One of the great virtues of modern, cloud-based adviser tech is the ability to continue running a business in the event of an emergency. But until now, when thinking of emergencies, most of us probably thought of natural disasters, like fires and floods that might threaten localized data, or slow foot traffic by rendering clients physically unable to reach the office.
We think of these emergencies as one-and-done events. Disasters present a serious disruption, but ultimately in our minds catastrophe can be avoided and clients can still be served. We can go back to our normal.
But what happens when an emergency crisis lasts a lot longer?
As the coronavirus epidemic continues its global spread, news of new outbreaks are reported daily. National and regional health departments have framed the epidemic in terms of when, not if.
Responses have ranged from level-headed hygiene checks and calls for preparedness, to price gouging and a panicked run on emergency supplies that prompted Surgeon General Jerome Adams to tweet: “Seriously people – STOP BUYING MASKS!”
All of this is to say that we have a great deal of uncertainty around a serious health care threat that is already disrupting the day-to-day lives of millions. The truth is, you or your clients don’t need to be sick to feel the impact of this epidemic. And that goes far, far beyond the volatility spikes challenging the assets you manage.
Japan has closed all of its schools until at least April, for example. Can your office, or your clients, handle childcare for an entire month? Businesses are implementing work-from-home strategies out of an abundance of caution, and the resulting demand for grocery delivery has overwhelmed online grocery deliveries. In short, your clients’ financial lives are about to become even more complicated during a period of tremendous market uncertainty.
In emergencies like this, it’s important to be able to access everything you need to run your business from anywhere, at any time. Communicating effectively to clients during these times can make a big difference.
Then there is the practical aspect of continuing to provide service through a disaster. Does your tech stack support screen sharing and video conferencing? Can your clients contact you whenever they need to? Can they access a dashboard of key data from any device at any time?
There is no telling how profoundly the coronavirus will impact our lives and livelihoods. It is hard to compare this outbreak to past epidemics, because our world is more interconnected than it was 10 or even five years ago.
What we do know is that we’re already starting to feel the impact.
Kyle Hiatt is chief revenue officer at Connect with him on