“The technology you use impresses no one. The experience you create with it is everything.” This quote by user experience expert Sean Gerety is an important one for wealth management firms to consider in today’s environment of accelerating transformation in the industry.
Undoubtedly, if you ask most people around the industry if technology is important to their business, you’ll hear a resounding “yes!” In fact, in Fidelity’s 2018 RIA Benchmarking Study, 71% of firms identified themselves as strong adopters of technology. But the reality is, just having the technology isn’t enough.
In the 20-plus years that I’ve been helping firms get the most out of their technology tools, I’ve noticed that the thing that separates those who are successfully using technology from the rest is the level to which those firms make it a part of their culture; they embrace technology. They understand that the technology itself isn’t “the thing” that’s going to solve all their problems, but rather it’s how they use it every single day.
Face it, we could all have the same list of tools (and many do), but there is a wide variance when it comes to achieving real, tangible satisfaction and business results. Firms need to truly embrace technology if they want to grow and thrive. And with changes in client expectations and the war for top talent, technology isn’t just important — it’s critical.
When you embrace technology, it is no longer just a cool set of tools that may or may not get used. It is a key to empowering your talent, driving your strategy and achieving your goals. Embracing technology comes from culture, focus and commitment.
Drive a culture of innovation.
You’ve probably heard of digital quotient, or DQ, which was developed by McKinsey & Co. and has four components — strategy, culture, capabilities and organization. Based on my experiences working with hundreds of firms, it’s the culture aspect that is most critical to get a firm energized to embrace the opportunities that technology transformation offers.
Firm leaders must ensure the firm’s strategy includes technology to empower all parts of the business. Encourage (require!) associates to use these tools to drive impact in all parts of their day — that means getting the most out of your current ecosystem by increasing user adoption, deepening integrations and implementing streamlined workflows. But it also means introducing time savers like collaboration tools, mobile apps and client portals.
Once you do this, you can make technology a central part of your recruitment story to attract new advisors and associates, helping them see that your platform empowers them to really focus on what they do best and what they are passionate about (which isn’t picking or configuring technology!). Bring clients into this culture too by encouraging them to share feedback on their experience (delivered through technology) and ideas around what would improve how you provide value to them. This is a journey, not a destination.