Licensees could be missing out on efficiency improvements and not capitalising on the wave of integrated advice solutions on offer in Australia today.
Most licensees don’t have a full-time CTO in their office. Deploying an advice technology strategy is not simply installing a cool app and expecting to be 20% more efficient. What efficiency you gain in one function, you can lose two fold in another. A technology strategy requires strong vision, good planning, process design and systems integration experience. Of course, a dabble into video conferencing or sharing a cashflow app with clients can be interesting. But if you are serious about efficiency and growing your business, you must consider how these systems intersect with your current processes and who in your office will make the magic happen.
All this starts with an advice driven technology strategy?
Wanting a technology strategy brings with it the need for new skills. How do you build this advice vision? How do you know what can be done and at what cost? Do you have the resources with the experience to execute the plan?
A technology strategy is the plan that describes how you will use technology within your business. Your plan must focus not only on the technologies, but also the people who manage those technologies.
Some key elements for a successful technology strategy are:
- Step 1: Define and align your objectives. Every stakeholder must agree that the strategy reflects the objectives. Is the objective to speed up processes, lower cost, improve quality, provide more for less? Is it all of these things? How will you know you have been successful? What are the observable outcomes that you will monitor?
- Step 2: Build your team. You can’t do everything yourself. Who will be responsible for executing your plan and ensuring it stays on track?
- Step 3: Create the plan. Be careful not to get sucked into easy to digest, time boxed plans. Develop an iterative approach based around business operations. Be prepared for short, medium and long term outcomes. Dividing your plan into operational modules with further subgroups if needed. For example:
- Client onboarding and engagement
- Advice process
- Service, communications and review
- Risk and control framework
- Breaking processes down into smaller modules gives you something more easily achievable. Even large firms with huge budgets can fail to complete their projects because they bite off too much.
- Step 4: Align your current technology framework with your strategy. What solutions best meet the objectives? Will you trade off flexibility, choice and control for lower costs or speed to market?
- Step 5: Execute your plan. Try not to attempt to solve too many issues at once. Focus on high impact, low effort tasks first. Once you have tasted success, then attempt the harder tasks. Be patient.
- Step 6: Monitor the plan. Build into your plan the means to measure its success. Time taken…Client retention… New clients versus lost clients. Track them and link them back to the plan.
A successful technology strategy for an advice business recognises the client at the centre of all processes. Before you leap into subscribing to a shiny new app or website, consider the cross functional impact these have on other parts of your operation. Doing this can open your eyes to more ways to surprise and delight your clients, improve the quality of your work and lower the cost of advice.
Planfocus offer expert advice to uncover your advice technology strategy and can help you build your technology ecosystem. Contact us today for a confidential discussion.