Ask a group of consumers their opinion about a product they've purchased and you usually get far more complaints than compliments. It's just human nature. Which makes the results of our latest annual technology survey compelling.
Sure, many participants give a kick or two to software that isn't sufficiently intuitive or that can't easily keep up as their businesses grow. But it seemed that advisors — who took part in the survey in record numbers this year — had plenty to praise.
Having on-demand access to applications delivered via the web stood out. "We jumped on the cloud right away. We like the anytime, anywhere access it provides," Stan Lochrie of Etesian Wealth Advisors in Lake Oswego, Ore., told Financial Planning contributor and technology expert Joel Bruckenstein in a follow-up interview after completing the survey.
Planners are eager to streamline their lives; no less than 40% of them told us that an improved workflow is the single greatest business challenge they would like technology to solve for them. Another 20% had a similar top priority: time management. About one-in-six said they most want technology to help them improve their communication with clients.
Overall communications clearly is enhanced by tablets - especially Apple's product. "I don't how I ever lived without my iPad. ... I pack light now when I travel," Janet Tyler Johnson of JATAJ Wealth Management in Fitchburg, Wis., told us. She added: "I love my iPad and iPhone." Almost 20 years after it first introduced a tabletlike computer, the Newton, which was far too early for the marketplace, Apple is reshaping the day-to-day routine of countless industries, including planning. Nearly 40% of survey respondents own a tablet (the vast majority of them iPads), meaning there's still lots of room for growth.
If understanding which technology most appeals to financial planners - and why - is of value to you, there's a treasure trove of intriguing and industry-shaping stats awaiting you.