What should firms start to do when assessing their technology? Are there some simple steps that they can follow?
Selecting the right partner for your technology should be on a firmer footing than an initial attraction or a great looking interface. Here are eight points to consider.
1. What are the problems you’re trying to resolve?
Have you taken time to assess the issues within the business before you look for a solution?
Sometimes the process begins from a current frustration or from seeing an attractive presentation by a vendor, rather than a proper assessment of your firm’s requirements.
It sounds obvious, but have you honestly fact-found your own business? Getting some help for this is incredibly valuable and a no-commitment discovery will often present unthought of, but important questions.
2. Does the technology support your business model?
If your client proposition is about delivering holistic, lifetime planning, then your solutions need to align to this. Multiple, disconnected planning tools take the focus from the planning and into administration.
3. Does your plan have integrity?
Are the measures around the plan consistent – if your risk measure, forecasting and reporting, all use different assumptions, how confident can you be in the plans you offer?
4. Do your systems integrate?
A properly integrated solution doesn’t need to be from the same provider. Indeed, selecting the best solutions is essential. Yet they do need to share data and reporting effectively. A skin-deep integration simply adds inconsistency and cost to your clients.
5. Will your people see the value from it?
You should assess how all parts of your business will benefit from the solutions you select. A fantastic client-facing tool that creates problems for your service team is not a benefit. Scoring the value through the business is an important decision-making process.
6. What data will it give you?
We operate in a data-driven world. If the systems you’re selecting don’t enable you to access the critical information they store, or share this across all applications that you use, are you collecting problems downstream?
7. What level of change can you handle?
While a big bang can feel cathartic, we’re all still delivering for our clients and running businesses. Small changes can help but these should be done against the model that you’ve agreed on.
8. Are you being honest?
Properly judging the value of what you have, measured against the business you’ll become is essential. This can mean removing long-standing technology and changing habits.
Part of your scoring should include the cost of the licence and maintenance against the value it delivers. If it doesn’t – remove or replace it!
Your businesses technology needs to be a long-term, collaborative relationship. It must support the way you operate with your clients. It should deliver value across every part of your firm. And it should always align with your model.