October 27, 2021

Tech Trends Series #4 – Transcript

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Tech Trends Series

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SUMMARY KEYWORDS

business, client, technology, advisors, process, incremental change, people, advice, big, problem, providers, important, bit, strategy, firms, horizon, roadblocks, tech, change, market

SPEAKERS

Hayley Pearse, Cara Graham, Fraser Jack, Patrick Flynn, Matt Heine, James Sutherland

 

Fraser Jack 

Welcome back to the XY Advisor podcast. I’m Fraser Jack and we are continuing our series on technology and innovation. And today we are covering off on how people advisors a businesses are using technology and innovation as part of their business strategy and understanding how their strategy or the preparation that they put into this plays a part in the technology that they’re choosing and when and where and how. So we look forward to getting stuck into this episode. Welcome back. Patrick Flynn. Great to be back there. We’re talking all things around business strategy. And so let’s, I’m going to kick this one straight over to you what are your thoughts?

 

Patrick Flynn 

So when it comes to business strategy, yes, there’s a lot that you can do. And look, all I can get to for the purposes of today is really one core driver. So where we are at simply Kaizen, we really specialize in incremental change, or that continuous improvement. And there’s two parts to that. So one day is just taking a look at, you know, some small changes that we can make on a short term timeframe and a small business, that should be something you can implement in a week, that will make things better. And if you do that, as the saying goes, if you pursue perfection, you will, you’ll fail, but you will achieve excellence, that can be really cool. But if we don’t have a long term view that is attached to that, it may end us may end up having us going off in the wrong direction. So to adapt the Bill Gates quote, you know, you might be making an inefficient process more efficient, but you’re still just magnifying the inefficiency. So what I always recommend is taking a leaf from Stephen Covey’s habit number two of beginning with the end in mind. And to put a bit more of a structure around this, there is what’s called the McKinsey three horizons model, which many of you will have probably seen in different capacities over the years. But essentially, it’s to say, let’s think of horizon One, two and three of growth for the business. And if we see horizon three as being our end goal, where we’ve gone through some transformative change, and things are very different. That might be an advice context, you know, we’ve got, you know, some more advisors or multi office or, you know, we’ve got a client portal, and you know, we’ve got full digital engagement or, or whatever the case might be, that’s where you want to be in that third horizon, that might be three years away, it might be five years away, it just depends on how ambitious you want to be. Then the, then you skip back to the first horizon and look at, okay, that’s all great. But what do I need to do right now just to survive, I need to adapt to enhanced FTS, I need to meet all of our new DTO and other requirements, you know, this stuff I’ve got to do right now. So Pat, you know, just calm down on the client portal stuff, I just need to, you know, stay compliant and you know, be able to legally operate. And then step and then horizon two would be the stepping stones to get us from one to the other. Now, the reason why I cover that off is because when we think about that, in terms of incremental changes that we still want to make, we still want to improve things today. If we know where we’re going, then we can frame everything that’s small that we wonder right away in terms of that. So if you want to say to your team, Hey, everybody, everyone can make a small change to this process. We want to engage everyone in the team. We want everyone to spend two hours on a Friday afternoon trying to make next week better, that’s really cool. If you want to do something in that, then maybe the team members can do it themselves. Or maybe they you know, provide a Kaizen suggestion box, which is not just about you know, the coffee tastes terrible, or can we replace the lighting in reception, it keeps flickering, which may be valid, valid points, but it might be saying, Hey, we want to get to horizon three. Horizon three focuses on digital client experience or our phone courses on profitable, low cost to serve. So if you’re going to have a Kaizen recommendation, then you need to frame in terms of those things, and how does this recommendation help us get towards those things. So if you’re thinking about making changes to your business, transformative change is very expensive. It’s very disruptive, it might not be something you want to do, you’re thinking about doing incremental change, but you’re not quite sure how to do it. begin with the end in mind, plan out the changes you want to have to the business in three years, what do you have to do now, and the stepping stones in between, and then frame everything that you do in every process improvement that you invest in as being something that helps you get along that way. Because for example, you might say, you know what I really want to invest in our SLA process. RSI is too inefficient. But then the business goal is, hey, we actually want to outsource this, over the next couple of years, don’t invest in improving your SLA process, you’re going to outsource that by the time you get to horizon two or three, if you’re going to say, Hey, I really want to rework my factfinder. But I also want to get to a digital factfinder, then can the work on this awful PDF, and just stumble through, even though it might be painful now, because there’ll be another when you could focus on that’ll be continuously relevant to you in horizon three?

 

Fraser Jack 

Yeah, that’s a really interesting way of looking at having him. And I also like what you said about bringing a stamp on the journey, I think it’s important to, you know, with any particular, you know, strategy that you’ve got in place, and any changes taking place there. The the stakeholders, which aka the staff, they’re involved in implementing the change are on the journey,

 

Patrick Flynn 

are this look, I call it the the consultants free kick. When I go into a practice, I do a couple of surveys for staff typically, one is a confidential survey. And one is a not public, but you know, visible to management survey. And a lot of the time the ideas I take and help a practice, implement, come straight out of those surveys. So somebody in the businesses already said the things that I say, and management tend to listen to it more from me. So if you want to save money on consulting fees, there’s probably something that your staff has already told you to do. And you probably just need to do it. Now. Sure, maybe you need some extra helping hand and you can give me a call if that’s the case. But there’s probably some really good wisdom from the people that actually do the stuff that you do. That’s in there right now.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yeah. Fantastic. Patrick, thanks so much for coming on this particular episode. We look forward to catching you in the final episode, where we talk about the evolution of technology and innovation. Thanks, Fraser. Welcome back, Haley. Hi, Fraser. Thanks for joining us, we’re talking about some of the different business strategies that we put in place. Now, you mentioned already that the fact tell using segments turning into a little bit more depth about you know, that segmentation process and how you come up with these things.

 

Hayley Pearse 

Yes, so this largely came about by identifying problems, to be honest. So every fortnight we have a robots and challenges meeting, and it’s the team’s opportunity to flag any client situations, that they’re finding challenging, and we found some common themes, and they were relationships with pair of attorneys, they were clients that had language barriers, people that didn’t have an email address. So we once we identified each of those segments, we then realize, let’s get that information into the CRM and highlight that these people are a variable to the standard process. And let’s build out what the process should be for those people. What it meant is, we spent less time focusing on actioning, the process for the people that are just the standard, and focused on enhancing the process for the people that do need a bit more involvement. If there’s a vulnerable client, I do need to take extra steps to engage with them. And it’s about making sure that that information is in the CRM, because if it’s just in my head, if I just know our look, Joe’s really hard to get ahold of, but I know at three o’clock every Thursday, his daughter’s home, and that’s when he answers the phone, that doesn’t help anyone else within the business if it’s just in my head. So we we spent a lot of time making sure that the team knew to capture that information, and put that in the CRM so that we could segment that way as opposed to over 65, millennial family, that sort of thing.

 

Fraser Jack 

It’s interesting, all these different points that are important to segment, not just their age, and you know, the standard demographics or how much money they’ve gotten super. But understanding understanding these little things that that make a difference to me, told me about the roadblocks and challenges managers mentioned that fortnightly. Tell us a little bit more about that meeting.

 

Hayley Pearse 

Yeah, so that’s been really effective in helping us have incremental innovation. So I pride myself in working really hard within the business to help us keep growing, but not too fast. And I think by taking a second to look at, what are the roadblocks we’re facing, what are the challenges we’re facing, and that can sometimes be with product providers. Because we work virtually I don’t Don’t know who is hitting their head against the wall over a small problem they’re having with a product provider or a client. So this, this meeting really allows us to come together, we all have different backgrounds when it comes to approaching that particular roadblock or challenge. And we then could use that to work out how to solve that problem.

 

Fraser Jack 

You know, that’s interesting solving problems. And I’ll get back to the incremental change thing in a second. But solving problems is often sometimes you look at the problem, you go, Well, this is actually it’s a problem, because it’s causing a client problem, but it’s not our problem to solve. How do you How are you working with those product advisors say, Hey, this is a problem, can you fix this up?

 

Hayley Pearse 

Oh, the, this is the good thing about having a good CRM. So one problem we were having is our team was spending 15 minutes on hold product providers. Understanding COVID has made challenging situations for everybody. But our CRM allowed us to pull out which providers were the most notorious, we went to the BDR BDM, and said, This is not good, we cannot service our clients with it being like this. And obviously, they can’t go and just, you know, hire 10 more employees, but their feedback goes back to them and goes back up the chain. And it definitely does that, because I’ve got the information to prove that that’s the case, they know that people have to be on hold. But if I can say five of my staff are on hold for three hours in total, over this week, that has weight. So that’s that’s my difference. But you’re right there, we’ve definitely heard, we’ve got a long list of roadblocks and challenges. And you have to filter through the things that are just people frustrated about something, versus something that we can have change over. And by having that meeting, it does allow us to filter through that process.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yeah, that’s really interesting. So you’re able to, you know, quantify and qualify the cost of the providers providing a poor service.

 

Hayley Pearse  

Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Especially with follow ups. You know, I mentioned before beneficiary nomination forms, it feels like it’s gotten worse. And the consent process hasn’t made it any easier. And that was a real opportunity for product providers and advisors to come together and go, what is best for the consumer? what is best for these people? How do we uphold the profession he and that guy don’t know that that conversation happened. And you know, this roadblocks and challenges meeting that we have, that just gives us more ammunition is the wrong word. Because I’m not against product providers, I want to work with them. But it’s it’s becoming increasingly frustrating, that they’re innovating things that aren’t really helping, like, it’s great. They’ve got digital signatures. But the signature is an old format of identification. So like, Why Why aren’t they looking at two factor authentication on forms? Why aren’t they looking at, you know, that their selfie identification, there’s just so many other things that could be innovating. And they’re just not focused on that area? They’re focused on? Oh, we have an app. But what does it do? But you can look at your balance, but what does it do? So you know, that’s that that meeting allows us to draw those things out and debate. Is this an issue or just a frustration?

 

Fraser Jack 

It’s certainly not I guess, when you think of it from a business, from a small business point of view, the strategy sort of has to be you buy towards using those those providers that are actually going to make your life easier, and your clients life easier and more efficient and more effective?

 

Hayley Pearse 

Yeah, we, I think the hard thing as well is, when you look for problems, you’ll find them. And because our business focuses on incremental innovation, it can be hard to not get distracted and see the opposite this way, if we fix this, and it could fix these 10 other things over here, versus but this is a cool idea. So it’s, it does mean there can be an element of overwhelm. But you know, the the benefit for us has been as soon as someone identifies that they’re doing the same thing more than five times, it gets added to that meeting, and we create the automation and it’s done. Move on. So it does allow us to be very efficient with our time.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yeah, incredible. So you’re absolutely right, because a lot of this around prioritization because like you said, if you look for problems, you’ll find them. How do you go about that prioritization process to say, this is the list, this is the one, this is quite an important thing we need to fix. Let’s fix this one before the others.

 

Hayley Pearse 

Yeah, largely its benefit to the client. Ultimately, it’s got to get back to that there are cool things that we’d love to do, that would make our lives easier. But whether that impacts the client, that’s that’s probably the priority, but we focus on the things that are also achievable. You know, me winning about fours isn’t going to actually do anything until I can put some data together to show someone that can make that change happen. Whereas me putting together a video on how to complete that form that has instant impact for the whole team and for the client. So it’s, it’s it’s a great discussion. It’s a great vote. There’s sometimes issues that hang around for ages, because we keep keep coming up against roadblocks. I mean, I’ve talked about the power of attorney process, we’ve gone to the ends of the earth to find out what our obligations are to approve that that document is legitimate to approve that I’m allowed to speak to this person. And there’s just so little information out there, it makes me worried what other advisors are doing. I’m sure they’re just going all they said that the power of attorney sounds good. You know, even the product providers, uh, I asked one of them, I said, Can you tell me what you do when you get this document? To know it’s, it’s all okay. And their response was, we check that it’s certified, and then we just put it on file because we and we wait to see if anything goes wrong. It goes through the courts, if something if this has been mishandled, it’s through the courts? Like, wait, that’s not? That doesn’t seem okay. You know, I think if our, if we are becoming a profession where we’re to be held to this authority, then that’s an area that is gray right now. And I’m only inquiring about it, because I want to do right by the client. Because there are situations where people take advantage of that. So and, you know, this is stuff where you can have all the tech in the world, but it doesn’t solve that problem.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yep. Now, but now with this incremental change, how is your How do you then prioritize the systems and the resources and the people and the time towards creating this, these pieces of innovation, versus you know, because we’re all busy, you get busy doing your other stuff to dues have set times or set people, they just work on it?

 

Hayley Pearse 

Yeah, so it’s largely myself, being the ops manager and being a person that just thrives off of systems and processes and enhancing things, you know, making things the best that they can be. But it also helps that I work with Peter who is just across so much of this stuff. So we work really well together. It is hard not to focus on that stuff when you’ve got 14 reviews to do. So it’s it’s something that you have to allocate time for. And stick to that. Because when you find yourself in a rabbit hole of a new tool, it’s hard to step out of that and focus on the other work you’ve got to do. But it’s at each point asking yourself, if I dig deeper, how how will this benefit the client? How will it benefit the business? I think one tip I can give people when researching apps or any tech to failing that I had was I would spend time researching an application discovering all the cool things about it diving into how it would help us. And I never documented any of that. And then I’ve come across a reason why it wouldn’t work for our business or why we wouldn’t adopt this technology. I never documented that either. A you would go by and I remember that I’d started to look into it. Let me look into it again. And I would do the same thing. I’ve just wasted my time, when I’d already identified why we wouldn’t use that. So if you dive into or do some research into a piece of tech or changing a process, document that even if it’s a audio file, a screen recording something that you can refer back to that helps you stops you in your tracks before you dive into that rabbit hole again.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yeah, Amazing love good pros and cons list and especially if it’s you talking about for yourself. It’s pretty believable makes me go back and look at it. Oh, yeah, exactly. Haley, thanks so much for coming on. We look forward to catching you in the next episode. Thanks. welcome back to this episode, James.

 

James Sutherland 

Thank you.

 

Fraser Jack 

Thank you for being here. We up to I kind of know where we’re in Episode Four. We’re Episode Four business strategy. We’re talking. We’re talking all things around, obviously, innovation and technology that to do with sort of business strategy. We’re sort of stepping back a bit and looking at working on the business in this particular episode. What are you seeing advisors doing really well with with stepping back and working on their business? Yeah. Well,

 

James Sutherland 

I before asked that question, I think they’ve been inundated with, with compliance and regulation changed change at the moment. Assuming they’ve got through that. I think that finding out where the markets are up to and concentrating on the markets is probably the biggest key. If you know what your market is, and you everything that you do is targeting to that. I was talking with one advice firm in Melbourne, not that old. They do mid to large high net worth clients. They need a client that I think they they said 2 million plus, have fun, and they have got more work than I want to do with so but they’ve got roadblock so now that they’re trying but they’re trying to now slow down a bit to be able to move forward and they’re looking at what tech, how can they make their tech, more agile so that can actually Get the advice to these clients, because the expectation with it with a client like that is that the advice is going to be of high quality. And they were and I asked them on stage what they were, how long it was taking them to get an SLA out, and in some sort of six weeks? Well, yes. And they look at a change that they were desperate to change that.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yeah, yeah. Now, you mentioned the concept of stepping back into slowing down and then working on the strategy. You know, obviously, with there’s been a fair run on the last sort of, let’s say, most of 2021, there’s been, you know, running from this and running, it was running to the financial year than it was running to the October changes. Were there’s been a lot of running at what point do you do? Do you step back and look at your strategy for business planning point of view?

 

James Sutherland 

Yeah, what is the step back mean? You’re right. And I think you’ve said quite nicely, we’ve all been running doesn’t matter what’s been happening, it feels like the last 18 months or so we, we could have had the opportunity to step back, but it hasn’t been the opportunity, because of all the things that have been happening. And the expectations of what client’s needs are, you know, businesses looking at falling over, what do I do now? Can I can I change my plans? Can I change my goals? Can I retire earlier? On the or can I retire later? And that’s been a theme that I’ve seen come through as well. So I think, agility with advice serves as being the key, when do they take time to step back? It’s just how do you tell how you tell advise them to step back and let’s before before they move forward?

 

Fraser Jack 

Now, a lot of firms that specialize in these days that really are specializing in particular, say product set, or they’re specializing in a particular, you know, demographic of client, how do you see how do you see that being, you know, most of the way there are firms, mostly on that journey or some sort of way to go?

 

James Sutherland 

I think some still have a long way to go. I think that there are definitely definitely by firms that are specializing in specific markets, I will give rattle off a few that are doing that those that I have not actually specializing in specific markets are actually having advisors inside their firms that are the specialist, the risk specialist, retirement specialist, the aged care specialist, business succession specialist so that they’re actually waterbed wood funneling that the new clients to those particular advisors that had the skill set to be able to manage that particular type of client. Definitely. And I think the generalist the Genesis is going to get other than the relationships they really have. From a growth standpoint, I can’t see a generalist growing their business to large levels, if there hadn’t got a singleness of purpose.

 

Fraser Jack 

Hmm, yeah, exactly. Right. So if there are those specializing and you know, I don’t know, doctors who run their own practice, and do this, this and this and do these other things. And then I can just help those particular people with, you know, generally what they look all of their needs. But yes, yeah. Fantastic. Talk to us about the prioritization process. Because a lot of the time you know, that when it comes to business challenges, it’s nice to be able to do everything, but you can’t do everything. at it. Have you seen firms turn around and go great, we’ve got 48 things we need to do. How do we prioritize?

 

James Sutherland 

Well, the sales part of me says, produce the advice and get the advice out and the compliance part of me says, make sure you get all you get all your systems and processes in check. So and there’s that there’s that juggling act Fraser isn’t there where you need to do the advice process in a systematic bite about to make sure that all all of it’s done properly. But you’ve also got to get it get the advice there I say out the door in a better commerce. Because nothing really happens until the boss gets out the door. So there’s a there’s that absolutely, there’s this constant juggling act about what do we do? So the quicker advice firms who get their systems and processes in place, the way to monitor and supervise all those different aspects of advice, then, knowing that’s in place, then they can start work on getting their advice out quicker. I think you’re just going to get the advice quicker without looking at how the advice has been created. Using systems like the experience, etc, the world, then, then they’re just going to be creating problems for the future.

 

Fraser Jack 

When you’re seeing when you’re seeing technology in the business. Are you looking at sort of start from scratch type stuff? Or are you just looking at, you know, small, incremental change when it comes to businesses?

 

James Sutherland 

It depends on the firm. I think some we can make small incremental changes, but invariably, it’s more, it’s bigger. When you’re doing a discovery type wage, where’s your tech stack up to how you’re managing, it’s like, I tech stacks top to bag we’ve got a bit of this and got a bit of that. So how are they talking to each other or they aren’t Are you happy with that? Well, for the time being we are. But so it’s kind of like as you drill down, you find out that that the tech they’ve got is more of a put up with then utopian what we need so. But as I said, it’s because you’ve got to keep moving forward, you can’t make those large changes quickly in a changing from a hosted explained site to an own unexplained site. That doesn’t take days, that takes weeks, in some instances, on many instances takes months. So you can’t, as much as you’d love to say, Let’s switch from one to the other. You just can’t,

 

Fraser Jack 

either. What should be a small incremental changes anything is actually a large piece of work.

 

James Sutherland 

Yeah, absolutely. And needs to be planned. How do we do it? What do we pull off? First? You know, do we do we run them both in parallel? Do we extract that data from this process and put it into that application or whatever it might be?

 

Fraser Jack 

Yep. Fantastic, James, obviously a lot to cover in the business strategy side of it. Thanks so much for coming on to this particular episode. We look forward to catching you in the next one. Let’s welcome back, Kara.

 

Cara Graham 

Hi, thanks for having me.

 

Fraser Jack 

antastic. to have you back. We are talking about technology and the business strategy around implementing or bringing in or changing technology. Tell us about your business. It’s a bit bit more established, it’s not exactly a brand new, we haven’t started from scratch again. Yeah, so

 

Cara Graham 

I guess pwd is about 12 years old. Now, however, Troy who is a founding partner, you know, I mean, some of his clients he’s had for almost 20 years. So when it comes to change, and trying to improve on inefficiencies, we really like the idea of a big sweeping change and starting from scratch, but I guess we’ve kind of accepted that it’s just not practical for our businesses, there’s sort of too much history and too much legacy. From there. So I think it’s more about making some incremental changes, getting some small wins along the way, and just trying to, you know, improve the efficiencies. as we can, you know, I think there’s some cool technology where, you know, from, like, say, Salesforce, for example, we came across a little while ago, and we almost got really swept up with some of the changes from there. But you know, I think technology can certainly improve things. But advice is the hard game, you know, and there is so many different nuances, I just don’t see from the complexity that our business is sort of sitting in that we can just use technology to get rid of all our problems. You know, we sort of certainly can use technology to improve things. But there’s always going to be some complexities, it’s always going to be some manual manual status, because every client situation is different. And when you’re dealing with, with things that, you know, go back 10 or 15 or 20 years, you know, you need to kind of honor that the bespoke nature of this type of advice that we give to our clients as well.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yeah, it’s interesting, you mentioned that change being hard and change, you know, the advice is hard, the change is hard for the advisors in the team, but also, in what I’m getting it from your comments there is, it’s reasonably hard for some clients as well to, if you’re doing if you’re biting off a bit more than they can chew. Oh,

 

Cara Graham 

definitely, I guess, you know, we’ve had a lot of, let’s call them change projects over the years where we’ve changed providers or change technology, and you know, it’s almost like a step by step phase, you know, speaking to clients about getting them comfortable getting them on board, transitioning across dealing with the queries, you know, and sometimes you learn a lot about the client, what they’re willing to, you know, to tolerate, and what they’re gonna blow up about, you know, and being able to kind of manage those expectations is, is really important when you’re dealing with change, you know, and just managing the team as well, I think, you know, advice isn’t just, you know, going down one path, that’s why it’s advice, we’re assessing each person as an individual, and working out what what is the best way forward for them. And you know, you might have two clients there that look very similar, and you might end up getting them different advice for very nuanced and, and particular reasons. And I think that points to so hard to rely on technology completely, or sort of assume that technology is going to solve all of your problems, because it’s just not not that simple. You know, it’s, I think, every time you know, every time you design a process, and you you go, yep, you know, tick, tick, tick, this is gonna happen exactly like that. And then the first client that comes along and you try to work through that process, you go, oh, what about this situation? What about that, and there’s just so many little things like that. I think when it comes to working with people that that you know, You just need to be adaptable, and just have a really robust process where you can use technology as much as possible, but but also just, you know, be able to use some common sense at times as well. And, you know, with failure, and you know, all of the things that are coming in, at the end of the day, you know, we’re the ones that are responsible for making sure that our clients are better off, you know, when they walk out and when they came in. And, you know, we can’t just, you know, rely or blame technology, if it doesn’t, if it doesn’t go in backwards, we want you know, we really need to control that.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yeah, that’s an interesting point, taking control, take, take expectations can definitely get up there, once you’ve seen months of seeing the shiny demo, how things work, but I think you’re right, it comes back down to, you know, what problems have you got, and understanding that there’s going to be a whole lot of what ifs that you didn’t quite know about, through the process of speaking of process, do you have a process for implementing sort of new technology in your business?

 

Cara Graham 

I mean, I guess the process would depend on the technology and thoughts, but but I guess we’ve generally gone for, you know, I’d almost maybe phrase it as a slow rollout, you know, doing some testing with a few members of the group getting comfortable working through some issues, you know, building a bit of a, you know, building a bit of a q&a, or a bit of a, you know, a bit of a worksheet of what hurdles they might come across, and then rolling it out to more if the team from there, you know, and I think in that sense, I’d certainly put a hand up and say, we’re not perfect, you know, I think that, you know, some, you know, some things that we’ve rolled out within the business have gone quite easily and then you know, you’re just always going to get those people in your team that don’t like technology, I don’t like change and don’t want to enter. And, you know, we’ve got a team of 30 people and, you know, there’s, there’s just, sometimes I’ve been surprised by the people that resist and the people that embrace it, but, you know, again, I guess sometimes you just need to, you just need to work with the with the team, you just need to be patient and ultimately be available as well, you know, I what really frustrates me sometimes is when people go, Okay, this is what we’re doing, and it’s happening. regardless of whatever people’s queries or comments on, you know, we need to kind of really take people on the journey and make them feel comfortable and give them the tools that they need the training that they need, the guide that they need, you know, the time that they need to, to adapt to the change, and most importantly, as well, you know, all of this stuff, sometimes it’s taking a big step back to take a couple of steps forward. So we’ve got to, we’ve got to give our team the ability to do that.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yep, yeah, it’s your I had this visualization of, you know, dipping your toe in the water nice and slowly Test, test and measure, then roll it out slowly, rather than just getting ready to dive straight into the deep end.

 

Cara Graham 

Sounds it sounds good in practice. And then sometimes when you when you start rolling it out, you know, you come across some other issues as well, you need to go okay. And honestly, if I hadn’t hadn’t come across this, let’s, let’s make sure we we factor that in and adapt. And again, retrain and refocus.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yes, you’ve just been through a process of changing some of the software in your business from think tonight well from from another platform, how did you make the decision to change?

 

Cara Graham 

It’s been a really long road, to get to this decision. Like I would literally say, we’ve been toying over this for years. You know, we went through a bit of a, I guess, a sort of technology platform change maybe three years ago, and I guess we just realized we weren’t, we weren’t getting the outcomes as a business that we wanted. And so we’ve been almost resisting, the network’s changed since then. And then finally, you know, at the beginning of this year accepting that said, ultimately, we need to, you know, from a process point of view, from a compliance point of view, you know, we need to become more efficient, we need to outsource some of the portfolio work that we were doing. And that, you know, a solution like net wealth is really the answer, you know, they are doing this they’re doing it well, you know, obviously, it’s a cost. And I think that’s a factor and, and that’s been something that we’ve had to really review client by client as well, you know, the cost of moving across. And for certain clients where, say, net worth had been more expensive than what we were using previously, we’ve adjusted our fees to make sure that it’s the you know, in the clients best interest and that we can, you know, both give the client a good experience, you know, make it cost effective, and then also make it make it effective for our business, too. So, you know, it’s, it’s been a really big process. It’s taken us a long time to Just make a decision around it. And we’re about halfway through that transition at the moment. So right in the thick of it, we talk about net wealth multiple times a day, every single day. You know, we’re sort of regularly have hurdles that we’ve come across that we’re just dealing dealing with. And just, you know, looking forward to being on the other side, once we’ve kind of worked through this change worked through all the transition with the client, and then you know, then we can really get the the efficiencies that we’ve been sort of battling with, for as long as I can remember.

 

Fraser Jack 

Thank you so much, Kara. We will catch you very soon in the next episode. Welcome back. Matt Heiner.

 

Matt Heine 

Thanks, Roger,

 

Fraser Jack 

we’re talking about business strategy in this particular episode. Obviously, it’s something that you’d know a lot about running, running a large company.

 

Matt Heine 

Indeed, business strategy is clearly something that we’re pretty passionate about. And one of those things and it’s an old adage, if you if you don’t plan your plan to fail,

 

Fraser Jack 

yeah, fantastic. Now let’s talk about advisors and their strategy. There’s obviously a lot of different things we can talk about when it comes to this, obviously, probably the first one is making sure that they actually hit loads, as you just said, Have a plan.

 

Matt Heine 

Absolutely. I don’t know the recent statistics. But I remember when we used to do work with some of the consultants, it was generally about 50% or less, that had done a business plan within their business. Now that makes it really hard to grow a business or to implement many of the things that we’re talking about, particularly when it comes to tech. And without sort of digressing and talking about tech again, I happen to know that off the back of our advice, tech research, that we’ve done recently that those firms that are doing really well with their tech adoption and getting the results from their tech, a very high percentage of the advice, tech stars have a roadmap, they have a plan. Some of the better ones are actually looking at 24 months and have a dedicated person to actually implement that plan. And they’re seeing some fantastic results. So now business strategy is much broader. But it was an interesting observation.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yeah, exactly. Right. And we are we are focusing, we do want to focus a little bit more on the technology and innovation space, I like the idea of the roadmap conversation that sort of makes a little bit more exciting than just a plan.

 

Matt Heine 

Yeah, well, you need to be deliberate about your Technology Roadmap, it’s very easy to spend a lot of money and to get very limited returns. And I think that’s where we when we speak to advisors, they get disappointed, and they sort of lose focus on it, they’re not seeing the benefit. And they’re not understanding why they need to keep spending what we think was around $10,000 per employee on the various bits of technology that don’t integrate within their business. So you do need to have a plan doesn’t mean that the plan can’t change. A plan should not be something that you sit around a board table and agree at the start of every financial year, and then fall away in the bottom drawer. A business plan needs to be organic, it needs to be regularly updated, it needs to be something that you keep referring back to. Because I think there’s one thing you can guarantee about a good plan. And that’s that should and will change before the end of the year. Yeah, it’s

 

Fraser Jack 

almost, it’s almost like a tube between in $10,000 per employee is an interesting number. And we’ll explore with it more a little bit more where that came from. But this is really around a continual process of, you know, having having something some structure in place to be able to, to to think about your technology into to understand where it’s going, and what and what problems it’s solving.

 

Matt Heine 

Yeah. So I think there’s a real challenge between trying to look at or understand that the latest shiny is bit of new tech, and having an appreciation for what that tech might actually do for your business, either from an efficiency back office perspective, or from a client engagement perspective. So being really clear on what the intent is, or what the problem is, before going and trying to find the solution to it. Because as we’ve touched on before, you will end up disappointed, or you’ll find that you’re paying a lot of money for technology that’s not being used or delivering on on what you thought it should.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yeah, exactly. Right. Now, tell us about that process of looking at what the problem is, and looking at fraud going out and finding a solution. What are you seeing within the you know, some of the advice take report of some of those, you know, those businesses that are doing really well with stars,

 

Matt Heine 

this dad was I mentioned that they’re obviously putting a plan in place. We’ve touched on in one of the earlier episodes, the fact that data is really important. So we’re seeing a lot of advisors, in fact, the expectation over the next two years that 90% of these advisors, tech stars, will be implementing a integration technology to manage their data better. But that then leverages into all of the rest of their business strategy. So we’re seeing once they’ve got that data, and they’re able to do a deep dive into their practice analytics, or into their client base. They’re starting to think about pricing discussions. They’re starting to think about how they can automate a lot of the back office services. But ultimately, it’s about how do we deliver? Or how do we reduce the cost of service our clients so that we can obviously either increase our margins, or reduce the cost to the client, and how can we potentially Look after more clients, and there to really be questions that the industry’s really grappling at the moment. And to suggest that you know, technology is the answer for everything is just misguided. It is a whole business transformation in many cases. And that takes time and effort and commitment from the business. When we think about net worth their own business planning, typically it’s about a five, in some cases, six month process. And you really do need to thresh Thresh the ideas out, and you know, for what it’s worth, the way that we manage our business planning and strategy planning, we get together as an executive team, we all come to the table, we identify and look at some of the trends that are happening in the market, both locally and overseas, we then come back with a list of things that we think would be interesting to, to consider. It’s a big long shopping list, and there’s a new executive on the team. So it’s sort of at shopping lists, if you like. And a lot of that will be around efficiency, a lot of it’s around new product, a lot of it’s around consumer changes, and then we start to whittle it down, and we try and make sure that we can resource not only what we call lights on, so what are the things that we have to do to stay in business, which is sort of your regulatory and legislative work? What business as usual. So just to keep the business ticking over and sort of tactical changes to product and service. And then what are our big strategic initiatives, so the things that are really going to drive us forward or differentiate us in the market. So working through all of that, and then making sure you got the resources and the budget to match it is a challenging process, it means that as you get down to the pointy end, you do have to be quite fierce around what stays and what goes. And they’ll be different ways that you can sort of prioritize within your business, what sort of makes makes the cut? within our business, we look at things like you know, is this change or this strategic initiative going to benefit one client or one client segment or all of our clients segments? Is it going to differentiate the product in the market? Is it going to drive efficiency? Is it going to drive new revenues, and you can quickly see which items to again, tick off against a number of those different item items. So coming up with a bit of a scoring methodology, as you work through that business planning, we think it’s really important. Once you’ve actually agreed on what it is you’re going to work on for the year and you’ve worked out you can actually afford it and that there’s budget to either resource up or or in to invest into new technology implementation really used in while it’s all about so how do you start to make these changes, and the best advice that I can give is break it up into really small parts, and just start ticking off things and seeing incremental change. Because if you try and focus on really big sort of multi year projects, it’s very hard to get focused and to deliver on the important milestones. Yeah, it’s

 

Fraser Jack 

a really great way of looking at it in you know, as you say, that I’m trying I’m trying to try this on from a small business point of view, you know, obviously the lights on and be a you as I kind of feel like there’s been a lot of that over the last sort of 12 months or so. Everybody’s just trying to keep the lights on and business as usual with all the changes going on. But, you know, there’s those you know, those strategy initiatives that section me that’s the exciting part as well, that’s where you see real innovation going on. And, you know, I think in as you said, you know, that market leading type environment, it really does come back down to the appetite, I guess of the individual businesses, right? Is that you know, we want to be do we want to just be in the in the laitanan bu or do we will actually, you know, improve in the market and start implementing these some some real initiatives.

 

Matt Heine 

And I think the challenge in this day and age we’ve talked about this a lot is the world is moving really quickly. So we’re seeing changes in the industry, which has gone through a huge upheaval over the last three years, particularly post Royal Commission, we’re seeing changes in consumer behavior, we’re seeing changes in technology, advice firms, or any business for that matter can afford to standstill in our view, you need to be doesn’t need to be huge changes every year. But you need to be thinking about what the next two to five years looks like to make sure that you can set yourself up for success because businesses that don’t change or aren’t thinking about these things. risk being not relevant and not existing in the future.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yeah, and he mentioned that temporary motorisation process of you know, knocking your shopping list down from and being prepared to sign not yet for some things. How do you apart from the you know, lights on via you and type of things? How do you prioritize what what you are going to work on and what you’re not?

 

Matt Heine 

It’s probably the the hardest part of any business. And you mentioned before, how do you boil it down to a small business, it doesn’t matter if you’re a small business, medium sized business, big business, everyone has the same challenge, which is there’s too many things we want to do not enough time and not enough money. So that prioritization process is critical because you want to basically make sure that at any given time, you’re working on the most valuable thing. Now the most valuable thing will change depending on if you’re the advisor, the back office staff, the power planner, so it’s about making sure that as a business, you can all agree on what is the most important thing or things that we can be working on at any given time. So we have a different couple of different ways that we sort of manage this But we really do sit around a big table once every fortnight, and we debate it, and everyone sort of throws in their two cents worth on, on why they think something should be more important than something else. And I think it’s a really good process. And it means that you can bring the team together and you can get everyone aligned. We look at things from a size perspective. So is this going to be a six month job a 12 month job, or is this something quick and easy, that’s going to have a big impact. And because it’s very difficult to, to know exactly, you know, how many months or weeks or years something’s going to take, we use an agile terminology. So we talked about t shirt sizes, so everyone can sort of picture know, if something’s an extra extra large, they get that it’s a big project, and that it might not be the right thing to be trying to tackle right now all the way through to a small for more tactical items in the business, we start to look at and we often have this we do this exercise with our clients as well, is what you’re asking for, or is what we’re proposing is it a must have a should have are nice to have. Now, clearly, you have to do the must haves First, the should haves are pretty important. But there might be an argument from time to time where the nice to haves actually move ahead of the should haves for a new market segment or you’ve seen an identity and you’ve identified an opportunity that others haven’t seen yet. So working through those two sort of processes. And then within that, assigning things one, two, or three, over time you start to narrow the list down and the better ideas and the things that are going to be very valuable rise to the top.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yep. Fantastic. Thank you for showing that. How important that you mentioned the roundtables, you know, how important is that to get the as many different stakeholders or voices at the table as you can from from your customers or your clients through to, you know, like through to the person who’s you know, processing that whatever might be all the way through to, you know, somebody who has a managing director.

 

Matt Heine 

Yeah, it’s absolutely critical. As much as I’d love for all of my ideas to get through, the business wouldn’t be nearly as good a shape if that was the case. So I think having different stakeholders having different voices is fundamental. I love the idea of having the client voice at the table. So sometimes it might be that you actually allocate that role to someone in your business. So there is a person that turns up to each meeting with the clients cap on, and they are the client advocate. Or it might be that you actually get a client or a client representative into those meetings to understand what their perspective is or where they’re coming from. But really important you get representation from across the whole business. It helps bring the team along, and it makes sure that you are working on the right things.

 

Fraser Jack 

Fantastic. Matt, thank you so much for coming on this episode. We look forward to rolling up the series with a discussion on the evolution of technology and innovation. I will look forward to catching you in the final episode.

 

Matt Heine 

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