Technology has facilitated immense change in the way businesses run over the past decade. The invention of smart devices, from smartphones and tablets to voice activated devices has increased consumers expectations of how day-to-day operations work and the speed at which information should be available.
Communication has become more fluid. Email was once seen as the newest and most modern form of business communication, now instant messaging and live chat has unceremoniously overthrown email as the communication method of choice for millennials and Generation Z.
Understanding issues like these is vital for organisations and their ability to succeed in the coming years as not only the workforce, but also the consumer market they operate in loses its older generations. This was a hot topic at this year’s Fund Forum conference in Berlin, as the funds and financial services industry begins to tackle the issue of attracting younger, more tech savvy investors.
Previously portrayed as old men in grey suits, the public image of the funds industry is undergoing a refresh to one of a more vibrant marketplace. Where once the industry was clouded in secrecy, a new air of transparency is at the heart of what is attracting new and younger investors. The advancement of mobile technology and the rise of FinTech has been a driving force behind this new outward facing image, yet there is still a lot of work to be done with internal operations.
Outdated legacy systems still rule within some organisations when it comes to communicating with and between employees, and this situation is exacerbated further when it reaches the upper echelons of the boardroom. In almost no other industry is there a greater appreciation of the importance of having access to the right data and the power that this holds, yet still directors are forced to work with outdated systems.
At last year’s conference, we asked attendees how they received their board materials, to which a staggering 36% said they still receive these in paper form. In the modern day, when directors walk into a board meeting with more computing power in their pocket than was available to the super rich 20 years ago, this is simply not acceptable. If we were to dive deeper, how many of the other 64% actually receive their board materials in a manner with which they are happy? We are willing to bet that number is quite small.
Progress in this area has been slow, however progress is at least being made. “Every year that we have attended FundForum, we see a greater knowledge of the benefits solutions such as BoardPacks can bring to organisations and directors alike, which can only be a good thing,” said Daniel Tin, eShare’s representative covering the DACHLU territories who attended this year’s conference. “Whilst adoption of such technologies isn’t where it needs to be for the industry as a whole, younger and more tech savvy directors being appointed to funds boards has definitely been a positive driver of change.”
Updating and improving internal processes such as board meetings may not be the most glamorous of projects, especially when compared to other uses of technology such as blockchain and roboadvisers, however those that have utilised technology in this way have seen a clear benefit, not only in their security, but also in their ability to make quicker, smarter business decisions.
Ensuring the most up-to-date information is available to those that need it, when and how they want it is a necessary requirement demanded by new investors, and it should be exactly the same for board members. Utilising the technology that’s available to enable smoother running of your organisation needs to be high on the list of your demands for this year if you want to see the prosperous future you have mapped out.