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Experiment With Your Technology

Don’t stop at replicating legacy processes. New technology opens avenues to operationalize your business through greater efficiencies and a more engaging client experience.

This is a transformational time in our industry, and as entrepreneurs and advisors, many of us are looking for answers.

How should we stay ahead of ongoing, digital disruption and a regulatory environment in flux? How do we match and exceed the expectations of clients who are accustomed to the consumer conveniences offered by Silicon Valley companies? And how do we grow and sustain healthy businesses in the midst of so much change?

Every firm has its own vision for what success looks like. But I have seen a sharp divide between the firms that view technology investments as a burdensome expense, and those that see it as an accelerant to their business. In my experience, this difference in perception comes down to how much sweat equity a firm is willing to put into its tools.

Here’s what I mean. By now, many advisors have realized they need to invest in the technology that powers their work. After they sign on the dotted line and transfer to their new solutions, the first order of business is often to re-create the workflows used on the old system. It makes sense: A firm needs to adapt to its new tools, and everyone wants to get back to executing trades, monitoring performance and serving clients. Replicating a legacy process gives a firm a leg to stand on with their new tech, and it’s a great place to start.

But I’ve seen too many advisors stop there. They figure the work is finished when everyone can more or less do what they did on the old system, and they expect a return on investment from their new technology simply because it is new and different. Or, it could be that a firm has legitimately explored the outer limits of their software’s capabilities, and they are content in their mastery of it.

In either case, advisors mistake the journey for the goal. New technology opens so many avenues to operationalize your business through greater efficiencies and a more engaging client experience. What could you accomplish by fully implementing your new tech and playing with the possibilities it creates? What insights might you glean from your clients and your own business with the data at your fingertips? For that matter, do you know what your tech provider has been up to lately?

The best solutions grow and change over time, building in new integrations and functions. While it might be tempting to tune out of these advancements in favor of tried-and-true workflows, don’t discount the ways your platform of choice has evolved since you started using it.

On an industry level, I’ve seen the rapid pace of innovation create uncertainty. At times, it feels like we have more questions than answers, and no one can predict the future. But I’ve also seen advisory firms thrive when they embrace that uncertainty and use it as a catalyst to explore the value of new processes and the full capabilities their technology can offer.

Eric Clarke is founder and CEO of Orion. Follow him at @EricRClarke.

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