What are the biggest tech problems advisors face?
There’s a lot of duplication of data entry. Advisors have manual forms that are given to the client and then the client comes back to the planner and the planner then enters in the data. Technology can provide more automation. So then, how do we connect their systems so that data becomes seamless?
How big of a problem is legacy technology?
[The question is:] where can we give the capability to the clients to enter the data using our systems or uploading the documents in an automated manner? We can then take the information from those documents and feed it into different systems. So it's more on the back-office operations. It’s incredible to look at the amount of hours outdated technology has taken from the lives of advisors when they could have been thinking about the client. Instead, now they're frustrated because they have to fax off a document to a client.
How can firms stay ahead of technology?
Here’s an example: When I wake up, I’m already on my mobile device. [Let’s] say I know my portfolio has changed and I want to go and see the state of my accounts through my app. Those portals need to be able to provide the trading information when and how clients are asking for it. It has to provide multichannel access and more meaningful insights. That’s how you start to stay ahead of the game.
What’s next in terms of harnessing data?
Traditionally, the industry looked at data as an afterthought. Data was used for reporting analytics, like a published report about how many converts or how many prospects have been through the system. Where we want to be heading is: how do we use the data to make decisions in real time?
What is the hottest tech trend you see today?
If you look at the trends of the industry and how we have evolved in the last few years, there have been a number of interesting trends. We want to go cloud, we want to go security-first, we want to go mobile. If you look at the sectors like finance, or even outside of financial services like education, for example, there are still a lot of instances where technology can provide new advantages.
What’s on the horizon?
We want to build out a data lake, which is essentially a pool of data that’s able to ingest the structured and unstructured data. The data could come from mobile or from other devices, too. Then, we are trying to figure out how you start to manage that data to make models and give recommendations – what we call the next layer of a customer journey.