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It’s a digital world and businesses are embracing digitalisation as a way of reaching new audiences, streamlining internal processes and creating new relationships. Digitalisation is now a buzz word.

But what is digitalisation, and what does it do? The word is almost a catch-all; and means different things to different people. It can mean social media technology, online ads, internal systems, and so on.

To really understand digitalisation, I think you need to step back from technology. Because digitalisation is not just about technology. It’s a way of thinking about the world and interacting with stakeholders. I think that digitalisation is about two key values – availability and responsiveness.

Let’s take availability first. Your clients don’t switch off, and the nine to five working day is losing meaning in a world where people are used to engaging at a time of their convenience. You need to be present for your clients around the clock – whether this is via mobile apps, on social media or your online platforms. We’re embracing this concept of availability.

For instance, we’re designing our new online presence to keep in touch with customers around the clock. We’ll be offering a live chat option, and a host of other powerful tools.

Availability isn’t only customer-facing. The process of digitisation also means that our teams  have access to resources around the clock. That’s why we’re launching digital training platforms within the organisation to promote learning on demand. Our people will be able log in at any time, and from anywhere, to learn at their own pace and prepare for qualifications and accreditations. We’re also in the process of organising digital seminars that can be attended by people irrespective of geographical distance. Then there’s our campaign to move our recruitment processes to the digital realm so that applicants can access psychometric tests when they want. Our HR system will then report the scores, allowing our human resource experts to take results and reports with them wherever they are.

Now let’s move to responsiveness. Gone are the days of replying to a client after a day or two. Clients today want conversations, and they want it at a time of their choosing. Waiting 24 hours on social media might be far too late. I am always looking to go a step further. For it’s not enough to just respond. You also have to respond knowledgeably and meaningfully. And that involves having access to the right information. We’re implementing CRM systems where a client’s history, previous conversations and investment preferences are available at the touch of the button. Not only will that make us responsive, but also carry forward the conversation from where we last left it off.

We’re transforming, and using the power digitalisation to create competitive advantage, deliver client value and set us apart. And rather than it being about pure tech, we’re focusing on how technology can help us be more people and customer centric. Which I believe is the point of it all.

This is the first installment of a six part series where I will be discussing digitalisation.

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Mike Coady is an award-winning financial expert and a well-known leader in the financial industry.

Having taken two of his previous firms to Chartered Status in the UK and also achieved the prestigious National IFA of the Year Award – Highly Commended.

Mike is qualified to UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) standards, a member of the Chartered Insurance Institute, a Fellow of the Institute of Sales Management (FISM), and a Fellow of the Institute of Directors (FIoD).

Blog published by Mike Coady