In my last blog, I highlighted key trends in the shift towards the wealth platform of the future. I’d now like to take a step back to look more broadly at the fundamental technology transformation that has begun to shape our industry. Here at Accenture, we take an annual look at the latest trends in technology that will be shaping our industry over the next three years.

Here are the top five IT trends identified in our Technology Vision 2017 report, which I think will continue to accelerate transformation in the wealth management industry:

Trend 5: The Uncharted

Despite being an industry in the midst of digital disruption, what lies ahead in how firms will win in hybrid advice remains a blank page. Fast-movers could continue to reap the advantages of the uncharted terrain ahead. Leading wealth firms will be the ones investing in an agile foundation that will allow them to both break new ground in advice offerings while rapidly evolving in response to investor demand.

Trend 4: Design for Humans

The advisor and retail investor must be at the heart of all technology. Rethink customer journeys and remember the importance of adapting technologies to unique human behavior. Designing effective solutions to fit advisor and client behavior is a must. Firms should think about moving beyond transforming siloed experiences for digital advice or planning, and shift towards an integrated experience and platforms across the relationship lifecycle.

Trend 3: Workforce Marketplace

Exacerbating pressures from an aging advisor force and increased self-directed competition, the digital age requires advisors and relationship managers to be complemented by a lean service model and an enterprise workforce with built-in flexibility and scalability. Embrace freelance workers and open talent marketplaces that offer access to sought-after digital and technology skills. Identify and make the right staff roles necessary for a more agile, yet compliant, approach fit for the digital revolution.

Trend 2: Ecosystem Power Plays

Across the financial services industry, we continue to see more partnerships with third-party platforms to help meet the increasing expectations of customers. Wealth management is leading the way, in some respects, as firms move towards digital and hybrid advice models, powered by the emerging digital platform and fintech landscape. Now is the time to design future value chains, choose the right partners from an evolving ecosystem to be able to protect and further differentiate your brand.

Trend 1: AI is the New UI

While gaining greater early traction in other industries, artificial intelligence (AI) has been piloted in wealth, starting with heavily manual operational processes, focused on accuracy and efficiency. The next stage in AI will be scaling this processing while drawing on machine learning capabilities to better engage with advisors and clients. Digital assistants, including chatbots and other forms of intelligent interactions with advisors and clients, are critical to helping empower the client and advisor experience. This will be a key building block to collaborative hybrid advice offering, delivered at scale.

Wealth organizations will continue to be rapidly changed by technology forces in the coming years. In order to lead the way in delivering hybrid advice at scale, now is the time to invest in harnessing innovation.

If you are considering making a change in your organization, please email me, Scott Reddel. I would be happy to help you think through your challenges and navigate the solution landscape.