There’s a mansion in San Jose, California, with a backstory that can teach advisors a lesson about technology. Once the personal residence of Sarah Winchester, the widow of firearm magnate William Wirt Winchester, the mansion today is an architectural marvel — but not in a good way.
The mansion began as a simple farmhouse before Winchester turned it into a seven-story mansion — without the help of an architect. As a result, the mansion was constructed without any real plan and has oddities, such as stairways that lead to nowhere, windows that overlook other rooms, and doors that open to the outside instead of another room.
What does a mansion with no construction plan have to do with advisor technology? As firms age, they often add tech without a real plan for how it fits in with their existing solutions. Many firms add new software for just a few clients, or only halfway implement the hot new product from the conference circuit.
The result is a firm can be left with a tangled mess of technology instead of a tightly integrated and cohesive system.
To understand how the firm’s technology works together to benefit growth, ask these seven questions as you review your tech stack to determine its value.
- Why Do I Have This Piece of Tech?
Begin your analysis with an if/then statement: Do we need this specific software? If yes, then why?
Here’s an easy way to identify why you have a certain software. Determine how much revenue you tie to each piece of software; this will provide its value and reason for existence. If the software is revenue-positive, it has to be clear why.
- How Does This Tech Help Me Grow?
In addition to understanding profitability, you need to be able to attach real growth numbers to your tech. There are two ways tech can help with growth. It can either add scale and efficiency, or it can be a tool to help win new business.
Good tech is not always about adding more clients. Operational efficiency is the backbone of your end-client support — both need to be addressed in growth plans. By helping your internal team with added scale, you can increase profitability.
- Do I Get the Right Support?
Imagine going to a three-star Michelin-rated restaurant; you can’t wait to get in and try the chef’s latest creation. But then you wait four hours for your food, and the waitstaff completely ignores you. Even the best food in the world won’t taste as good when you receive poor treatment to go with it.
The same is true for technology partners.
Rolling out new tech to your team with no support behind it will negatively impact your firm. Eventually that experience will trickle down to your clients.
When reviewing your tech or looking to add a new solution, be sure you completely understand the resources each vendor offers your firm for training and support over time.
- Will My Software Be Updated Over Time?
You also need to ask vendors about their development road map. The technology you use should be enhanced the longer you use it.
Knowing what’s coming can save you from purchasing tech that duplicates functionality with another solution you already own. Know what each offers before you can take advantage of all its features.