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Time to Fully Embrace the Digital Workplace

Implementing a digital workplace may be far easier than you think--and the best investment you will ever make.

Benjamin Brown and Helen Modly, CFP, CPWA, 10/16/2014

With products like Microsoft SharePoint Online and Office 365, implementing a digital workplace where employees can work and collaborate from anywhere in the world may be far easier than you think. At a staggeringly low cost, it might just be the best investment your firm will ever make.

For many, the dream of a paperless office optimized with the latest collaboration and knowledge-management tools seems too good to be true. The sheer magnitude of multiple projects designed to implement the technologies required can feel overwhelming, if not prohibitively expensive, particularly for smaller firms. As a result, many of us in the RIA world are content to rely on email and poorly organized shared drives to support our day-to-day operations.

But what if there was an easy, cost-effective way to find and share documents and knowledge within your firm across all devices and locations? What if employees could get their work done from any device and any location?

Enter the Modern Digital Workplace
Many advisors have at least some experience trying to drag their firm into the 21st Century. Perhaps you've reduced the amount of paper floating around the office with an efficient scanner and the use of digital client forms with services such as DocuSign. Or maybe your employees will occasionally work from home on their own computers.

These are great first steps, yet today's digital workplace demands more of us. Thankfully, the technologies we rely on to create our virtual offices have become both advanced and intuitive enough to enable truly consistent user experiences regardless of where we might be working or what device we might be working on. Instead of having to worry about jumping between different systems, the modern digital workplace enables us to seamlessly pick up where we left off, collaborate with coworkers, and easily find the information we need to do our jobs.

With the right tools, working on your laptop or iPad feels just like working on your office desktop, finding and sharing a client document is a breeze, and reviewing the latest version of your firm's new client onboarding procedure has never been easier.

Why Make The Leap?
Emailing yourself some files to work on later in the evening or using remote desktop software from home to access the computer sitting on your office desk might get the job done, but is it the most effective way to do so?

Anyone who has tried can tell you, the experience is hardly consistent. You may not have the same version of the applications you use at the office on your device at home. Or you may not have the applications at all, instead relying on completely different software. And good luck trying to get a full workday's worth of productivity out of a mobile device.

Ben joined Focus Wealth Management, Ltd. as an associate in April 2014, after three years of providing design and support services to small businesses looking to migrate to the cloud. He is currently pursuing an Executive Certificate in Financial Planning through Northwestern University in addition to his CFP® certification.  

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