When it comes to implementing new technology at an advisory firm, consultants and tech firms point out that success requires making sure you’re buying the right technology to meet your needs and that staff are adequately trained — and sometimes compensated — to make said new technology part of the firm’s workflow. However, attendees and panelists at Junxure’s third annual advisor conference agreed there’s another roadblock to tech implementation: the firm’s leadership.
The final session at the third annual Junxure conference in Las Vegas on Friday featured a panel of advisors and consultants including Rebecca Pomering of Moss Adams Wealth Advisors, Troy Mertens of Orgel Wealth Management, Brian Jack of Budros Ruhlin & Roe and Erin Kincheloe, a former Junxure trainer and co-founder of All About It Consulting.
Under the guidance of moderator John Haas, a Junxure trainer, the panelists agreed that moving from ‘adoption to implementation’ of new technology required that staff be told more than that the new software would make them more efficient. And it’s not just older people who have a hard time with implementing new technology and processes.
“People of all ages are tortured by change,” said Pomering, the former Moss Adams consultant who took over leadership of the accounting firm’s wealth management arm in 2008. “We need to provide the strategic context” to staff members, she said, “of what we’re trying to deliver to clients and how this technology will make a difference” in their lives. “Otherwise, she said, “it’s change for the purpose of torture.”
In CEO Greg Friedman’s opening remarks at the conference, he related how he had been speaking to a young Junxure user before the conference who was frustrated by the refusal of his firm’s CEO and COO to actually use Junxure themselves. “You need leadership” at a firm to “commit to tech adoption,” Friedman said, warning that without commitment from the top, a “fish rots from the head down.”
So in the bookend session of the conference, moderator Haas asked the panel to comment on whether principals were one of the main roadblocks to implementation of new technology, like Junxure Cloud.
Jack said that if “the principals don’t use it, it won’t work; you can’t implement new software or any program changes” without commitment from the top.
Pomering said she has been regularly “surprised by how many founders I’ve seen who don’t use technology. They think it’s charming, but it’s irresponsible.” She said she knew of a principal in an advisory firm “who calls a friend of mine to say ‘I forgot my password to my laptop.” Pomering said of that principal, “He’s a jackass; you shouldn’t feel proud” of your technology ignorance and lack of use.
Mertens urged firm leaders to introduce new technology by “talking about benefits rather than features,” citing keynote speaker Deena Katz, who used the same phrase in reference to advisors’ marketing efforts, especially in firms’ digital presence, including social media.
Getting Staffers On Board