What to Look For When It’s Time to Change Your Advisor Tech

What to Look For When It’s Time to Change Your Advisor Tech

The little banner across the face of your iPhone reminds you that it’s time to update your software, and it won’t go away until you accept it or close it.

But here’s the thing. If you close the alert without updating, your iPhone will constantly harass you to install the update overnight or to schedule it automatically until you take action.

Updating your computer or mobile phone’s operating system protects you from viruses, hackers, and other unfortunate issues that can occur from using out-of-date technology.

Do you put as much emphasis on keeping your advisor technology systems up-to-date as you do your phone? If not, you may be putting your firm at risk.

In this post, we’ll look at how to recognize if you use legacy technology. and how you can find the right technology partners to help keep your firm competitive in a modern environment.

LEGACY TECHNOLOGY DEFINED

What does it mean to use legacy tech? We can easily tell a legacy system that’s out-of-date with current technology trends by three criteria:

  • A system that doesn’t undergo regular updates
    Just like how your iPhone receives regular and constant updates, you should expect your advisor tech to follow a similar calendar. Most modern technology companies will release updates at least quarterly, while others may release updates on an even faster schedule.
  • A system that relies on you to conduct your own maintenance or data reconciliation
    Modern technology systems take much of the burden of updating and maintaining data off the advisor as part of the value of what they offer. If you have to hire a third-party to reconcile your custodial data, or your team does it internally, you’re not running with the most efficient possibilities.
  • An installed system
    An installed system is software that you download and access as a program on your computer as opposed to one that’s connected to the Internet or accessible via “the cloud.” Typically, an installed system will be one that also has issues with regular updates and data maintenance expectations.

If any piece of your tech stack conforms to one or more of the criteria listed above, it’s likely you’re using an out-of-date solution.

THE RISKS OF USING LEGACY TECHNOLOGY

If you find yourself using legacy technology, you might think it’s no big deal at first. Sure, it has some inefficiencies, but you’ve used it for years and you may want to keep using what’s familiar.

There’s more at risk with using a legacy system than simply spending a more minutes and hours than you have to working in your technology. When you use legacy tech, you put your business at risk in four key areas:

  1. Your Clients Stop Coming to You
    Clients want technology from their advisor that feels modern and in-line with the other technology they use. Offering a client portal that gives clients full view into their portfolio, for example, is no longer a “nice to have”—it’s essential for every firm to keep pace with the industry and modern life in general. If you don’t offer a digital client experience, your clients will find one elsewhere.
  2. Your Provider Stops Caring
    Your technology provider may stop supplying updates for a number of reasons. Maybe the user base has become too slow that it’s no longer profitable, or the user base is so large that updates aren’t necessary for it to worry about competitive advantages. Whatever the case, if your provider can’t be bothered to take care of their systems, you’ll be the one who pays for it with your clients.
  3. Your Business Stops Working
    Technology underpins almost everything in your business. Imagine for a moment that the portfolio accounting system that you use as your system-of-record for all your accounts stops working. Could you still do what you need to do on a daily basis? Maybe you could through other avenues, but your life would be much more difficult. The time you’d need to allocate to manual processes would be felt more acutely by the clients you would have a harder time supporting.
  4. Your Security is Compromised
    This is the big one that advisors need to understand. How secure is your data if you store it in a back room of your office on a data server of your own? The answer: Not very. More than the physical security concern, though, is a concern about cyber security and the ease with which your clients’ data could be compromised through systems that aren’t updated with recent security protections.

The good news is that there’s no reason to deal with these risks, so long as you partner with innovative and modern technology partners.

THE BENEFITS OF AN INNOVATIVE TECH PARTNER

Selecting an innovative technology partner can provide immediate benefits to your firm, employees, and clients. As you look at a new system to put in place, pay attention to how it may be able to help you in four ways:

  • New Business
    Modern tech should provide opportunities for you to increase client acquisitions. Whether through technology you can make available to clients or ways you can operate more efficiently internally, look for ways your new tech can directly impact your ability to onboard prospects.
  • Return on Investment
    Depending on the cost of your new system, the ROI you hope to realize can be different. However, you should do an analysis to see if your new tech systems can directly impact your business profitability so you can understand its true ROI.
  • Streamlined Operations
    Managing the complexities of your day-to-day business, and managing them in an efficient manner, should be one of the perks of bringing on new technology. When you manage your business better, you can put more focus on building relationships.
  • Better Client Relationships
    If your new tech partner offers ways for you to create a better client experience, take advantage of them. Many advisor-facing technology partners provide client portals or other client-facing technology that can make it easier for you to create digital experiences built on trust and accessibility.

If it’s been a few years since you’ve reviewed your tech stack, don’t put off a comprehensive review any longer. Make your next move now to ensure you aren’t caught unprepared.

With the right kind of innovative partners, your firm can leverage your technology to simplify your business, find new ways to be competitive, and put your clients’ experience first.

George Svagera
George Svagera
George Svagera joined Orion Advisor Services, LLC in 2013 as a Western-focused team member. As VP Business Development at Orion, he empowers advisors with a comprehensive portfolio accounting service bureau that liberates them from their back office allowing more time to build client relationships. Orion Advisor Services, LLC Orion offers the customization, integration and scale advisors need to build a better business – and enjoy your business again. For more information, visit www.orionadvisor.com

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