A Golden Age of Technology: Three Tech Trends Advisors Should Embrace

Posted by Dave Curry on April 24, 2012

By Dave Curry

First, let me introduce myself. My name is Dave Curry and I am the Senior Systems Architect for open systems development here at Trust Company of America. I’ve been asked to blog about information technology as it applies to our industry. I’m very happy to do this because there are so many exciting things happening in our field these days. Let me share with you why I think so.

 

A Golden Age

A few months ago, my wife and I went to see Woody Allen’s most recent movie, “Midnight in Paris.” I think it’s the best picture he’s made in years, but nobody has asked me to write about movies. Yet.

What does relate to the topic is that “Midnight in Paris” deals with the idea of a Golden Age. Like the artistic scene of Paris in the 1920′s or the opulence of the court of Louis XIV, some places and times seem to have exploded with historic and cultural significance. People in subsequent times look back on such eras with nostalgia. Some, like the central character in the movie, are fascinated by what it would have been like to live and work among the great figures of times past.

Yet, the thread of tragedy in “Midnight in Paris” is that people who actually live in such eras seldom have the perspective to appreciate it. People have their own problems and usually cannot foresee the significance of the events unfolding around them. They miss the possibilities of their times. Whatever era they live in, some people will yearn to escape to a previous Golden Age.

 

The Technology Golden Age

I believe that we are living in a Golden Age of information technology.

I made my career as a computer programmer 30 years ago. As it turns out, I was in the vanguard of what was has come to be called “The Personal Computer Revolution.” For the last 25 years I have worked in software development in financial services, an industry that the Internet transformed before our eyes over a decade ago. And it seems to me that something similar is happening now.

Almost 10 years ago Nicholas G. Carr famously advanced the idea that information technology had become so ubiquitous that it no longer offered companies a strategic advantage. Today, companies in industries from healthcare to energy are slam-dunking IT innovation over the heads of competitors who believed him.

 

The Advisor’s Competitive Advantage 

At least three trends in technology currently have the potential to offer this sort of commanding advantage to RIA practices that adopt them over those that don’t — mobile devices, social media and web-services.

Mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets have led users to expect ubiquitous information services and engaging user interfaces. Social media, as typified by Internet services such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Groupon, have changed the landscape of marketing and communication. Standards-based web-services have enabled companies to cost-effectively assemble information systems from best-of-breed solutions.

Individually, these technologies offer efficiencies sufficient to justify their adoption. Together, they open new possibilities — the ability for advisors to reach and serve investors and grow their practices in ways never before practical.

In upcoming posts, I’ll examine each of these technologies and their implications for RIA practices in detail. I’ll also discuss present and emerging technologies that could generate the next wave of disruptive innovation in our industry.

I hope to share with you my enthusiasm for these possibilities. After all, there’s something a little tragic about living in a Golden Age and not taking advantage of it.

 

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