IT solutions helped you survive the pandemic as a business, but now registered investment advisors are looking at their return to the office, and it is time to find your strategic advantage.
Some of the technology adopted over the past year will likely stick around for a while, for example – nearly 60% of those currently using video conferencing platforms report they will likely use the technology as much, or perhaps more, even when the pandemic is over. However, financial businesses have a new task before them. They have to adapt their business technology to ensure they have their tools in place to grow as they return to in-person business. Technology must shift from stop-gap solutions towards business drivers.
IT Solutions and Temporary Pandemic ‘Band-Aids’
When the novel coronavirus pandemic began to rapidly spread around the world, businesses plunged into a work-from-home model, sometimes with only a few day’s notice. This led to a variety of Band-Aid solutions that allowed people to continue their business productivity. For example, if businesses had a procedure of someone in the office receiving paperwork and walking it over to the desk of another, now they might scan that document and put it in Dropbox.
The problem with these IT solutions is that the business’ documented protocols no longer match their actions. Businesses need to get back to the policies and procedures they were using before, the ones that have been thoroughly vetted and well-documented. Many RIAs have allowed themselves to drift from their standards, partly because they have been busy and partly because they have not been as disciplined as they are supposed to be. OCIE has not been doing in-person visits during COVID, which has resulted in some procrastination in this area as well.
However, as we head back to the offices, it is time to rip off these Band-Aids, revisit best practice policies and procedures and begin to create a “refreshed” technology strategy. These solutions need to pass the documentation challenges and security requirements dictated by the OCIE.
New Policies Must Be Sensitive to the New Normal
McKinsey research reports that, in just 8 weeks, we have launched forward 5 years with regards to business and consumer adoption of digital capabilities. We must accept that our new normal will contain significant digital adoption. New ways of doing business must be sensitive to these changes and also see the potential they present for customers moving forward.
As an organization, you need to ask yourself questions such as:
- Will you need different procedures for meeting with customers in person?
- What will need to be done differently as an organization as you shift from Zoom meetings to in-person gatherings?
- What technology areas show the most potential for your business?
- What procedural changes made by your business offer the greatest value in the long run?
Making sure everyone is on the same page
As your organization adjusted to the pandemic and new work systems, you likely had some role shifts. For example, you may have had one employee who was tasked with stopping into the office each week to check for mail. As everyone transitions back to the office, that role might shift again, and the person who used to deliver the mail back in 2019 is back to his or her usual duties. In these types of situations, everyone needs to be on the same page to ensure business productivity.
Many offices will find themselves now embracing the potential for a hybrid approach to office work. People might only come into the office a few days a week and work from home the other days.
● How will this impact your policies and procedures?
● How does this influence your documentation?
As a part of this hybrid approach to in-person work, some businesses might take advantage of a “hoteling desks” option, where employees can reserve desks on the days when they need to come into the office. While this approach can tremendously benefit businesses from a space-saving standpoint, it does leave open security concerns when you no longer have a workspace that is yours. RIAs need to consider the implications of these shared spaces and their security procedures.
These new strategies also need to play a role in the business’ disaster recovery and emergency plans. The introduction of a variety of technological advancements means that businesses have new opportunities for growth at their fingertips. However, these mechanisms will only work if businesses determine how they can maintain the same strict standards of information security while doing so.
IT Support as You Return to the Office
If there is one thing that registered investment advisors learned throughout this pandemic, it is that failure to have an operational remote network could ring the death knell for a business. Prior to the sudden shift online, countless businesses neglected technology features, such as stress testing and redundancy. Now, no one will underestimate their importance.
Moving forward, IT compliance will become an even more critical component of your business success story. As accelerating adoption of cloud-based applications and flexibility around the office become standard, the security plan around your technology must gain prioritization.
A managed service provider can provide businesses with the support they need to manage the cybersecurity demands they face as they shift towards a more digital workforce.
Your Managed IT Services with itSynergy
Businesses heading back to the office present a perfect opportunity to review policies and procedures throughout the organization. Knowing how your business can use technology to grow and get your organization out in front of the competition, while remaining secure and IT compliant, will be the cornerstone of success. A variety of helpful and convenient technology uses, such as scheduling apps that allow you to invite customers to reserve a block of time to talk right on your calendar, can help you boost business productivity moving forward.
Sitting down with a trusted outsourced IT provider like itSynergy that has extensive experience working with RIAs can help you tap into the potential for future tech. We’ll help you formulate a productive, secure plan and a path forward. Let’s work together to grow your organization.