It’s hard to believe it is 2020. We have seen so much growth and change from a technology product perspective in our profession, yet perhaps not enough progress has been made for some systems. For example, back in 2010, desktop-based applications were fairly common in an advisor’s office. Now, almost everything is cloud based or some version of a “hybrid” type solution, leveraging installed components connected with a cloud environment.
Although you still might have desktop-based applications used by your firm for many services, now is a good time to think about the “state” of your overall technology environment and what your systems might require as we enter 2020 and beyond. No doubt this is a broad question, so here are some ideas on how to approach your evaluation.
Tracking and Prioritizing Product Updates. Take a look at all your technology systems and determine when the last time was that each product received a material update. Was it in 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016 or even earlier? Then, consider the product’s level of importance to your firm, and give it a higher weighting if it is a more important system. Ideally, products that are more important to your firm should be receiving regular updates and improvements. If that is not the case, then you have a clear action item for 2020.
Technology Risk Rating. Every technology product that you use involves some level of risk. For example, the risks could entail an application’s overall reliability, the level of importance to your firm, the difficulty of switching products, the impact to your clients, or even how well you and your staff understand how to use the product.
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It is important to manage the risks with a technology product. Too often advisors understand the risks, but don’t have a strategy to mitigate or reduce the them and suddenly the risks can increase and become a problem that requires immediate attention. Therefore in 2020, make it a goal to reduce your technology risks.