It’s easy to talk about ‘going digital’ and visualise the benefits of digital advice tools like client portals and digital signatures. After all, we all want to be better, faster, and more profitable.

It’s not so easy to make a success of it.

Over the past few years, many advice businesses have experienced first-hand the benefits of digital ways of working and will now be more digitally advanced and capable than they have ever been.

But as many businesses are also finding, moving forward with digital initiatives - like the provision of digital advice - is a challenge.

It’s because a digital strategy has a wide impact on a business’ operating model, far beyond what the client or adviser sees on their screen. When problems implementing a digital strategy or initiative arise, it’s usually down to a few - but significant - business barriers.

Could these three common barriers be stopping your digital strategy from moving forward?

1. Legacy technology

Businesses have the appetite to move forward but find their core platform doesn’t give them the capabilities they want to put out to clients. Many advice companies have self-built applications and routines (like excel) to go round the edge of their core platform, making it more difficult to upgrade or change what they’ve created to keep their end-to-end processes going. But it’s not insurmountable, and businesses are finding ways to overcome this by working with technology partners.

2. Culture

Businesses often say that their senior team ‘get it’; they know digital is a priority and want to move forward. Teams on the ground say ‘if only we could make better use of modern technology, our jobs would be a lot easier’. Somehow, the initiatives get stuck in the middle of organisations - it’s not a priority, or other things are high on the executive or management agenda. To overcome this barrier, a business needs a joined-up approach and consensus on priorities to get traction and avoid ending up with a few digital initiatives run in silos. Many initiatives stall because that buy-in isn’t there.

3. Data

80% of firms say they haven’t got a single version of the truth for some of their core data items, making core digital initiatives difficult. Firms need to be confident when exposing their data in the digital environment, particularly in front of clients. Cybersecurity threats, client identification issues and the need to have a secure environment in which to operate also add to concerns. Good data governance and good data discipline are prerequisites for success.

So there you have it, the three most common barriers to digital success. Share them, talk about them, and tackle them head-on to move your digital strategy - and your business - forward.