Summer: The Best Time to Conduct a Technology Evaluation

The idea of evaluating and upgrading technology puts many advisors in a panic. There are so many options, and the cost to implement upgrades can be staggering. However, the cost and frustrations far outweigh any inconvenience of conducting a technology evaluation. Since most advisors see a slowdown in client meetings in the summer, it is a good time to do a thorough analysis of your current systems and to research what else is available.

If you do decide an upgrade is in order, doing so during the lighter work months of summer will lessen the negative impact on your business, especially if you encounter unexpected consequences during the upgrade.

The financial cost

If just one member of your team spends five minutes each day dealing with slow technology, it costs you $250.00 per year, assuming the team member makes $12.00 per hour and works five days per week, 50 weeks per year. Slow technology adds up, especially if you have several team members and any of them make more than the $12.00 per hour used in the above example. For instance, at $30.00 per hour, the annual cost of five minutes of wasted time per day increases to $625.00.

If this doesn’t get you thinking, I don’t know what will.

Since many of you have compliance restrictions surrounding technology, the focus of this article isn’t to help you decide which technology to employ; it’s about getting you to think about the cost of not having up-to-date computers and programs, including telephone systems.

I have been in offices where the client service person is frustrated throughout the day because she has to keep rebooting her computer. If this occurs two to four times per day, using the above example, this is costing the practice $500.00 to $1,000.00 per year in actual cost.

In addition to the financial cost, consider the cost to morale. If you have team members who take pride in their work – and I hope you do – and/or you are working with a skeleton crew, this lost productivity is draining.

Don’t forget that any time wasted due to slow technology takes time away from your team to serve clients.

Determine how much time

Block off time on your calendar to meet as a team to discuss the idea of conducting an evaluation. Ask each person to keep track of how much time they are spending unnecessarily due to slow, outdated technology and which programs or systems are the culprit. This will help you determine the seriousness of the situation and where to focus your attention.

As a business owner, having this information available will help you make informed decisions.

Periodic reviews

This isn’t a one-and-done evaluation. Schedule time each year to do the following:

  1. Conduct a two- to four-week time-wasted analysis – every team member, including yourself
  2. Analyze and discuss the individual outcome with each team member
  3. Discuss overall results as a team and discuss ideas for improvement
  4. Research and evaluate options
  5. Implement the necessary changes

This process may sound like a lot of work and time in and of itself, but it is possible you and your team are wasting countless hours and thousands of dollars per year by not dedicating time to conduct a technology evaluation. It is better to have accurate information from which to make decisions than to be in the dark about the situation.

On the positive side, you may learn that the technology you currently employ is working quite well.

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