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User Adoption: Tips For Successful Technology Implementation

By Adrian Johnstone
CEO, Practifi

If your financial organization has been laboring with an inadequate technology platform, there’s a real appeal to refreshing your technology.

A new, unified technology suite can unite all the firms and individual advisors in your large financial consultancy, improving data quality, governance and more. However, there are potential roadblocks, including the make-or-break factor: user adoption.

Why is getting user adoption a challenge? 

There are many technology deployment styles in the financial advisory space. Unfortunately, a significant proportion of these aren’t very suitable for today’s advisors.

Your advisors and their teams may have been burned before when it comes to technology systems and changes, perhaps being forced to use outdated systems or overcomplicated products not designed for their field. This may have led to suspicion around new platforms or a preference for “rogue” technology of their choosing.

Winning them back with a new technology platform — a good one this time — will take full support from all levels, as well as the feature set to back up this enthusiasm and institutional vote of confidence.

What does it take to get advisors on board with a new core platform?

Selling the organization on a new technology solution is a combination of picking the right system and presenting it in the best possible light. What does this process look like, and how can you guide your company to high levels of adoption?

Make a good first impression

In both the consumer and business worlds, it’s hard to embrace technology that doesn’t provide immediate, clear value. Working with a system out of a sense of obligation when it doesn’t seem to be making their jobs easier may be a bitter pill for firms and advisors to swallow.

There are a few specific priorities that can ensure the new technology makes a winning first impression.

  • Don’t settle for a “blank canvas”: Buying technology that isn’t made for financial services and then modifying it for advisor use can be costly, slow and lead to disappointing results. When your teams have access to tech tools made specifically for their type of workflows, they’ll notice the difference.
  • Make it easy to start: User-friendly systems are extremely preferable to ones with hefty learning curves. Think of it from an advisor’s perspective: Do you want to spend days or weeks of your valuable time getting a new technology tool to work for you?
  • Promote and support the technology: Support for the new technology tools should come from multiple sources. Technology providers must be available to answer any questions that come up, while the internal technology team has to be ready for day-to-day service.

By making sure the new technology tool is impressive right out of the gate, you’re taking a preemptive step to enhance user adoption rates.

Focus on winning over different employee groups

Assuming every advisor will have an equal appetite for new technology is risky. It’s common for large organizations to see a variety of reactions among a large advisor population. When you’re in the early stages of a technology upgrade, you should consider the best ways to get each group on board. Here’s one way to group your employees:

  • Early movers: Some advisors simply like new technology. It’s good to have these early adopters on your side as you plot the course to a new technology platform. To make sure they keep up their use, all the system has to do is work well.
  • Internal champions: These are the people who can move the needle with their coworkers, inspiring others to use a new solution and leading by example. They may be top performers, well-respected executives or other influential figures.
  • The movable middle: A very large group of your company may fall into this category. Winning these users over will rely on showing the value achieved by the earliest adopters.
  • Resistant users: No matter the industry or technology, you’ll likely have a group of users resistant to change. They may have already undergone numerous changes or been burned by technology before, especially if they’ve been in the industry for a long time. Showing them the value of the system will likely take more sustained effort than for the movable middle, but this persistence is worthwhile.

Acknowledging the different techniques necessary to get a wide swath of advisors on board with a new technology platform will let you more effectively target and measure your progress in converting users.

Let the technology do its job

The crux of winning over employees, no matter their level of engagement, comes from the system’s functionality. Are advisors finding it easier than ever to provide great strategic outcomes for their clients? Have previously troublesome or time-consuming workflows become faster or more manageable? Can home offices easily oversee all their advisors and their clients?

A purpose-built platform designed with wealth management in mind can provide both of these advantages in a relatively short amount of time. Helping early-adopting employees to reach such milestones, then sharing the success with the rest of the team, can be a crucial pivot point in driving universal adoption.

One of the advantages of choosing technology that reaches all corners of the company — at the home office as well as with the advisors — is that victories can take many forms. With central access to data, corporate staff can start producing analytics reports that will help advisors thrive, all thanks to the new tech platform.

Ready to get started?

While changing to a new and centralized technology platform isn’t a decision to be taken lightly, it’s also not one that has to wait. If you choose a technology provider that continually evolves its offering and supports your business through the years, this isn’t a move you have to make over and over. Once you jump into the future of financial advisory technology, you’re there to stay.

Laying out a solid strategy to get your advisors on board with this upgrade will be a collaborative effort between you and your technology partner. Your organization’s size, structure and specific focus will determine how best to make the move a success.

If you’d like to learn how Practifi partners with firms like yours to drive success, contact us today.


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