Why You Should Start Your Year With a Technology AssessmentJohn O'Connell2024-01-17T13:30:47+00:00
Evaluating your tech stack and contract pricing must be on your agenda as your wealth management firm starts the new year. Modernizing your tech stack will ensure operational efficiencies, increased client satisfaction, and overall business growth.
Three reasons why you should evaluate your tech stack now
1. Align your tech stack with your growth strategies
Aligning your tech stack with your growth strategies is a pivotal step towards enhancing your clients’ experience. A technology stack that does not help you to achieve your goals can be an anchor on your business that stifles growth.
It is critical to conduct a thorough analysis of your existing processes and technologies by evaluating their efficiency and effectiveness to achieve an optimal technology stack. This assessment will enable you to pinpoint opportunities for streamlining workflows, automating tasks, and ultimately, improving the overall advisor and client experience.
I typically recommend that firms start by reviewing their current processes. Outline what is working well and not working well in each process from lead through annual meeting. Advisors usually feel most comfortable with discussing their sales and financial planning processes. Operations teams usually feel most comfortable with client onboarding and money movement.
Evaluate how well your technology maps to your processes once you’ve completed your process review. Areas where technology does not provide you with process efficiency are typically areas for improvement. Ask yourself whether your current technologies have the capacity to scale alongside your future growth trajectory and if they can seamlessly support onboarding new team members to support your growth. It is worth noting that a robust and user-friendly tech stack has the potential to elevate employee and client satisfaction which can support substantial growth.
2. Ensure protection through contract terms and performance through SLAs
This step involves a thorough analysis of the contract terms and Service Level Agreements (SLAs) of your technology providers. Review the specifics of each contract to verify they align with your current and future needs, and regulatory requirements.
Your review of the contract terms should determine how each agreement safeguards your interests. Are there clauses that limit your flexibility or impose additional costs? Does your vendor intend to use your client information for their own purposes? Do the contracts specify key elements such as cancellation costs, CPI adjustments, and auto-renewal language? Cancellation costs should be considered if you decide to replace any technologies.
The SLA should ensure optimal performance and clearly outline the steps that you can take when you have a service interruption. This becomes part of your business continuity plan. The SLA should clearly define the level of service, performance standards, and remedies or penalties for service providers failing to meet their commitments.
Review the cybersecurity posture of each of your service providers. You should know the safeguards that they have in place to protect your firm and client information. You should also know how to contact them if you suspect a cybersecurity incident.
This assessment will guarantee that your technology contracts deliver the performance, reliability, and security your wealth management firm requires.
3. Evaluate contracts to identify cost savings
Evaluate your contract pricing to uncover potential cost-saving opportunities. A comprehensive examination of the cost-effectiveness and capabilities of each contractual agreement is a hallmark of this step. Consider the cost for each technology on a per advisor or per household basis to identify technologies that are cost outliers. Keep an eye out for unnecessary services or platforms your firm might be paying for but not utilizing. For example, did your firm turn off Microsoft licenses for team members who left the firm?
Benefits of engaging external consultants
Bringing in external consultants for your technology and cybersecurity assessments offer numerous advantages. Consultants can objectively evaluate your contracts by leveraging their expertise in industry standards, pricing, and service levels. Consultants are adept at identifying hidden costs or services that internal biases or lack of knowledge may cause you to overlook.
Consultants may have experience in changing technologies and can set your expectations on the timeframe to migrate from one technology to another. This can help your firm to ensure enough time to change service providers before a costly contract extension. They can provide best practices based on their experience with similar firms, aiding in negotiations for better terms or finding more suitable service providers.
Consultants can offer an independent review of your firm and service provider’s cybersecurity policies and processes. This can be invaluable to ensure that you are protected and for your service providers to realize that you will review their practices.
The best consultants serve as an extension of your team and their knowledge and expertise can lead to substantial savings, better contract terms, and a more strategic alignment of your technology with your processes.
Start your year with a tech assessment
The start of a new year is the perfect opportunity for your wealth management firm to evaluate its tech stack and contract pricing. Strategic investments in the right technologies can have significant long-term benefits, including:
- Improved process and operational efficiency
- Heightened employee and client satisfaction
- Facilitate achieving your practice growth goals.
Consider evaluating your tech stack or engaging an industry consultant to help you with your evaluation and support your firm’s potential for increased success.