Last blog we explored one of the lessons learnt at the Conexus Best Practice forum in regard to technology. This week we continue to look into the other two factors that will assist in building our technology insight to improve businesses.
So again, how do we as an industry build efficacy in making technology decisions? Firstly, there has to be a commitment to learn and share (which we explored in our last blog). Secondly, businesses need to designate technology to a key person (or paid consultant) within the firm. Finally, the firms’ technology roadmap needs to be clearly articulated within the business plan.
Assigning a CTO (Chief Technology Officer)
Let’s be realistic, it is not practical for the average advice firm to have a full-time resource dedicated to technology (well not today anyway). As technology becomes an increasing part of a firm’s expense base (replacing employee costs), it will be very important to have an internal point-person charged with championing technology issues within the firm.
Go ahead and Google ‘What makes a good CTO?’ By now you have probably realised nobody in your firm possesses all of these traits. What do you do? As a starting point, look to your existing staff; who has the strongest capability, understanding and thirst for knowledge for all things technology? Can you afford to free them up for a few hours a week to explore these issues? If you can, you may just end up with an even more engaged employee, learning and developing for the benefit of the business.
It is important to also garner some external support. You may have an existing business coach or PDM knowledgeable in this area. If not look into appointing a new member to your board of advice (you have one right?). This new member should be external to the firm with a flair for this space, strong networks and a good knowledge of the tech landscape. If you are still struggling, you can also lean on a technology firm, who can offer consulting services at hourly rates.
Building a Technology Roadmap
We all know the core components of a business plan. An often glaring omission in recent times has been a detailed technology roadmap. What do we mean by this? A technology roadmap needs to address a few key questions that every business must ask itself on a regular basis (what, why, how and when):
- What are the short and long-term technology needs of our business?
- Will these needs address the firms’ revenue, client value proposition or expense management (efficiency)?
- How will the firm make technology decisions and execute on them (maximum capital outlay, required return on investment, change management approach)?
- When will be the best time to implement these needs, and in what timely order should they proceed in?
These questions are really just the tip of the iceberg, but are a good starting point to start assessing your technology needs.
"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.” - Thomas Edison
Technology decisions will increasingly become more challenging for firms as we move beyond 2020. The exponential growth in Fintech firms will be targeting financial advice firms actively. I encourage thinking carefully about these issues and making it a strategic priority for your business.
We will touch on these points and be exploring them further in future blogs, so stay tuned and if you would like to subscribe to our blog alerts sign up to our newsletter below.
Until next time,