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With Technology, The Trend Is Your Friend – Part 1 – Technology Obsolescence

ĪTEGRIA™ (formerly Mimic Technologies) was recently asked to perform an audit of a potential client’s network infrastructure as part of our Total AdvisorCare™ service offering. And as is often the case, we found that the firm’s current level of technology was outdated, and well past the recommended useful life of the hardware and software they were running. So much so that it was causing issues with their ability to get the most of the RIA specific software packages and services they were already paying for. So, I thought I’d write about the importance of keeping your RIA practice’s technology updated, to not only get the most of your technology investment, but also to make sure that your firm and your employees are not technologically “left behind” as the rest of the world moves forward.

RIA firms tend to fall into two distinct camps when it comes to their office technologies. There are those firms that embrace technology and are always striving to push their firm’s technological capabilities, sometimes to the razor’s edge, when and where they are able. And then there are those firms that struggle with the ever changing landscape of technology. These firms are constantly struggling to keep their systems and software at the same state because they find technological changes to be too disruptive to their business processes to make the effort to keep up with the rest of the world.

The following are just a few key reasons why an RIA firm should really try to stay current with the current “main stream” level of technology, both on the hardware and software side. We’ll explore the following reasons below in the next few blogs:

  • Technology Obsolescence
  • Workforce Productivity
  • Aging Skill Sets
  • Disaster Recovery / Business Continuity
  • Security

TECHNOLOGY OBSOLESCENCE

There was a post in a recent Schwab Portfolio Center User’s Group on LinkedIn that really illustrates this point clearly. It’s important for a firm to move forward with technology, whether it be in workstation, server, or laptop operating systems or with versions of their industry specific software to avoid being caught in the trap of being FORCED to move because of obsolescence.

As new versions of hardware and software are released, technology companies are forced to end support for older operating systems so they can concentrate their efforts on supporting the newer versions coming on the market. Over the next 2 years, RIA’s will be experiencing this on a grand scale. Recently our client firms have seen more announcements from software and hardware vendors that support for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 will be or has already being ended. The reason for this? Windows 8 and now Windows Server 2012 are already at the “Release Candidate” state.

This means that very soon, if your firm is not already using Windows 7 and/or Windows Server 2008, it’s time to upgrade soon, or find your firm left behind when you call in to support your “legacy” systems. This is going to be a huge challenge for RIA firms everywhere. An example of this is as follows:

Estimates are that Windows XP still has roughly 40% of the desktop market, which means these firms have to move up to Windows 7 soon in order to “keep up” with the minimum requirements of their industry specific technologies. Windows 8 will not be supported by most software vendors for a while, so there will be very little choice for RIA’s as to which version to go with in buying a new workstation.

Next time, we’ll take a look at going with the “Technology Trend” as a means to increase workforce productivity.