It is fun purchasing new technology solutions, right? Of course, it really depends on what you are purchasing and how cutting-edge and expensive the technology may be. I hope your firm is very thoughtful in your process for making technology purchase decisions. However, it is all too easy to overlook the emotional aspect of your technology purchases. Often, I encounter firms that are focused more on the emotional aspect of the evaluation—without being aware of it—rather than on other areas that deserve more weight and attention. Let’s discuss the areas where emotion can have too great an influence over your technology purchases and how it sometimes can lead you to make a poor decision.
The first area where emotion can easily influence your technology purchases is in the time it takes to make your decision. Often products are very complicated and involve many parts that need to be configured or customized prior to being deployed. Because of this, it is common for advisors and their staff to get weary and slightly impatient during the evaluation process. Then, one fairly irrelevant factor can lead to a rash decision. Another example is when you receive the latest invoice for an existing system and use this single event as the catalyst for switching to a new system. It’s OK to plan for this event and then make the switch so that you don’t have to pay for two similar systems. However, receiving the latest invoice on its own should not dramatically move up the purchase timeline on a new product without doing a full evaluation to determine its merits.
Do you listen to the primary users of the product when it is time to make a technology purchase? You should weight their input heavily. This is particularly challenging when the system being purchased is used across your entire firm. The reality is the “complainers” in an advisory firm are the ones who generally get the most attention, but that certainly doesn’t mean that their voice should have more weight in the purchase decision. For example, just because your trading desk thinks your CRM is terrible and refuses to use it, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you should purchase a new CRM system. I know that this is a simple thought, but it unfortunately happens all too often that a firm essentially gives in (or more appropriately gives up) to the complaints on a specific product and starts a whole new effort in finding a replacement solution. Don’t be surprised here: Sometimes the complaints about a technology product have more to do with training and understanding the system than they have to do with the actual functionality of the product.