Ask Yourself These 4 Questions Before You Audit Your Tech Stack!

Shiny bell in the window syndrome? This plagues many financial advisory firms at some point in their business journey. Yet, technology at its core provides much needed efficiencies and economies of scale. This reality is maximized when leading financial advisory firms periodically evaluate their technology solutions.

Before you go down the rabbit hole of possible solutions, changes or adjustments, it’s important to evaluate your existing technology in the context of your business needs. If you’re questioning whether your tech stack “stacks up,” review these four questions with your operations teams before auditing your existing technology suite.

Is your technology stack aligned with your business goals and objectives?

Business goals and objectives lie at the core of evaluating the effectiveness and relevance of your firm’s technology infrastructure. A well-aligned technology stack serves as a strong foundation to propel your advisory business forward. Consider whether your current technology tools and systems directly contribute to achieving your desired outcomes and supporting both your short-term goals and your long-term vision.

To assess alignment, begin by identifying your business goals and objectives. Then, evaluate how your technology stack enables and supports these goals. Does it provide the necessary functionality, capabilities, and features? Is it flexible and adaptable to accommodate future growth and changes in your business landscape? When was the last time your technology suite had a major overhaul?

Furthermore, examine how well your technology stack integrates with other essential financial advisory systems and platforms. Seamless integration ensures smooth data flow, onboarding workflows, efficient client service and helps to eliminate unnecessary bottlenecks. It enables different parts of your financial advisory business to work in unison, maximizing productivity and minimizing friction.

Regularly auditing your technology stack for alignment is crucial as your business evolves. An advisory firm in the first few years of growth may not have as robust technological needs, but auditing at all levels of growth is important. As your goals and objectives shift, your technological needs may change as well. If you’ve added team members, your versions of various versions (i.e., free) from CRM (Client Relationship Management) platforms to Financial Planning Software may need to shift. As your client base expands, the demand for service may also increase. By ensuring alignment, you can optimize your technology investments and make informed decisions about necessary upgrades or additions to drive your business forward.

Does your technology stack provide adequate security measures to protect your business data and your client’s data?

This question addresses the crucial aspect of data security within your technology infrastructure. Protecting sensitive information is paramount to maintain the trust of your clients, comply with regulations, compliance and safeguard your business from potential breaches or cyber threats. Cyber criminals are constantly pushing the line and getting more creative with their cyber methods of attack. You don’t want to be on the losing end of an attack that compromises your business data or your client’s data.

Additionally, evaluate user access controls and permissions. This includes both employee user access as well as outsourced providers. Are user privileges assigned based on the principle of least privilege? Ensuring that individuals have only the necessary access rights reduces the potential for unauthorized data access or misuse. Regularly auditing the security measures of your technology stack is crucial to identify any weaknesses or vulnerabilities. By implementing and maintaining adequate security measures, you can maintain compliance and instill confidence in your clients regarding the safety of their information.

How well does your current technology stack integrate with other systems and platforms?

Integration with other systems and platforms highlights the importance of seamless connectivity and interoperability within your technology framework. Efficient integration allows for the exchange of data, smooth workflows, and improved collaboration across various systems. Assessing integration capabilities is crucial to avoid information silos and maximize operational efficiency in-office and virtual environments. If you’re not a tech whiz and discover you want to establish integrations, there are several providers I know who work with financial advisory firms. Reach out if I can help get you connected.

Next look at the scalability and adaptability of your integrations. Can your technology stack easily accommodate new systems or platforms as your business grows? Scalable integrations ensure that you can seamlessly incorporate additional tools or solutions without disrupting your existing service workflows.

Furthermore, assess the level of automation achieved through integrations. Can data be synced in real-time or are manual interventions required? Some manual interventions are unavoidable, but the more automated the integrations, the smoother the data flow and the more time and effort saved on the back end. Lastly, evaluate the reliability and stability of your integrations. Do they consistently function without major disruptions? Reliability is essential to ensure uninterrupted operations and minimize potential downtime or data inconsistencies.

Are you maximizing the scalability and efficiency of your technology stack?

Maximizing scalability and efficiency delves into optimizing the performance and capacity of your technology infrastructure to meet the demands of your business. Efficiency entails utilizing resources effectively and minimizing wasted time, while scalability refers to the ability to expand or adapt the technology stack as your business grows.

Evaluating scalability is equally important to accommodate business growth. Consider if your technology stack can handle increased data volume, user demands, or changes in your operations. Are there scalability limitations or performance issues that may hinder your ability to scale smoothly? It's crucial to ensure that your technology infrastructure can expand or adapt to support your future firm needs without significant disruptions or costly migrations.

Efficiency is coveted and to evaluate it, assess how well your technology stack streamlines processes and eliminates bottlenecks. Are there any redundant or outdated tools that can be replaced or streamlined? What technology tools have you purchased, but aren’t using anymore? Look for opportunities to eliminate technology that’s no longer needed, automate repetitive tasks, enhance workflows, and improve overall productivity. Efficiency improvements can result in cost savings, time optimization, and better resource allocation among small and large firms.

Achieve optimal performance and alignment with your business goals!

In today's ever-changing, competitive landscape, auditing your technology stack should provide the necessary functionality and flexibility to support your long-term vision. When you assess the integration capabilities of your current technology stack you can make sure your firm needs stay at the forefront. Adopt a methodology around continuous improvement, identify areas to optimize performance, eliminate bottlenecks, and ensure scalability to meet future business demands. By addressing these questions, and others, you can make informed decisions to strengthen your technology stack.

Cameo Roberson manages Atlas Park Consulting, helping firms execute their growth strategy, improve business processes, streamline operations, and systematize the day-to-day without feeling overwhelmed, so you can be prepared for next level growth. For more information visit www.atlasparkco.com.

This article originally appeared on the Atlas Park Consulting blog.

Originally published on WIFS website on July 12, 2023.
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