A great attribute of our profession is the willingness and desire of advisors to exchange ideas and best practices about what is and is not working at their firms. Of course, this can be a challenge to interpret the information and determine what actionable steps to take.
Specifically, it can be hard to know if what everyone seems to say is the “best” is actually good technology advice for your firm. Considering all the variables involved and differences between advisory firms, these decisions often require deeper evaluation.
Common areas that advisors think about when comparing their firm with others include metrics like assets under management, office location(s), number of client relationships, number of employees, growth rate, etc. These are important details to understand and good starting points to compare notes with another firm regarding technology products and ideas.
However, advisors often put too much emphasis on these metrics as they think about whether a technology product might work well for their firm.
In fact, sometimes an advisor might completely “discount” the technology information shared from another firm simply because they are much larger or smaller based on these metrics. Remember that these metrics are just one component of interpreting the information.
Certainly, critical components for interpreting technology advice is the business similarities and differences between firms. In hearing the advice, try to understand if the firm is more of a financial planning centric practice, investment management, insurance solutions, maybe all of the above. For example, a financial planning focused firm might highlight all the success and efficiency gains that they have enjoyed in the client on-boarding process using their technology solutions.
Yet this might not be applicable to a firm that is primarily an investment management firm. The financial planning firm is likely gathering different and perhaps more client data points to build a comprehensive financial plan compared with firms that don’t share the same business focus.