The Latest Trends in Financial Services Technology Adoption
Timothy D. Welsh, CFP, is president and founder of Nexus Strategy, LLC—a consulting firm to the wealth management industry. Nexus Strategy works with investment advisors on growth strategies and partners with financial services and technology firms to distribute products and services through the advisor channel.
At Empower 2016, Tim moderated a session among financial services IT and operations leaders about the latest trends in technology adoption. We recently sat down with him to discuss the insight he gained from the session as well as his personal best practices for rolling out new technology in an advisory firm.
Here’s what Tim had to say:
Q. In your opinion, what is the best way to introduce new technology—like Laserfiche ECM—to help improve a firm’s operations?
A. Step one is to describe the goals you’re trying to achieve—whether that’s operational efficiency, being more productive or providing better client service. If you attach the initiative to one of those benefits, the firm’s CEO, head of operations and other major decision-makers can identify specifically what you’re trying to accomplish with the new technology.
Step two is to tie these goals directly to a process—which could be new account opening, compliance reviews, reporting or any process that firm is trying to optimize.
Step three is to manage the details of how it’s all going to work together. This includes diagramming your business processes and creating a specific plan for how the software is going to take over.
Q. How do you encourage employees in a financial services firm to adopt new technology?
A. In order to be successful in this industry, you have to provide a positive client experience. Therefore, you need to start with explaining to employees how this new technology will impact clients for the better.
You need to describe how it will help them make more informed decision and have quicker access to their data—whether that’s on their smartphone, iPad, computer or even in a phone conversation.
Q. In financial services environments, what is the best way to address resistance to adopting new technology?
A. Tell staff members that if they don’t adopt the new technology, the firm can be more likely to face compliance issues and regulatory concerns. Firms need to document everything they’re doing using audit trails—and have all of their content archived so that regulators can find what they need in the event of an audit.
When you have software in place that can help you achieve those objectives, employees are going to be more comfortable, management will be much happier and the organization as a whole will be able to sleep better knowing it has dotted its I’s and crossed its T’s in terms of compliance.
Q. Based on your discussions with the panelists at Empower, why do you feel IT and operations leaders in financial services choose Laserfiche?
A. They choose it because it’s easy to use. In any industry, if the software’s not intuitive and easy to use, no one will adopt it. Laserfiche shines in the financial services space because it has a quick learning curve and makes people’s jobs easier.
For example, using a Laserfiche form to kick off a workflow is simple and streamlines processes in a way that employees can relate to. It streamlines process that would otherwise be cumbersome— such as faxing paper documents or going out of your way to put a wet signature on a document.
Q. What are some best practices in the financial services space for training employees to use new technology?
It should be part of an employee’s job description to learn to use the software. For instance, if you’re part of the back-office staff for an advisory firm, it should be your job to make sure the software is tracking every action throughout the repository and archiving the firm’s content. Firms should have compensation incentives for that—just like they do for other roles.
In addition, it’s important to find a champion for the software. Find an early adopter in the office and make them a shining example that everyone can learn from. This person can then evangelize the new technology across the firm.
For additional best practices on how to roll out new technology across an organization, download our complimentary eBook the Document Management Software Justification Kit.