Avoid Technology Bloat in Wealth Management
Technology vendors offer lean, agile solutions for buyers seeking answers to their ongoing problems. As RIAs and wealth management firms continue to suffer staffing shortages, many organizations look to technology to fill the workforce gaps, automate processes and deliver new client functionality.
Increasingly, the more pressing problem for wealth management firms isn’t too few solutions; it’s too many. And, as technology budgets continue to burst at the seams, the challenge lies in understanding how to maximize what firms already own before adding new tools. The top priority for wealth management firms is to take a clear picture of their current tech stack, identify the opportunities and threats with a strategic plan, and focus on integration.
Since many advisors and workers generally suffer from productivity losses due to app switching and manual processes, doing more work with less budget might be simpler than you think. Here’s how you can keep sight of the big picture in your technology stack and continue to make incremental gains without busting your budget or creating dreaded technology bloat.
Start with a Strategic Plan
Individual technology solutions are often acquired as a response to a specific problem. However, leading with your technology stack means you’re less likely to maximize your investment. Instead, build a strategic plan and only consider solutions that align with it. Your strategic plan should include:
- Business Objectives: What do your advisors need to better serve clients?
- IT/Business Capabilities: What are the goals of your firm, and how can technology enable those capabilities?
- Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): In three, five, or 10 years from now, what specific ways do you want your technology investments to have paid off for you?
- Enabling Capabilities and Initiatives: What features or functions are you hoping to add to your firm’s offerings to stay competitive, and how can technology solutions make those happen?
Creating and sticking to a strategic technology investment plan is a core philosophy at top RIA firms. Technology budgets continue to increase for firms, but the answer to every business question isn’t always spending more.
Cut Out Underperforming Processes
Automation, robotic process administration, and document management systems promise significant results for wealth management firms. But even after billions of dollars in investment, many RIAs aren’t getting the results they want. Frequently, the problem turns out to be siloed, piecemeal solutions that do not map to a firm’s strategic plan.
In fact, for many firms today, the question is not about what new technologies need to be brought on board. Instead, firms need, more than ever, to utilize what they already have, carefully considering and auditing their current vendors to find the right fit with fewer individual products. Underperforming solutions should be abandoned, and their replacements should align with the firm’s current and future strategies.
Integrate, Integrate, Integrate
One of the most important considerations for technology buyers is how a new solution integrates with existing solutions. Many vendors tout their integration capabilities, but the solution isn’t fully functional when the rubber meets the road. Getting systems to actually talk to each other isn’t as easy as vendors would like their customers to believe.
And without this crucial integration capability, firms are severely limited in how they can wield their tech stack. Manual processes, fixing broken connections, or other inefficiencies siphon valuable advisor and back-office staff time. Proving a good fit before the contract is inked is one way to ensure that your tech stack stays healthy and that data flows freely from one application to the next.
Investment in technology is a must-have for wealth management firms, and leaders know that. But, success happens when leaders keep sight of the big picture in the solutions they bring on board. Cultivating a deep understanding of your business upfront will save a lot of headaches and failure down the road. Since technology budgets aren’t limitless, carefully considering your application purchases and prioritizing integration and efficiency are how to raise the bar on your tech stack, now and in the future.