Last week we discussed some key issues to consider when selecting technology for an independent advisory firm. This week, we will discuss the types of technology you will need and list a few options for contact management and financial planning. Next week, we will conclude our series on how to choose your technology with a discussion of some products for investment/portfolio analysis.
The technology needs of an advisor will depend on the services offered. We will assume you are a solo practitioner offering asset management and financial planning services, and that you do all of your own investment research. Based on this, here is a short list of the types of technology you will need:
1) Contact Management
2) Financial Planning
3) Investment/Portfolio Analysis
Customer relationship management (CRM), or contact management, software is the heart of your business. It allows you to communicate with clients, schedule and track activities, create business processes and much more. A few years ago, while attending a conference, a well-known advisor technology expert commented that many advisors were using Microsoft Outlook as a CRM, which he considered a poor choice for this purpose.
There are really two options. One sits on your desktop and the other is on the cloud. Advisors are increasingly turning to the cloud for the following reasons. First, it expands the possibility for integration with other software. Second, a CRM on the cloud provides advisors with access from a mobile device. We will focus on cloud-based options. Salesforce may be the most robust system, but it is also a bit pricey. Redtail is another good option and is much less expensive. Both products have a number of integration partners. Here are two links with more options.