Will embracing robots help you embrace your future?

Borrowing scale from institutional partners

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The average family office has more than 30 external relationships8 with institutions, including banks, professional firms, investment managers and administrative services firms, which cumulatively support tasks that smaller family offices typically cannot. Each of these companies likely is in the process of adopting robotics automation within their own four walls, applying these to clients’ data and creating service offerings based on processes built upon these capabilities.

For a family office interested in adopting robotics into its workforce, these trusted partners can bring institutional budgets and expertise, both of which may rest outside of the smaller family office’s budget and scope.

These institutions are adopting not only relatively lower-cost RPA technologies, but also cognitive automation and full-blown AI. AI applications have been successfully applied to applications as diverse as monitoring contracts for required actions based on regulatory or statutory change, ensuring the integrity of information resources from a cybersecurity standpoint, monitoring investment portfolios or searching the internet to scrub unwanted information from the family office’s ever-broadening information footprint.

What should you do next?

RPA and cognitive automation are rapidly being deployed throughout the world of financial services. It is expected that family offices will soon follow suit and adopt robotics processes for their own purposes. This has the short-term potential to help family offices achieve new levels of efficiencies in their often diverse and highly customized processes, while supporting them in creating services for the long view. The emerging capabilities of AI and cognitive technology have enormous promise in helping families draw the rising generation into engagement with their legacy, but also in managing the uniquely long game of transferring a legacy that will endure for multiple generations.

  • Start small and grow your capabilities over time.
  • Consider establishing a pilot program that draws on the strength of an experienced partner. Professional services firms are acquiring experience with most of the technology providers in this space, and have the specialized skill set needed to make RPA processes work in tax, accounting, administration and other specialized workflows.
  • Involve your team. Employees often hear about the promise of robotics replacing white-collar workers, but the real-world experience has been that robotics allow workers to focus on more valuable tasks and employers to build higher-functioning teams.
  • Make RPA a business-led initiative, not an IT-led initiative. Bots can be configured within the teams that are close to the business processes and have the expertise required to make them work.

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8 Lessons learned: 25 years of family office management (IMCA, 2012.)