Learning New Technology… Benefits Worth The Learning Curve

635956588092585447-6090119_social-mediaWhether you are as green as me to workplace tech, a 30 year vet required to attend a seminar, or a retiree simply learning a new function on a smart phone- at some point we have all been through the grind of learning new technology.  Having started with DWM in mid-April, I am still learning, but also making some significant progress.  Prior to starting, I thought this stuff would be a piece of cake.  After all, I’m 23 and kids are always helping older generations with technology- so how hard could workplace tech really be? I figured I’d have this stuff down in a couple of days.

I was so wrong…

My first week was about as overwhelming as finals week just before graduation.  I quickly realized how much time I had to dedicate to fully understand the software at DWM before I could even think about wealth management.  The success of any business begins with efficient and consistent internal practices; and in today’s age, efficiency starts with utilizing technological advances.

Day-to-day processes are a little different at a boutique firm compared to a large business.  A small company doesn’t have the luxury of calling the IT department when something is off, making it very tempting to ignore certain problems and just send an email, or make a quick phone call- it’s easy and on the surface seems harmless.  This is where firms focused on having well-defined processes separate themselves.

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If you take a look at the image above, you will see four levels of how to optimize a CRM (Contact Relationship Manager), and thus, the client experience overall.  Firms interested in continuous improvement look for ways to further optimize the yellow areas shown above, this means no shortcuts because we have seen what a difference it can make for clients.  In general, a firm cannot get to the 4th level (yellow) until the first three levels have been mastered.  DWM is proud to be a member of the “yellow club.”

Junxure, our CRM, is one of five major software systems we utilize, the others include Schwab (investments, research & trading), MoneyGuide Pro (financial planning), Orion (portfolio management), and of course- Outlook (email). So as you can imagine, there are many complicated/time-consuming projects we deal with on a weekly basis.  A single project may involve multiple email exchanges and all 5 systems!

Not to worry.  All five systems are integrated within one another at DWM.  To go along with this, we also make use of a process within Junxure known as “workflows.”  There are two types of workflows utilized at DWM, systematic and recurring.  The first type, the systematic workflow, is a step by step checklist of tasks.  Within this workflow, a team member activates a specific action which triggers a chain of events.  As one task is complete, the next is automatically assigned.  Systematic workflows can consist of just one team member or everyone at the firm.  The second type, the recurring workflow, is only entered once and assigned to specific team members at predetermined dates. An example of a recurring workflow, is something most clients will eventually utilize: money links.  This is an automatic withdrawal from a client’s Schwab investment account into their bank account.  Mostly utilized by retirees to replace income received during employment, money links are a great way to keep the appropriate amount of cash on hand while the rest of your portfolio compounds and grows in diversified investments.  For example, let’s say a client wants $1,000 withdrawn from their account every month.  We would then set up a money link with Schwab and record a workflow within Junxure.  Now, before every automatic withdrawal, a specific team member will get an action to ensure the account has sufficient cash to complete the money link.  If it does not, the team member will give our Portfolio Manager a due date and instructions within Junxure to raise cash before the money link is executed.  As the due date approaches, the action automatically moves further up on his/her to-do list.

DWM has shown me how important utilizing technology is and how much more efficient it makes everything.  I now get excited when I hear about a new update within one of our five systems because I know it is created to benefit not only our job, but more importantly, the overall client experience.