Joel Bruckenstein, industry tech guru who is known for his T3 conference aimed at the independent advisor marketplace, has taken his tech event to the broker/dealer community. The new two-day event kicked off on Monday at the airport-friendly O’Hare Westin hotel in Rosemont, Ill.

“This technology conference for broker dealers is a first for us – a ‘beta’ if you will,” Bruckenstein said in his opening remarks to nearly 200 broker/dealer and technology executives.

Day one was chock full of everything tech for broker/dealers looking to enhance their advisors’ productivity, gather more assets, and simplify the many day-to-day processes that tend to bog down the process of providing advice.

Despite the newness of the event, the industry didn’t hesitate to commit as the conference exceeded attendance goals.

Kicking off day one was Patrick O’Connor from Raymond James, who is leading the financial planning strategy for the firm’s thousands of advisors. O’Connor shared his experiences in deploying technology on such a large scale. His top advice: training. “Whatever you spend on a technology deployment, you should also spend three times that for training to ensure that there is adoption of the system,” he said.  “Otherwise, your investment just sits on the shelves; advisors have so many technology applications to choose from these days.”

Following O’Connor was Bryan McLaughlin, CEO of Redtail Technology, a provider of customer relationship management (CRM) software for broker/dealer reps. McLaughlin took the stage to “demystify big data” for financial services. According to McLaughlin, big data is not just a cool buzz word anymore, but is actually starting to produce dividends for broker/dealers who are able to harness, process and interpret data for meaningful purposes such as better understanding clients and their behaviors. 

Technology integration was a big theme at the conference. A prime example was the impressive demonstration by Laserfiche Solutions Consultant, Neal Donahue in a breakout session. Donahue showed how advisors can open new accounts in a “straight through process” without any paper being generated by integrating CRM, forms filling, document management and digital signature technologies into one seamless process. 

In this case, Donahue demonstrated how data is automatically extracted from CRM applications, uploaded into a forms filling package, such as LaserApp, and then routed to the client for a digital signature through DocuSign. Workflow technology in Laserfiche document management automatically pushes data through each step of the process including suitability review, approvals and archiving. What once took weeks to open a new account can now be done in a matter of minutes, particularly when mobile devices, such as tablets and smart phones are integrated into the process.

Rounding out the first day’s agenda were numerous afternoon breakout sessions on topics ranging from a new cloud-based CRM from Junxure, to using digital content marketing and smart data to better acquire clients and enhance advisors’ business development efforts. 

“The average person reads 88 pages of online content every day and shares that content with three friends or family,” said Justin Wisz, CEO of Vestorly. Wisz presented the benefits of “smart data” that can be gathered on investors and enhanced by content marketing technology. These prospects’ profile is further enhanced through algorithms that scan the entire Internet to build a view of that person to see if they are a qualified lead or not, and if so, then nurture them through further content marketing to eventually become a client. 

T3 isn’t always just about business; there were plenty of networking breaks, meals and after hours activities that enabled attendees to develop new relationships, evaluate potential partners and strategize about ways to improve technology platforms. 

As part of that approach, conference organizers took advantage of the Chicago location to host a Monday Night Football party that featured the hometown Bears taking on their division rivals, the Green Bay Packers. Big screen TVs, deep dish pizza and a busy bar scene provided the perfect back-drop that will no doubt generate future advisor technology innovation.

To learn more about what went on during day one of T3 Enterprise, follow the hashtag #T3E13 on Twitter.

Timothy D. Welsh, CFP is president and founder of Nexus Strategy, LLC, a leading consulting firm to the wealth management industry, and can be reached at tim@nexus-strategy.comor on Twitter @NexusStrategy.