All family offices rely on software to help run their operations. While many of these packages are routinely updated, they may no longer meet the needs of a modern office. What makes software obsolete? Gartner describes obsolete software as “an information system that may be based on outdated technologies, but is critical to day-to-day operations.”
Why care? Outdated software presents major issues for family offices and their clients, including:
- Low productivity due to unreliable software performance
- Data loss when the software fails
- An easy avenue for cybercriminals
Signs your family office software is obsolete
So how can you tell if your current software is (or is about to become) obsolete? These are some of the warning signs that your software isn’t good enough for your current needs:
Staff often resort to manual processes.
If your office is bogged down in manual tasks that could be automated, you have a problem. The primary purpose of software is to take a manual process and either automate it or make it easier. If your software isn’t doing this, it’s a red flag because it results in low productivity and inefficiency.
Your needs have changed, but the software hasn’t.
A family office needs to be adaptable. It must be able to act quickly in many areas, as family dynamics, needs, and investments change. Software that restricts and hinders change is a problem.
The main function of the software isn’t working properly.
If it feels like a software package’s main function isn’t being accomplished fully or efficiently, it is a sign that your software is obsolete.
The software is noticeably slower.
This is a clear sign that the life of the software is ending. The potential for data loss is heightened. It can also be a sign that a cybersecurity breach has already occurred, and you have an even bigger problem.
The software has gone years without an update.
If it’s been more than a year since the last update was issued, it may mean that your software program is no longer secure, and it could be the reason the aforementioned problems occurring.
Why does obsolete family office software matter?
In a family office, old software is often no longer “fit for purpose.” High-value office staff are stuck performing unnecessary and cumbersome tasks because their key software tools, such as Microsoft Excel and QuickBooks, are siloed and unable to perform critical processes from end to end.
An example would be an office using a software program that wasn’t designed for private equity investments but has been jerry-rigged for that purpose by relying on manual processes and spreadsheets. The staff needs to make heroic efforts to get the transactions and the reporting right. What would the office gain if these people could move away from obsolete software and have an integrated technology platform instead?
Choosing an upgrade
With better technology, most family offices can become a better version of themselves and provide greater value to the family or families they serve. The transformation would result in improved efficiency, risk management, effectiveness, and responsiveness, and a more robust offering of analytical services. A family office typically has great, dedicated, and talented people. If one single technology platform could provide the enterprise-class processes, reporting, automation, and client delivery capabilities they need, they could really be in the business of managing the family’s wealth effectively.
The right software platform can revolutionize the management and operation of single and multi-family offices. A truly integrated platform can facilitate the implementation of best-practice business processes and workflows across multiple disciplines. It can enable a key goal, transparency, where “complexity is made simple” and where there is one source of the truth.
Why? A purpose-built, enterprise software platform will enable efficient, timely, and accurate reporting to drive improved decision making, while ensuring that family data is truly secure. It can provide the client with 24/7/365 anywhere access to reporting and secure communications. The end result is what clients want: a highly engaged staff delivering excellent, timely reporting and service execution that is driven by automated, integrated best practices to provide best-in-class risk management.
What does this mean day-to-day for the family office staff? It means having all the information (documents plus accurate financial transaction information) in one place to do planning (cash, estate, tax, investment, insurance, etc.). It means the office has a truly strategic solution that provides all the information to coordinate tasks and solve problems ahead of time.
What matters in choosing family office technology?
As your office looks to upgrade its software with the right platform for the family office of the future, there are several critical characteristics it should pursue.
- A solution that addresses the unique challenges and processes of your business, a software platform purpose-built by a family office for family offices
- An integrated application suite for entity management, data aggregation, investment reporting, general ledger, transaction initiation, trust, and tax accounting
- Business process and role-based workflow functionality
- A single source of data and truth
- The highest levels of security
Many family offices are trying to bring their technology infrastructure into the 21st century. Unfortunately, the market was slow to provide a way forward. Eton Solutions is a next-generation, end-to-end technology platform built specifically to meet the challenges of a modern family office and emphatically solve the software obsolesce problem.