Thanks to mobile technology, nearly every company has one or more remote offices. The benefits they represent include easier access to a wider client base, reduced commute time for staff who live far from the main office, and greater visibility to potential clients.
There are challenges, however. Miscommunications can happen more easily between remote locations and it’s difficult to maintain consistency in hardware and software being used.
This article suggests ways that an LA investment firm can integrate its remote offices and ensure a smooth and unified operation.
VoIP and Video Conferencing
Technologies such as VoIP (voice over internet protocol) and video conferencing can strengthen communications with customers and between offices.
VoIP allows calls to be sent and received anywhere within the company network. An advisor at the main branch can take a call from a client and transfer it to a satellite office or even to an employee working from home, without the client knowing that they’re dealing with someone at a different location.
Video conferencing lets employees communicate efficiently no matter where they are located. The ability to see and hear each other makes the contact more personal, fostering a sense of community among staff who rarely meet face to face.
Centralized Data Storage
Data needs to be set up in one central location so it can be easily secured, shared, and backed up. When information is scattered among the different offices, it can be difficult to resume operations after a cyber-attack or serious technical failure.
Lack of a central server also means that employees may provide customers with outdated documents, unaware that the correct version is on the office manager’s laptop!
For most companies, moving to the cloud will make it easier to manage data across a distributed workforce. Employees simply need is a secure Wi-Fi connection and login details, and there’s less risk of inaccurate or stale information being distributed.
Virtual Private Networks
Employees working in the building where the servers are stored normally access their data using a LAN, or local area network. Virtual private networks (VPNs) allow advisors at remote offices to retrieve information without needing to be on site.
Any company with satellite locations should have a VPN in place: they bypass the need for leasing long-distance lines and support costs are lower because it is easily outsourced to third-party suppliers.
Virtual communications, centralized data storage, and a VPN offer flexibility and remote office access to important data. And because all the advisors on the network are on the same base system, everything from training new hires, to customer conferences, to system upgrades, can be done more efficiently.
Does your LA investment firm have remote offices? What integration methods are used to present a united company front to both advisors and clients? Let us know your thoughts in the Comments box below.
And to follow-through on the tips introduced in this short article, be sure to download your free guide, Investing in High Net Worth Clients: The LA Investment Advisor's Guide to Using Technology to Manage and Grow Your Firm.