BACK OFFICE HEROES: Is It Too Late to Start a Digital Transformation?


By John Kotsiantos | Manager, Business Development | Docupace

John Kotsiantos | Docupace

Digital transformation has been a buzzword for years. Most companies and financial advisors realize the benefits of updating and transitioning to digital solutions, but a total transformation can seem daunting. As technology evolves at a breakneck pace, the distance between digital leaders and firms that haven’t embarked on their own transformation initiatives grows. Many firms feel it’s too late to even get started.

But the truth is this: digital transformation is the future. Firms and advisors can’t afford not to embark on a digital transformation, even if you feel behind the curve. The good news is that it’s never too late to start a digital transformation. Here’s why.

You’re Not as Behind as You May Think

It may feel like everyone else in the industry is already well on their way to a successful digital transformation. And while firms and advisors seem to realize the importance of updating their digital tools — especially after the pandemic pushed everything online — the wealth management and the financial services industry still lag behind. That means you aren’t alone, and there may not be as much ground to make up as you thought.

Although 97% of firms have taken steps towards digital transformation, nearly half say they are still in their infancy stage. The gap is especially noticeable in wealth management. A survey found that only 13% of wealth managers were in the most advanced digital transformation category, compared to 41% of investment and asset managers and 40% of universal banks.

Clearly, there is fear and uncertainty about where and how to embark on a digital transformation. But that doesn’t mean it’s too late.

Clients Want Digital Services

If digital transformation is challenging for so many advisors to implement, is it even worth it? Definitely. Digital transformation is what sets firms and advisors up for long-term success.

Clients increasingly want digital services, and the firms and advisors offering those tools stand out from the competition. As technology improves and becomes more accessible, firms that shy away from digital transformation risk becoming obsolete and getting left behind.

Clients use digital tools in most other areas of their lives — from ordering groceries or getting a ride on an app to using AI at work and getting personalized recommendations for music, movies, and products. They expect the same level of digital service and personalization from their financial advisors. Investors who give their advisors top marks on their digital systems tend to feel significantly more confident about their financial futures.

As Baby Boomers retire and a new generation of digital natives starts working with advisors, that demand for digital tools will only increase. Some experts say that for millennial and Gen Z clients, the bigger the account, the more likely the client is to expect sophisticated digital capabilities.

Meeting client demand also pays off for the firm. Among digital transformation leaders, 71% say digital transformation efforts have increased revenue. Digital transformation streamlines internal processes, which allows advisors to spend more time with clients and keep documents organized and in compliance.

Simply put, digital transformation is something firms and advisors can’t afford not to have. Even if you haven’t started or barely have dipped your toes in the water, investing in a digital transformation sets you up for future growth and client satisfaction.

5 Steps to Get Started

Understanding the importance of digital transformation doesn’t tell you where to actually start. It’s important to remember that digital transformation is a marathon, not a sprint. You don’t have to completely overhaul your systems and processes in a month or even a year. As technology and client demands evolve, so should your approach to digital tools. Starting a digital transformation is just that — a start — to a continual journey.

These five questions can help jumpstart your journey and highlight quick wins or areas with the biggest opportunities for impact:

  1. What are your roadblocks or frustrations?
  2. Where is your risk?
  3. What are the gaps in your software applications?
  4. Are you getting value from your technology?
  5. What do successful firms do differently?

Working through these questions can highlight opportunities for improvement that can get the ball rolling on your digital transformation. As you adopt a digital mindset, you’ll be able to increase your efforts and find new ways to adopt digital solutions.

Your best partner for digital transformation is Docupace, a leader in cloud-based document management. Click here to learn more and set up your free consultation.

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