October 13, 2021

Efficiency Series #2 – Transcript

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Efficiency Series

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SUMMARY KEYWORDS

software, expectations, technology, business, work, people, advisors, telstra, build, net promoter scores, important, reality, talking, core, reviewing, problem, features, solve, point, sprint

SPEAKERS

Fraser Jack, Ivon Gower, Mitchell Ramsbotham, Jodie Douglas, Vicky Andrews, Phil Thompson

 

Fraser Jack 

Welcome back to this episode in our technology innovation series brought to you by Morningstar. In this episode, we are covering off on expectations versus reality. Welcome back, Phil Thompson.

 

Phil Thompson 

Thanks for Thanks for having me.

 

Fraser Jack 

fantastic to have you here. Now, in this episode, we are talking, of course about efficiencies. But we’re talking a lot around the the ideas of, you know, the reality of software. And sometimes we have these really amazing expectations of what software is going to do. And sometimes our expectations are not met. Let’s put it that way. Yeah. Talk to me about totally about some of the software that you’ve you’ve chosen and how hard it is sometimes to to have an expectation and then try and get that expectation or that software working the way you want it to work.

 

Phil Thompson 

Yeah. So for me, the way I think about the software that we’re using is like, what, what’s its core purpose? And like, if it’s if it does its core purpose, and then great. And does it help allow us to use another software that that does the ancillary benefits. So I mean, our core software is a non financial planning software, where we run a lot of our business, a lot of our emails a lot about task management. And so it’s cool purposes, to manage team tasks, to help us understand what’s going on with any one client within the team. And to really track where clients are upset with any any one stage. So that’s really its core purpose. So it does that it does that to a certain level, were at a point where I’m looking at, you know, scrapping it all and moving somewhere else, if that works, and kind of did a lot of research on that and decided, actually, you know what, no other software is perfect, either. Yeah. So as long as it doesn’t score purpose, and allows us to do other things with other software. And that’s kind of the highest priority. For me.

 

Fraser Jack 

When you say solving a problem, obviously, you know, oh, cool, cool papers, I’m thinking of solving a problem. And it’s all around, I guess, I guess that what you’re saying there is you want to really define what the problem is you’re trying to solve? Before you start worrying about judging the software or looking at the expectations.

 

Phil Thompson 

That’s right effort. So for me, it was a matter of how do we being insurance only we’ve got a very clear process of clients move from one step to the next step. You know, we get there Fine, then we prepare the strategy, we get the strategy, we then present the soI, and then all the way up into policy in place, and then reviewing ongoing. And so it’s a very linear process. With with what we’re doing. So we, our software that we needed was was able to help us with that linear process. So there wasn’t too many forks in the road. Now if, if I was a full financial planning business, I would have a software that allowed me to fork off from our Alinea process. So that’s why we chose a software that was very much like a sales based software, because it’s you start here, you move here, you move here, and then you enter Yeah. And so that helped us with that. Now, the downside of that is our ongoing reviews, it’s a little bit, you know, putting a square peg in a round hole with our current software. And so it’s a matter of, you know, for us, it’s like, well, you know, again, what’s our core process? And can we use this software to allow us to do that? And I think we can, but it’s just a matter of maybe having you know, the software do something that it’s not really fit for purpose. But as long as it helps us do our core, our core process of tracking where Ryan is editing any point in time, and helping our team communicate with our client, then that’s really what the problem was that I needed.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yep. One of the things I think about winning Any software is the amount of the amount of that you actually use, you know, to the full capability of the software itself. And a lot of the time, you know, we sort of tend to, you know, have a package or a software, and we only ever use a small part of it. How do you manage that?

 

Phil Thompson 

Yes. So it’s, I mean, the the capabilities is also like with, with a lot of software companies, it’s all tiered pricing. And so I was like, do we go the mega high end pricing to get all the capabilities? Or do we limit what we can do within this software and save a bit of coin. So that’s really what I think about is, you know, easier, just managing that tiered pricing or the way the way the way the software is set up. So we’re pretty good at using a lot of capabilities within the within our core software. And, you know, there’s there’s features and benefits that we get to discover, but we kind of do, yeah, we’re in it all day, every day. So we do use a lot of a lot of the capabilities that our core software allows.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yep, now, when you’re researching software, there’s obviously a lot of, you tend to see all the bells and whistles pretty early on, and you tend to see all the good stuff about the software, and then and then and then later on, I guess when you implement them that you find a few other things that might have been, you know, not not as happy with. And we also noticed that a lot of Net Promoter scores when it comes to software, there’s people though, generally, you know, can be unhappy with the reality of the universities the expectation, yeah. How do you go with sort of, you know, implementing new software and that change management piece?

 

Phil Thompson 

Yeah. So I mean, I, I just talked to a lot of people. So we were considering moving to Salesforce, actually is as one of the, you know, basically just throwing everything into being and starting again. And taking all that we’ve learned and move into Salesforce, and just talking to lots of people, and yeah, cuz it looks good on the surface. But then when you talk to bill and go, Hey, does it do this thing that I’m missing? And they’re like, Oh, actually, no, it doesn’t as good as you’re wanting? So that’s kind of the benefit of having a view in what what we have, knowing what we currently have. And then if I’m researching other software providers, talking to people who use it and say, Hey, does it do this? You know, because this is what the the problem I’m having with their current or the limitation on having with their current software? Does this option provide that? If it does, great, let’s keep moving forward? If it doesn’t, then well, there’s a hard no on that software?

 

Fraser Jack 

Yeah. Okay. So hard. No, is that part of the core? The core purpose stuff? Do you actually make a list of that before you before you go out? Or do you just start looking at stuff and then working out what your core purpose is Later,

 

Phil Thompson 

we’ll so this is this is looking at reviewing our existing software. So when, when we, when we moved to our current software, it was a, it was a very basic list of what we needed. So as you know, can it can it help me track deals where we need to kind of help me communicate, like the whole team communicate and thus have visibility on on that communication? So some really basic core features is our current software does that. But as we kind of really going deep into the software, there are some limitations. And then so it’s then a matter of reviewing that software and going okay, is this fit for purpose? And then going out What What don’t we currently have? What do we want? And this is new software, you know, allow for that? Or do we just have a bolt on software with our current core? core provider?

 

Fraser Jack 

Yeah, yeah. Fantastic. And we’ll talk about some bolt on stuff and in future episodes, but it really does. You know, understand the idea of, you know, pushing up against limitations, and every single software seems to have something that doesn’t quite work. And like I said earlier, there’s not necessarily any silver bullet. Yeah, exactly. Fantastic. Phil, thanks for chatting to us. In this episode. We look forward to catching you in the next episode, where we start talking about integration.

 

Phil Thompson 

Thanks, Ryan. Thanks for having me.

 

Fraser Jack 

Welcome back, Jody.

 

Jodie Douglas 

Thank you for having me

 

Fraser Jack 

again, Fraser. Fantastic. Now in this particular episode, we are discussing all things around the idea that software can be amazing when it’s working properly, and we know how to use it, and we’re trained in it. But sometimes our expectations for these things, were a little bit impatient. When it comes to whatever expectations are, versus a reality. We certainly

 

Jodie Douglas 

are. And I think the key thing there was know how to use it and train in it. There are two things that as advisors, we don’t want to set aside the time to do with technology all the time we go great, we’ve got this new tool, you know, teams, for example, or zoom, let’s just get in and use it. However, we’ve skipped that important process of actually watching the How To Video. Something that I actually didn’t realize is Microsoft, if you google Microsoft, there is 1,000,000,001 How To videos on every part of Microsoft, whether it’s outlook, all of those sorts of things. But quite often we just want to jump in and use it and we miss that important step of training in the How to, which can be can be frustrating.

 

Fraser Jack 

It’s really interesting, is it? Because I think I think once, you know, I think we don’t always use software towards ability. And that training is a huge piece of that jigsaw puzzle.

 

Jodie Douglas 

Yeah, definitely. I think like when we actually sit down and we do, like training seminars with Mike, obviously having an IT background, every month, we’ll focus on one of our tools and actually sit down and look at it. And all the time we’re going Gosh, I didn’t even know it could actually do that. So I think we only know maybe 30% of what the tool can actually do. Whereas when you actually drill deeper, there’s already other solutions within it. That we didn’t know about.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yeah, so continuous training sounds like the the key there is that you do every month. Did you say?

 

Jodie Douglas 

Most definitely, yeah. So what we do within our team, we all take ownership of one of our software’s, so we’ve got 10. Quite often we’ve got to each and every month at our team meeting, we’re all responsible for showing each other a new thing that our software can do. So we get to know that new thing. And look, it can take five or 10 minutes as watching a help video. And then being able to then show the team how to do those things is really important. We’re always learning new things from the software that we use.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yeah, that’s a really important part is that divvying it up so that everybody comes along on the journey, it’s not just one person’s responsibility to be the champion of the software?

 

Jodie Douglas 

Definitely, technology can be very overwhelming. And especially when you’re using multiple apps and software’s it’s really hard to be an expert in all of them. So if you can be an expert in one or two of them, and then share that knowledge across the team. It’s really helpful for everyone.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yeah, amazing. And what, when it comes to, I guess, expectation versus reality, what what are you thinking of the measure of success for AI software is when it comes to, you know, the reality of what it has this software been successful?

 

Jodie Douglas 

Yeah. So it needs to solve the problems. So what was the problem that we needed to solve by introducing it? If it creates more problems, or doesn’t solve that core problem, then is there any point to having it? So it all comes back to actually looking at? What was the need for this tool in the first place? Has it solved that? And has it added more to our, our practice or our business processes? If not, then it should be made redundant. So yeah, and quite often, quite often, you know, you take on a new tool or a piece of software, and you think it’s going to be wonderful, it’s going to be great. But it actually makes the process more onerous. If you don’t go through those those testing steps.

 

Fraser Jack 

It’s interesting, isn’t it, that frustration factor that comes in with it may do that one thing that you wanted about, as you mentioned, if it’s frustrating to us or slowing you down in other areas, then it’s it’s a decision time.

 

Jodie Douglas 

Yeah, definitely. And it’s so important also to embrace the technology, I think, too, because so often we can change is quite difficult. And we still hold on to things that we were doing without embracing the tool to its full capability. So you’ve got to there’s an element of letting go of the old to take onto the new so when you do that, you need to make sure that you are actually embracing it to its full capacity as well, to make sure that you’re getting getting everything from it that you need to

 

Fraser Jack 

fantastic Thanks Charlie for coming in chatting to us about that I love the idea of gam getting a team in every every month to champion a different part of the software and, and really rally around each other and teach each other the tricks and tips when it comes to the new the new software is fantastic. Jody, I’ll catch you in the next episode, we’re going to talk about integrations and I’m keen to find out a little bit about your about your technology stack where you’re 10 different 10 different products that you use. We look forward to continue the Sure thing.

 

Jodie Douglas 

Thank you.

 

Fraser Jack 

Welcome back Mitch.

 

Mitchell Ramsbotham 

Thank you very much for having me again.

 

Fraser Jack 

Fantastic. Now we’re talking about expectations versus reality when it comes to software and implementing new software’s into your into your business. Tell us about Tell us about your expectations when it comes to new software,

 

Mitchell Ramsbotham 

the way that we look at these things. They’re never really the panacea right. And I think that that’s a really important point to start with this. It’s never a silver bullet. And there’s a lot of marketing guff. You know, everybody does the same thing. Everybody’s got to have a snappy headline, everyone’s got to have a have a good a good pitch and I understand that but you really need to get into the guts of it and and cut through that part and make an informed try to make an informed decision up front and then be really open in engaging with the external stakeholders about the same way that you do with with any partner or the same way advisors do I suppose with their clients, you give them an idea of what your business is. And how you operate, you get an idea of what they like and how they operate, and you’ve worked out where the synergies are going to be. And if it’s actually a fit. And as far as expectations are concerned that we’re really not looking in our business for anything that’s going to overtake a human. We’re really, as I alluded to, in the previous episode, we’re really looking for complimentary pieces of technology. So if you’re if you’re really clear about your expectations, and what you’re looking for, from the technology upfront, I think it’s really it sets you up a lot better for the experience, it’s really important on that note, to set really clear and realistic realistic expectations around what you expect it to deliver, and what you’re employing. And what we’ve really found that we’ve needed to temper, I suppose our ex expectations and what what the success metrics look like, especially in the short term. And when we do that they do have the desired effect. We don’t we really don’t look for technology to be the silver bullet, we look for it to be an enabler running alongside.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yep. And that’s, that’s a great way to walk into it. And I also noted that during the last episode, we you sort of mentioned the idea of engaging with the product provider, the software provider around what your precise problems are that you have in that space that you want the software to solve.

 

Mitchell Ramsbotham 

Yeah, so product provider or third party to so that actually raises a really good point. So in regards to solving some of the problems, the business that we’re in, at the moment in the growth phase that we’re going through, not only now, are we working through a core business based in Australia, with offshore support networks that we need to be able to effectively communicate and workflow manage. There’s also a geographical distribution onshore, that that from a central point, we need to be able to manage really well. And something that most practices or most businesses will have is a CRM or x plan or, or something of that nature. And what we’ve done is is undergo what has been pivotal, I suppose, in finding that successes that we have, from an overarching management point of view, and being able to have that centralized across that significantly distributed business that we now run. And we can actually thank our licensee for that.

 

Fraser Jack 

Talk to me about the the the concept, when you do go into the problem when you’re trying to solve a specific problem, how do you define exactly what that problem is? And then how do you then take that to the provider and any provider and say, Hey, you know, can can we solve this problem? And if so, you know, you know, what, what, what can be our expectations around solving,

 

Mitchell Ramsbotham 

and in a lot of circumstances, now, it’s, it’s something that smacks us between the eyes, and we have to, we have to work pretty quickly to change it. So as far as having the problem solved, I don’t, in some circumstances, really, I don’t think that they have the desired effect. In a lot of circumstances, they need further integration and development to be done. And once we start to look to do some of those things, we see the uptick that we’re looking for, it has been a matter of building a relationship with that external providers, making sure that you’re really conscious with the way that you outline your needs and requirements up front. But then creating that ongoing dialogue and making sure that in the initial engagement, that you that you set an expectation that they’re there for ongoing support, because you know, we’re only a fledgling business, we’re doing what we can, with what we’ve got a safe, fledgling business, because we’re in respect to wading into technology. And we’re just doing what we can with what we’ve gotten, we don’t really have any specialists in our business around that. So we’ve quite heavily rely on them. So setting that expectation upfront and making sure that the businesses that we’re partnering with not only fit the bill as far as what the technology and the and the capability of the technology is going to be able to provide us. But also the after sales support and the ability to have somebody on hand to continuously refine and integrate the technology into our business based on any dynamic change that we may see that that’s led by our business, or by the industry that we’re wearing, or potentially adding a lot of circumstances by virtue of the way that we’re engaging them and the businesses that I’m talking to you about just because we didn’t know upfront so you just constantly learning.

 

Fraser Jack 

Now talk to me about the idea of how long I mean a lot a lot of these times these decisions are made and you know, the reality is that software changes over time and better one comes along. Do you have any expectations around the length of time for They might be using or stick around, or how often you need to review it.

 

Mitchell Ramsbotham 

A lot of the one, a lot of different types of technology that we’re wading into at the moment, are more often than not, you’re fairly heavily supported and long, long standing for that exact reason. We don’t have the bandwidth to be able to. So we like to, I would like to think that we’re at the fourth, starting to get to the forefront of what we’re doing in terms of the the use of technology. But we also hedge our bets to the extent that we use some of the larger, long standing more ingrained businesses to ensure that there is that overlay that we’re not going to be doing this project again, over the short term that we’re using, using tested, tried and true, you know, we don’t necessarily want to be the pioneers. We’re happy to happy to be a fast follower. But the decision making process is normally around, you know, not the not the not jumping at shiny lights. But making sure that and just making sure that what we’re, what we’re leaning into is something that’s going to stick around. You’re exactly right.

 

Fraser Jack 

Brilliant. Thanks for coming on to this episode. We look forward to catching you in the next one.

 

Mitchell Ramsbotham 

Cheers.

 

Fraser Jack 

Welcome back, Vicki.

 

Vicky Andrews 

Welcome back to Fraser,

 

Fraser Jack 

thanks for coming on, we’re talking about expectations versus reality. When it comes to technology, they are a bit you see both sides of the story running teams of agile teams and people that are producing, producing the technology I guess, as well as those that you know what the what the outcomes or results. Talk to us about, you know, expectations versus reality when it comes to building technology.

 

Vicky Andrews 

Yeah, so we have some amazing technology builders in Telstra. And I love the fact we have a lot of graduates as well with new and fresh ideas. And obviously, that comes with this huge energy that you just don’t want to, you don’t want to detract from that. Yet managing their expectations of what’s achievable, particularly within a sprint cycle, as we mentioned before, which in Telstra is commonly a two week block is probably a quite challenging as a coach. Quite often as soon as you start doing one of these prioritization techniques and taking out the fundings while the must haves are built, you can lose a lot of that energy. So we work really hard on making sure that those things stay on our agile boards, we call it. So say, if it’s visual, it’s meaningful. So if it’s up there, they still feel like there’s a chance that they can work on it. So I don’t want to take that chance away from them.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yep. And in setting, setting expectations with the product owners, all those people that aren’t going to be the end users. How do you go with that, because often, we know we’re used to, especially with larger corporations, we’re used to getting some amazing software coming out. We haven’t, you know, great user experience, and then the expectations all of a sudden go up and not always easily met. That’s correct.

 

Vicky Andrews 

And I guess some of the techniques we might use are things like a bull’s eye diagram, that’s a really great visual to try and put these concentric circles, and quite a small circle deliberately in the middle, followed by the medium and the larger ring on the outside. And letting that product owner say there’s only you know, X amount that can fit in this, this inner circle, the rest are all there. But as soon as you place something in there, the rest flow out is one of the techniques that we use. And that real Bullseye, I guess even that word means you are going to hit something, it may not be everything you you’re expecting. But the reality is is you will hit the bullseye if you keep your capacity to what the team can manage. So, yeah, a lot of capacity planning and agile.

 

Fraser Jack 

Really, that’s a that’s a great dog. I’m I’m just thinking that is it from a target point of view in in hitting the middle of the target. You know, versus versus hitting somewhere on the target? Certainly. Yeah, certainly. Yeah. And as you say, the reality is you probably hit the target somewhere, not in the bull’s eye, not in the middle.

 

Vicky Andrews 

Yeah. And some little bit more, were must it’s a must build, we might do something like an abstraction ladder. So we’ll draw up a ladder, we’ll put the problem statement sort of through the center. And we continue those five why questions and that hits you up the ladder. So why do you want that? Why do you need that? Why would you do that? And then the bottom of the ladder is the hell and it starts to let them see that to have that why then the how, if you want that, how are we going to get it done? And then they tend to stop on the ladder at some point where the expectation is manageable.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yeah, that’s interesting, too. So to run me through those questions again to the wise.

 

Vicky Andrews 

Yeah. So five why’s so you just continue to say the problem statement is we need to build another mobile phone tower. Why? Because the receptions not great in this part of the country. Why? Because the current tower is too small, not high enough. excetera and I’m no technical expert. We run through those and eventually you end up with something like the final Why will be so it’s a pleasurable experience for all our customers in Central Queensland. And then that’s the focus. And then how do we give them a pleasurable experience it may not have been the first idea you came up with, because the first idea was to build a mobile phone tower. I’d like to give a pleasurable experience to our central Queensland customers, and it may be achieved a different way.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yeah, fantastic. Okay, really good. Now talk to me about the concept of success measures, and how do you go and put those in place. And then and then work out, you know, like with your sprints, for example, getting it done or getting it achieved what what’s successful what’s not successful?

 

Vicky Andrews 

Yeah, we try to look at a guess maturity of where something got to. So fail fast or succeed early as my preferred version of that. When we get to the end of a sprint, we do two particular ceremonies. So a sprint review reviews the actual work. So that’s where we can discuss where we got to, and why it’s not the way we had said in our initial sprints. So that’s all that technical discussion, and perhaps how we could have got there better in a technical sense, though, if you had delivered to me on the Tuesday, I could have rolled that out on Wednesday, and maybe that would have made it all quicker. Whereas the retrospective is about how we work together. So that’s more, you know, if we got together a couple more times, or if you shared those documents, you know, with me, the way we work together, could have made it more successful. So we have, the way we work technically, and the way we work emotionally together. And the combination of both, we take into the next sprint those lessons. And they go up as a card just like a piece of work. So if you and I agreed that we would meet for two hours long GM, mid sprint, that is a card on there that travels across just like we agreed to build widget x, y, or Zed. So we commit to the Agile practices as much as we commit to the technical build.

 

Fraser Jack 

So you have technical build cards, and this is for those people haven’t built software. Think of it as a whole lot of post it notes. Under the air conditioner, sitting on a wall or moving along a process of stepping stones. And so one of those cards is the idea of you adding emotional things to the card. How do you feel about that? What was the process? Could we improve some personal stuff

 

Vicky Andrews 

along the way we work, not just what we’re working on, that makes a difference in Agile?

 

Fraser Jack 

Yeah, well, okay, great. So when it comes to, you know, meeting people’s expectations around software, there’s probably a few cards, you could add to that as well.

 

Vicky Andrews 

Correct? Yeah, and I guess customer needs cards who really want to have that on there, a lot of acceptance criteria will have a customer focus. So we want to build x y Zed, but it’s only acceptable to move it to done when we meet these emotional criteria from our customers. Yep.

 

Fraser Jack 

Now when it comes to short term versus long term thinking, I want to just quickly go through because obviously, there’s a lot of decisions to be made in all corporations large and small. Whether you putting you know implement implementing software or, or systems or processes for the long term versus the short term, and how long, how long, you know, things change so fast. Things change so fast, it seems like that we introduced some technology. And now before we know it, it’s out of date.

 

Vicky Andrews 

So an agile at scale, which is the top end, I guess, of the transformation in Telstra, annual planning or so there’s a big strategic plan that we tried to do sort of T 22 to 25, that three year marker, but annual planning and midterm annual planning those sort of longer term pieces. Short term, we have what’s called the QPR the quarterly business review. And that’s an entire process in itself. And that’s where we compete across the whole of Telstra for our resourcing and our time and whether our teams are formed the right way to work on Telstra, its highest priority. So not just my mission team and what we were working on, but the whole of Telstra may need to rejig these agile teams to make sure we’re servicing the greatest need for Telstra. So that’s quarterly.

 

Fraser Jack 

Well, so quarterly is sort of like your, your benchmark milestone, everything could change in the next quarter.

 

Vicky Andrews 

Correct. We try not to change a lot in a quarter, but we’re really trying to be agile. And so someone does call it out, and it doesn’t fit in those boxes, we certainly want to explore whether we can make that change, mid sprint, mid cycle, mid annual plan, whatever is needed.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yep. And you can get on my six too expensive into that period. So plenty of work to be done. Now, net promoter score is one of those things that spoken about a lot when it comes to organizations. And obviously, to me, this sort of this comes back to the concept of reality versus perception. Often, if we’ve got low expectations, we can give something a really high net promoter score, because it blew us away. But often when we’re walking into technology and with the way we want to use technology just to solve issues, we we have this high expectation of what it can do, and therefore the Net Promoter Score can often be low. How do you guys go? Do you have any promoter scores within within two weeks?

 

Vicky Andrews 

Yeah, it’s a really important part of the Telstra way of working. And it’s not just our frontline support staff who are selling the product out there who focused on net promoter score, it’s all of us, including me as an agile coach, and how I can affect that. So and even in our team, so we’ll have Net Promoter scores of whether one team service and other internal team in Telstra, so we practice it all the way through. We have those detractors which we don’t want to see So really keen on spending some of our time working out. If someone’s a detractor, could we could we change that mindset because that’s normally a mindset one. We have our advocates, which we love, and we need to spend time embracing them to make sure they remain as an advocate. And probably the third ones that influencer. So they may be neither of the two above. But they’re really strong influencer either externally or internally, it’s pretty important to know who they are when you’re when you’re having any of these ceremonies that we conduct. And you need a couple of those influences you need to showcase to them on a regular basis. So that’s another agile ceremony, probably monthly. We’re trying to showcase with all three of those people in the room, so any detractors to see if we can help them understand any of those advocates so that they’ll go on and post and share all the amazing things. And those influences, we really need to hit them up in that showcase for what we need from them to help us be successful.

 

Fraser Jack 

Wonderful. Thank you, Vicki, for coming on and sharing. We look forward to catching you in the next episode.

 

Vicky Andrews 

Alright, thanks for having me.

 

Fraser Jack 

Welcome back, Ivon Gower.

 

Ivon Gower 

Thanks, Fraser.

 

Fraser Jack 

fantastic to have you here. We’re talking about expectations versus reality. Obviously, you’ve come from a background of dealing with a lot of expectations when it comes to software production. And I’m not just talking about expectations from say, the advisors point of view, there’s expectations from all different parts of our business when it comes to producing software.

 

Ivon Gower 

Yeah, there definitely is, I mean, we have diverse clients. And when you look at a standard advice, practice, you’ve got different people doing different things with the software, you’ve obviously got your advisors, there’s the support staff, the paraplanners, practice managers. And then if you go broader into licensees, you’ve got your vetting and compliance and even your internal sort of centralized power planning teams. I get to deal with internal staff as well who represent these people and and they have a range of expectations and needs and wants as well.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yes, certainly. Yeah, certainly is, is there’s there’s definitely many sides to this. Talk to us about the the expectations and a lot of people have i think i think we come from a world where technology is often feels like it’s easy to produce or easy to, to use, we you know, we’re very much used to large end of town technology spaces where things are just simple and easy. And kind of we get this expectation that anything that is rolled out should just be nice and simple.

 

Ivon Gower 

This, there’s this view that technology is going to be the solution. And the reality is, it can be a catalyst towards change, it should be considered an enabler. But in order to be the solution, it’s it’s got to come with quite a bit of work and quite a bit of commitment to, to learn it, to embrace it. And to leverage it.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yeah, that’s certainly the case. And if we’re talking about trying to make things efficient, then getting the most out of the software, comes with a fairly steep learning curve for all involved,

 

Ivon Gower 

there’s always I mean, it’s a new piece of software, right. And we’ve all experienced those changes over time, I remember when the ribbon was introduced to Microsoft Word, and it just felt like a huge change, all of a sudden, you’re trying to find where all your buttons are. And that’s using a piece of technology that you’re already used to an already using. So changing technology, and finding that you want to do the same thing. But there’s a different way of doing it. And can can be quite disruptive, learning how to use it most effectively. And particularly focusing on the things you absolutely have to do. So what are the core outcomes of the business? Generally, things like we need to generate a statement of advice to present to this client. That focus can help you just cut through all the features that are available, and ensure that you’re getting getting outcomes from the software, generating revenue from it as quickly as possible. With time to then explore all these other features later on down the track.

 

Fraser Jack 

It certainly doesn’t. I’m thinking this is a as I mentioned, the training aspect of it, how do you sort of go about that concept of, you know, we created a new, a new, something new, a new feature, and then when you really need to try and teach a whole lot of people how to get the most out of

 

Ivon Gower 

that that comes down to change management, I think and the you will spend a bit more time I’m sure talking about change management through the podcast. But the the key I think, is understanding that it’s you can’t just drop training on people and expect them to pick it up. You need to look at the different ways people learn. You know, sometimes people need to interact sometimes people need to explore. Sometimes they watch videos, attend webinars, read held material, or call a support desk. There are different ways that people will pick up changes and you’ve kind of got to accommodate them all and approve She hate that people sometimes need to hear it more than once. You know, I think when you’re when you’re looking to roll out the change, you can fall into the trap of thinking, I know this, it’s so easy. I’ve, I’ve lived with it, I’ve, I’ve kind of brought about this change. So I really understand that everyone else should understand it as well. But people need to there’s that research into the fact that in order to actually take on something, people need to hear it five times. And you’ve really got to keep working with people, offer them training, offer them a different way of training, helped them understand what the change is, and help them understand how it relates to them.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yep, I sort of feel like a lot of the time we have software, and we don’t necessarily get the full use of it, or the full benefit of it, we sort of dabble around the outsides and use it a little bit. And we were all as guilty as others of it. I think, you know, all of the different parts of the moving software’s that we’ve gotten stacks and those sorts of things tend not to use them all to their full extent,

 

Ivon Gower 

which is a good thing. It’s, it’s, there’s nothing to be ashamed of there. And I think what it takes take the Microsoft Word example, again, the research that’s gone into the general usage of words says that 20% of the features in that system, frequently used, there’s another 50% that are rarely used. And those features aren’t used by the same people, they’re picked up by one or two people here and there. And that’s a huge system, financial planning systems are getting pretty big themselves. There’s loads of features in there and lots of things that that only a few users are actually leveraging. I think the trick is not to try to use everything in the system, but try to use what you need to use, be open to what else is there. But first and foremost, just use what you have to and what you can benefit from, and don’t feel like you’re not getting your money’s worth if you’re not using every single feature in there. Yep,

 

Fraser Jack 

absolutely. And I guess when it comes to some of these expectations, around, you know, purchasing software, we sort of, I always like to think whether it’s a short term thinking type thing, or a long term thinking type thing, are we are we making these decisions, and our expectations around long term strategy are they around just short term individual needs,

 

Ivon Gower 

the combination has got to be the best approach, if you can’t do what you need to do on day one, then you will struggle to get value out of the software. But the long term is key to to a long term software relationship. And I don’t think it’s a productive approach to continually change your financial planning software. I don’t think anyone really expects when they change, to be changing again, in a year’s time, or something like that, you’re looking at a five year time frame, to really embed it in your business and get the most out of it. So understanding what’s coming in the long term. And understanding the company’s track record of delivering is quite important that gives you confidence in the fact that when they present a roadmap to you, they’re going to be able to deliver on on future functionality. And then of course, agreeing on where that roadmaps going and feeling like you’ve got a voice in there. And and that it’s consistent with your own business strategy

 

Fraser Jack 

that we’ve seen, we you often hear, you know, I guess some of the pains when it comes to people not being happy with software, that’s probably an easy thing to vent on, there’s Net Promoter scores come out a lot. And you know, the idea of something might be nice, new and shiny, but then when the Net Promoter scores are requested, that seems to be not a lot of really high net promoter scores, and a lot of advocates for you know, the software is that, David, thoughts on that or why they might be,

 

Ivon Gower 

I will be interested in what, what the other participants in this series say about that, I’m always interested in hearing advisors views on, you know, whether they promote a particular piece of software, particularly the one that I’m working with, and also how they go about that process. Because it’s such an individual decision, you know, you’ll talk to people who will say, I will never give anyone five stars for four out of five is a really good score for me. And you’ll talk to others who will, you know, base their, their score on how they’re going today, or how they’re going over the last three months or the last 12 months or, or a lifetime. And what I get out of Net Promoter scores, aside from the opportunity to have like an individual conversation and really drill into it is the relative score from one period to the next, you know, I’ve I would love Net Promoter scores in the, you know, in approaching 100, in the positive sense, but when we look at, you know, how did we write last time versus how did we write This time, I feel you can kind of normalize everyone’s different views around how they rank and how they score and what influences that school. And you get that trend are we improving are the things that we’re doing really having a positive impact on our client base and, you know, like compounding interest. If you’re continually improving, then over time, you’re going to be putting people in in a really nice position where they’re getting value.

 

Fraser Jack 

Brilliant. Thank you, Ivan. Thanks for coming on this episode, and we look forward to catching you in the next one. Thanks, Fraser.

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