business goals?” The answer to those questions will vary depending who you are. These trends would have dramatically different implications if you’re a solo practitioner or a chief technology officer at a large broker-dealer.
A useful framework to help you think about these trends is to begin with your organization’s top business goals. The only way a trend will benefit you is if you take advantage of it in a way that helps you move toward a concrete business outcome. At ActiFi, we often see advisors become enamored with technology and the desire to acquire the latest and greatest system when, in fact, the advisor already owns a similar system that is just not being effectively used. In these cases, we ask the advisor the following questions:
- What business outcome will change with the implementation of the new system?
- What processes changes will be required?
- What will be different with this new technology versus what you already have?
- What did you try in the past that didn’t work?
More often than not, we discover that the issue is not technology. Rather, it is that the business objectives were never fully discussed prior to implementation. The changes that were supposed to occur because of technology were never fully realized (and thus, people got frustrated) yet in reality, the people at the firm never truly understood what exactly it was that was supposed to improve.
The key to ensuring this doesn’t happen to your firm is to focus on the business outcome you are looking for versus focusing exclusively on the technology. Many times it may be relatively easy to implement a new tool or technology from a purely technical perspective, yet gaining adoption and changing the way a firm does business is much more difficult.
In looking at the trends we have drawn the following conclusions:
- Technology is evolving rapidly and the ability to harness its power to improve your business is increasingly becoming more important.
- Using workflow may allow you to delegate and automate tasks that currently take time away from your firm’s most valuable people.
- Together, technology and workflow can increase your firm’s revenue, profits, employee satisfaction and client satisfaction!
- As quickly as technology evolves, human beings remain the same and thus behavioral change and user adoption remain the most difficult issues to manage when it comes to taking advantage of technological trends.
As we look at the 10 trends we have discussed in our previous posts, they cover a broad range of topics and capabilities. We recommend that you use the framework above to identify the three trends that you believe will have the greatest impact on your business. As these trends evolve relatively quickly, it is important to incorporate these technology trends into your annual business planning process and determine how these trends will enable your future business strategies.