[Editor’s note: Dan Skiles just stepped back from his 10-year role as our Tech Coach columnist. Here’s an abbreviated look at two of his best pieces from 2015, which remain interesting and relevant.]
Let’s take a walk down advisors’ Technology Memory Lane. Do you remember calling your custodian to check account balances, get real-time quotes and place trades? That all involved picking up the phone.
Also, back in the ‘80s, everyone actually opened the confirmations and statements they received in the mail. These documents were critical for staying informed.
Personal computers created a new technology world. Running on MS-DOS, the first versions of portfolio reporting systems were at best difficult to operate; you needed staff with special skills and the right temperament.
Importing data was another challenge. Most of this work was done via manual data entry, and a “cutting-edge” modem was needed to download files.
In the ‘90s, advisors began to embrace desktop technology. The first versions of Windows were gaining traction, creating a new world of desktop applications for advisors. Accessing account information and trade details, retrieving quotes and placing trades were the first features broadly available through a keyboard and a mouse. Email also became a critical part of advisors’ lives.
As the internet grew, it provided the foundation for new Web-based technology products and services. The days of locally installing multiple discs for new software and updates started to fade.
Mobile technology began to have a big impact in helping advisors conduct their business and serve their clients. The new challenge is deciding when not to work.
Should we expect the trend of better, faster and cheaper (relatively speaking) products to continue? While I don’t have a crystal ball, I do believe there are several “themes” that will play an important role in shaping the technology environment of the future.
The personalization of technology will be significant. Each day, you are building a “digital fingerprint” of how you interact with technology. This information can and will be more broadly used across multiple platforms and solutions.