Is your CRM technology suitable to support your advice business in 2018?
If your answer is yes because you purchased it recently or it’s a well known system, this may not be the case.
The evolution of technology for financial advice has been on a long journey over the last 20 years and whilst the CRMs and back-offices look like they have kept up with the times in terms of appearance, you need to take a look under the bonnet to find the true answer.
Here's four questions that you should be asking:
- Processes: I know from speaking to many firms that they are forced to adapt to their processes to the software, not the other way around. How efficient is this for your business and does it hinder your client service?
- Automation: Being able to automate the parts of your business that drag on time such as creating reports, filing communications, building documents or sending communications can improve productivity. Many systems struggle with this as the client data is held separately or in the wrong format. Can you automate personalised reports and communication production quickly?
- Data management: Many systems do not allow you to consolidate, interrogate and report on all of your data in one place – this makes data management difficult and can have implications for GDPR compliance. Can you access all of your chosen data fields quickly and easily?
- Customer support: All good modern technology prides itself on the ability to provide ongoing customer support – are you getting the help when you need it? At the end of the day, your CRM is a big investment and turnover of staff is inevitable so ongoing support is a must.
Why hasn’t technology evolved?
The simple answer is that the fundamental structure of these systems was designed and developed before modern regulation and advice models were implemented. Updating them takes huge investment and time. Yes, since then adaptations have been made, but primarily at a superficial level. So they appear modern, but the fundamental build of the core system (the part you pay all that money for!) is, in some cases, still stuck in the year 2000.
Why does that matter?
If that doesn’t sound too long ago to you, let’s take a look at just how much technology has changed since then.
- The Apple iPod was first launched in 2000 - it's already becoming redundant through mobile phones and streaming services.
- The first iPhone was launched way back in 2007 - yet they are younger than some businesses' CRM.
- The iPad was launched around 2010 - again Smartphones increased in size and power since then reducing its need.
- We now have AI technology entering the market which can help accelerate administration.
- Data from tech use has become the new oil - there is now a recognition that all the insights gained from client data is invaluable to help businesses run smarter and more effectively.
Let's also not forget the emergence of new regulation such as RDR which changes the focus of your technology to support a service-based model, and of course GDPR.
So the question is, would you buy any other piece of technology built in 2000? – mobiles, laptops, cars, TVs - and expect it to effectively support your business or lifestyle in 2018 and beyond? The simple truth is life has changed a lot in 20 years, and so has the delivery of advice and your business and client needs.
Time for a technology check-up?