Five Technology Trends that are Reshaping the Industry

Bob Veres

Hold up your hand if you've read that technology is dramatically changing the way advisors practice.

Now keep that hand up if you're doing things very differently today with your software than you were five years ago.

Hmmmm. I don't see very many hands still up in the air.

Recently, I spent a couple of days at the annual T3 conference – the financial planning profession's version of the Consumer Electronics Show. The conference brings together tech vendors offering planning software, CRM, portfolio tracking, rebalancing and trading, outsourcing, hosting and screening. New products and integrations are routinely announced from the podium.

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But what struck me in the midst of this technological wonderland was how slowly these remarkable innovations are being incorporated into actual business practices. Technology consultant Spenser Segal, president of ActiFi, Inc. in Plymouth, MN, has lately been saying that the next major revolution in advisor technology will not come from dramatic innovations in software, but from more effective integration and implementation in advisor offices.

Advisors, not programmers will lead the next big jump in efficiency. As evidence, consider the comment of Case Bear, of Cranbrook Wealth Management in Troy, MI, who boasted (jokingly) to Junxure president Greg Friedman that he qualified as a "power user" of its (now cloud-based) CRM program. Why? Because he was finally up to using 20% of its capabilities.

In the T3 sessions, speaker after speaker talked about "the cloud," "seamless integration" and "enterprise content management." But those are features, not the big picture that advisors need to see in order to understand how to deploy these features in their practice. Until advisors see those big picture forests amid the many branching and flowering trees in the T3 exhibit hall, they aren't going to know how or where to take then next leap in office efficiency.

Let me offer five trends that were visible from the conference that will help all of us put the new technology into perspective.