Capco Blog

The tablet - is it one half of a laptop or is it a smartphone on steroids

Neither, it is a piece of technology that Stanley Kubrick featured in his classic, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and finally 10 years later in 2011 the tablet is fulfilling its promises in the wealth management sphere.

The mobile(r)evolution in wealth management
And what a way to come into its own – the release of the iPad in April 2010 has had a transformational impact, and the tablet device has moved from being a minority form-factor within the enterprise laptop market, to a true consumer offering. For many, tablet technology could become their main computing device due to its multifunctional capability potential. Mobile banking is poised to advance from a simple transactional service to a rich, advisory offering, on the back of tablet devices. In industries where mobile technology is more prevalent, clients are becoming accustomed to high-quality user experiences, ease-of-use, and fast performance.

The profile of consumers adopting tablet computing is expected to be closely aligned to the HNW individuals courted by many of the private banks and wealth managers. The mobile nature of the target clients and, by extension, of their wealth managers makes this sector an ideal use case for tablet technology. For the first time, a digital medium exists which is intuitive, natural, and suitably elegant to support face-to-face client interactions. Its use tomorrow will be as socially and commercially acceptable as writing an email on a BlackBerry is today.

Clients are thinking differently, so should their bankers
A new kind of client is emerging from the financial crisis, who expects demonstrable value from a wealth manager before engaging their services - banks must respond by:

  • Providing unrestricted access to the client wherever the location - deliver compelling advice at any location, at any time.
  • Providing client transparency and collaboration - clients will expect high-quality collaboration and direct access to their advisor.
  • Demonstrating expertise with an edge - provide expert advice with the ability to provide up-to-date resource on clients holdings.
  • Ensuring relationship manager productivity and effectiveness - improve the client/advisor ratio; increase quality client-facing time.
  • Having a proficient tool in the war for talent - emphasise the relationship manager as the centre of the client experience by investing in front office and encouraging top talent to move across.
  • Enabling intergenerational wealth transfer – attracting a new, younger, and influential audience will require wealth managers to adopt marketing and communication strategies that advance significantly from the status quo.
  • Generating new themes - using technology to actively manage and explore alternative and passion investments such as art and wine.

Must innovation bring complication?
Tablets will provide a new delivery experience in wealth management and financial advice. Every financial institution should be thinking how to deploy them not only with clients but also with their advisor field force. There will be some reticence and initial objections about an emerging technology with very little empirical data available on how to navigate the operational landscape in a Tablet world. The questions that many will ask themselves include:

  • Will customers respond positively to the new devices, or will they be confused by the form-factor and see this as just the latest fad?
  • Will advisors and relationship managers understand how to introduce this new device into the very ‘human’ relationship with their client?
  • How will sceptical IT departments be satisfied regarding the security credentials of the new devices and apps?
  • How do organisations integrate this new delivery mechanism into a multi-channel offering rather than a silo channel?

Standing still - not the most effective strategy in the race to mobility
An excellent first step is to read our latest working paper, Mobile in wealth management, where we ask the question - Is it time to start taking the tablets? As well as setting out the background opportunities and business and technology drivers, it offers a clear route to proof of concept for tablet-based communication.

Receive an email with your personal copy of the paper


Except from an interesting article..."Tablets are for people who hate computers"

Tablets will not replace a laptop for people who are already PC-proficient. The best case scenario is that it might replace a second laptop — the old, low-powered laptop you used to leave downstairs in the basement or the den, or maybe on a bedside table. Even then, watch out. There will be times when you’ll get frustrated by the things you can’t do on the tablet. As I’ve said before, tablets are good for two things, reading and Scrabble (or other games).

Don’t get me wrong, there are moments of utter coolness with tablets. One time we had some friends over and decided to order Chinese. I grabbed the iPad, pulled up the restaurant’s menu and passed it around for everyone to decide what they wanted. That was cool.

Despite the occasional cool moment like that, I think lots of business professionals and technologists will find that the Amazon Kindle is a lot better for reading books while laptops are better for reading articles since the social tools for sharing and commenting are a lot better. The only real advantage that tablets have is that they are a lot easier to learn how to use and there aren’t as many ways for people to mess them up. That makes them appeal to a lot of people and that’s why Apple will sell 40-50 million of them in 2011.

Exceptions to the rule

Naturally, there are few exceptions to my new rule. Tablets aren’t completely worthless. Here are some of the ways tablets can still be useful for certain people and certain tasks in the business world.

Field workers - For people who aren’t at a desk all day, but need to go on site and meet with clients, show them photos or illustrations, and get them to simply sign documents, the tablet makes perfect sense and always has. Some of these folks were already on board with Microsoft’s Tablet PC. The biggest advantage of the iPad and the other new multi-touch tablets is that they’re a lot cheaper.

Single-purpose tasks - The iPad and other tablets can serve as inexpensive systems for doing single tasks like presenting photos (as in a showing for a photographer), serving as a document viewer for large documents, being a survey tool for people to fill out feedback forms, and lots of other functions that you can see if you browse the App Store.

The meeting machine - For people who are in meetings all day, like project managers and sales professionals, a tablet can be the ideal computer to carry. You can use it to quickly access email, calendar, address book, documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. You can take notes with it. You can use it to show off charts. And, there’s also a social aspect to this. There’s just something a little more friendly about having a tablet sitting flat on a table and tapping a few notes on it than putting a laptop between you and the person you’re meeting with.

Inexpensive kiosks - Another interesting way that businesses can use tablets is to create a low-cost kiosk. The iPad already has a number of apps that can streamline the process. You can set up a video or a presentation on a loop, or create something more interactive. A business could even build its own interactive app and install it as a private app on the iPad or on an Android tablet.

This point (There’s just something a little more friendly about having a tablet sitting flat on a table and tapping a few notes on it than putting a laptop between you and the person you’re meeting with) is important. While many younger clients will see a laptop is yesterday's technology, for many older clients, putting a laptop between the adviser and the client will present a barrier that can prevent build up of trust. It is really hard for both parties to see the screen at at the same time without (rather unnaturally) sitting alongside each other. While the input technology of the tablet still lacks the facility of a keyboard (I sit next to countless people in meetings attempting to handwrite on tablets but producing results a five year old would be ashamed of), the form factor does make a very powerful statement about the adviser disclosing everything to the client.

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