When Financial Planning conducted its annual tech survey in 2007 - almost 300 advisors participated that year, compared with a record 3,200 this year - the markets were entering what would become the darkest period since the Great Depression. Operationally, the next few years exposed serious deficiencies at many financial firms, leading to the heightened interest in technology.

Things have obviously changed dramatically in the past four years.

Back in 2007, we didn't even ask respondents about their smartphone usage because the industry was essentially devoid of such gadgets (most BlackBerry phones of that era did not qualify as "smart," in our opinion). No surprise, the advisor lacking a smartphone is the rare exception today.

Whether you're a sophisticated early adopter or a newbie to all the new technology available to you or your firm, these stories should bring you up to speed about everything any financial advisor or firm needs to know about information technology to improve productivity and increase assets under management:

The Rise of the Tablet

Redtail Tops Microsoft Outlook for Advisor CRM

TD Ameritrade Upgrade Latest Sign of DocuSign's Impact on Advisors

Advisors Yearn for Integrated Document Management Software

For more details and insight, please review the full version of Financial Planning’s 2011 Technology Survey.