Why Advisors Need a Technology Partner, Not a Provider 

September 17, 2019

by Adrian Johnstone

In the age of digital disruption, there are plenty of tools out there to help financial advisors streamline their processes and provide better services to clients. However, not all technology companies are created equal. Some technology providers market themselves as partners, but don’t offer the service and experience to back that up. Meanwhile, other technology companies offer true partnerships and strive to help advisors get the most out of their software.

These companies don’t simply present you with the technical tools you need. They’re committed to helping you use their offering to achieve your goals. So, when it comes to deciding what technology to invest in, advisors need to choose one that will be a good partner, not just a provider.

Because companies can label themselves as a partner without truly operating like one, it’s up to you to to tell the difference. To help you figure this out, we’ve come up with a list of attributes you can look for to determine whether you’re getting a technology partner or a technology provider.

1. Ongoing Support

Ongoing support is a huge advantage of software partners over their provider counterparts. The people who built your business improvement technology can help you out the most should things go awry. On the flip side, when you purchase software from a provider, that’s it! They might help with set up, but you’ll likely be on your own when it comes to making the most of the new technology.

Under a hands-off approach, things are fine until they aren’t. This can range from minor confusion about how the software tool works to security breaches and system outages. When you’re dealing with sensitive client information, the ramifications of the latter can be incredibly serious. Even small technical hitches can add up to significant roadblocks if they happen regularly.

This is why some modern tech companies have developed business models where client success is at the heart of what they do, not just an afterthought. They’ll offer continuous training and even assign you a ‘success manager’ as your go-to for everything you need. Even more established companies are now slowly shifting their business models in this direction. They’ve realized that ongoing services and customer success are vital for the long term. However, it can take a long time for large organizations to make this change.

2. Strategic Assistance

One of the key reasons organizations initially invest in technology is to improve the quality of their decision-making as they move forward. These tools deliver data-driven insights that are key to developing a long-term business plan. They can also provide clients with tangible value.

However, when you’re working with a technology partner instead of just a provider, you get the added benefit of drawing from their expertise and experience to help you increase your strategic ROI. This can range from simple phone calls about how best to use your technology to training and seminars that open your eyes to entirely new ways of approaching your tools.

And most importantly, partners who provide this type of service aim to solve more than a one-off problem. They’re helping you to help yourself. This coaching-style support is more beneficial to your team in the long run. It can assist in their professional development as well as your firm’s overall goals. 

In this sort of relationship, you can expect your technology partner to work with you to ensure you’re getting the most from your investment. This is a stark contrast to dealing with distant providers where the communication can be one-sided and not beneficial to you in the long run.

3. Trust and Transparency

When dealing with technology providers, advice firms commonly complain about the lack of trust and transparency. This is particulary true when it comes to integrating new tools. A lot of providers aren’t clear on what is or isn’t included within a given software package. This means that firms may get hit with unexpected expenses in order to access the functionality they need. Your research before buying will be key here—check reviews from other advisors to gauge their experiences. This way you can avoid making the same mistake.

When you work with dedicated software partners, the story is very different. They’re commited to long-term customer relationships and success. This means they’ll strive to communicate clearly and provide efficient service. What’s more, a lot of these technology partners have industry-specific experience (for example, financial services) and will help build from the ground up. They won’t try to retro-fit a one-size-fits-all solution to your needs. But rather, they’ll approach your unique requirements from a position of knowledge and experience of what will work best for you and your organization. 

Client Success at Our Core

At Practifi, we measure success by that of our clients. As such, providing ongoing support services alongside our improvement platform has long been at the heart of what we do. To find out more about our approach and what we offer, get in touch with our team today.

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