Most companies aren’t prepared to adopt digital business models, says a new report by Odgers Berndtson and Forrester Research. It finds revenue from the sales of online products and services will become increasingly important over the next five years, but that most companies (84%) aren’t ready to support digital initiatives.

While nearly half of those surveyed (46%) predict a large portion of their sales will depend on digital growth within five years, only 21% say they’re equipped with the right teams to define their digital strategies. And, only 14% say they have the necessary processes in place to implement such strategies.

Read: Use of non-bank, online financial services to triple

The report notes digital transformation also depends heavily on a company’s CEO and executive team. The problem is only 26% of survey respondents agreed that their CEOs set a clear vision for digital initiatives.

In particular, says the report, businesses in the healthcare and retail sectors will be most affected by disruptions caused by new technology. The vast majority of respondents (94%) anticipate massive disruption over the next twelve months for healthcare as a result of data management changes, for example.

Read: One-third of businesses can’t detect cyber attacks

Meanwhile, 91% predict the retail industry will see significant change as a result of e-commerce growth throughout 2016. By 2020, says the report, digital experiences are expected to drive 58% of overall sales, with 12% of retailers becoming completely digital by that point.

Read: A business model that’s tough on some emerging markets

Digital innovation for advisors

For advisors, automation is one way to make your job easier. It boosts output, and lets you focus on building your business and incorporating value-added services.

But you need to careful, since the introduction of new tools and technologies shouldn’t reduce how much you see clients. Jason Pereira, financial consultant with Bennett March/IPC Investment Corporation, spoke with Advisor’s Edge in 2013 about the best ways to integrate automation into your practice. While he automates as much as possible, he makes sure any tools he adds don’t create more work for him or his staff.

To figure out where best to use automation, Pereira asks his administrative staff which tasks are straightforward but time-consuming, and either outsources or automates them.

Read: Can a robot replace you?

He also finds ways to boost client service. For example, he has fact sheets and articles ready to address recurring client questions and concerns. He gives these to clients during initial meetings, and always saves spreadsheets or materials on specific topics in case another client requests the same information.

One way to find and keep such articles on file is to use online aggregation platforms to collect related article links. Sites like Evernote and Instapaper host the text of articles you save, and are designed to make them easy to share. That way, you don’t have to keep track of multiple digital bookmarks, and you only visit one site to read all of the stories.

Read: 3 ways to be more efficient

Kevin Cork, president of, also spoke with Advisor’s Edge in 2013. He said he decided to upgrade his content management database to facilitate better client management. The upshot of doing so, he says, is his client database was then more “tightly integrated with Outlook, so all emails are automatically saved and attached to client files. Meetings can also be scheduled into the system from Outlook, and the program offers customizable tabs for investments, insurance, financial plans and enhanced reporting.” Read the rest of the story for more tips on digital innovation.

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