Tax & Accounting Blog

Meeting New Demands from the New Consumer: SYNERGY 2014

CS Professional Suite, Technology December 1, 2014

Jon BaronI still remember the day when my kids found my first portable computer, an Osborne 1, as we were cleaning out our basement. I tried to explain to them what an amazing piece of technology it was in its day. At only 24 pounds (including fold-up keyboard), it was small enough to fit under an airline seat. it had dual 90k floppy drives, one on each side of its 5″ monochrome display, and an impressive 64k of memory. I also told them that it cost $1,800 when I bought it in 1982, a bargain considering all the bundled software that came with it. I was sure they would be impressed.

Instead, they laughed. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised. They’ve grown up a tap or two away from all the content, videos, apps, and software they want. They live in a wireless, cloud, and mobile web world where 90k wouldn’t even hold one of their school documents. Their devices weigh next to nothing. So the idea of a device like the Osborne 1 was inconceivably limiting to them. It’s just one example of how dramatically our expectations as consumers have changed.

In the past, we would plug in a new gadget or walk into a store, and we’d work to understand what it could do and how it fit into our lives. Today, we expect technology and businesses to understand us. We expect every interaction to be thoughtful, functional, pleasant, simple, and above all, immediate. We’re part of a new generation of consumers that expects far more from the people and products that we interact with.

Osborn 1

Osborne 1 portable microcomputer

These new expectations have taken hold in an amazingly short period of time. And I think as professionals, it’s important for us to turn the mirror on ourselves and ask whether we’re meeting these new expectations in our own businesses or firms. Are we working to understand our clients or are we forcing them to understand us?

If you attended SYNERGY 2014 in National Harbor, Maryland, you already know that progressive firms are rising to the challenge and working hard to meet the demands of their clients and prospects – of the new breed of consumers. I talked with dozens of attendees who are implementing new systems and processes, from more robust portal systems to extensive mobile capabilities. They’re essential tools that will enable today’s firms to serve their clients in the way they expect to do business.

I also want you know that we’re working every day to stay on top of these new expectations and give you the tools to exceed them. if you were at SYNERGY, you saw tools like our next-generation document management system, our vision for portals, our new eSignature capabilities, and our new Legal and business forms product that will be offered through NetClient CS. They’ll enable you to provide your clients with the secure, user-friendly, simple experience they demand, and they’ll generate some additional revenue opportunities for you as well.

I’d like to thank everyone who attended this year’s SYNERGY conference. I think events like SYNERGY are some of the best tools we have for staying on top of new technology and new ideas. I look forward to it every year and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.