Ask Our Leaders: Chief Information Officer Trent Asher on FFS Technology
Cutting edge and efficient technology are some of the most important resources for running a successful business. Many beginning entrepreneurs face steep costs just from hosting a website, maintaining cybersecurity and back end administration — let alone the time and manpower it takes to improve and maintain your systems once they are in place. At First Financial Security, Inc., we provide all these benefits to our agents with help from our hard-working Home Office IT department, led by our Chief Information Officer Trent Asher.
Trent is a large part of what has kept FFS growing exponentially and running efficiently over the last few years. Originally from Princeton, KY, Trent went to Birmingham-Southern College on a baseball scholarship and earned his degree in Computer Science. Since then, he has had extensive IT experience, including years of corporate tech and running his own tech company, developing skills in everything from programming to creating virtual tools and applications.
We sat down with Trent for our latest Ask Our Leaders column to ask a few questions about how our agents can best use our technology and what his favorite features might be.
How do you see the technology at FFS benefitting our agents?
One of our goals through technology is to help our agents and home office staff work as efficiently as possible. Our technology helps people save time on things like underwriting, following up with clients, and monitoring their teams through the Agent Back Office. Those efficiencies then free up more time which can be used for prospecting new clients and recruits.
What’s a feature in the Agent Back Office you think every agent should be using?
It sounds simple, but it’s the ABO home page. It shows agents everything they need to know for the day at a glance: which policies are at risk of falling off the books, which policies need attention, whether the business is growing or declining with recruits and applications, names of the most recent recruits they should check in on, what’s in the news, and the most important links that agents should be diving into. All of that information is on the ABO home page. If agents digest all that on a regular basis, their chance of success in this business goes way up.
If agents digest everything on the ABO home page on a regular basis, their chance of success in this business goes way up.
What are some of the challenges of running our IT department?
The biggest challenge is cybersecurity. Cybersecurity is at the forefront of everyone’s minds these days, and the best cybersecurity measures often end up making the user experience a little more difficult and less efficient for our agents.
What have been some of the innovations you’ve brought to FFS as CIO?
There have been many tangible tools our department has delivered over the years, such as mobile apps, team pipeline reports, statistical charts, and various websites for our agents to utilize. However, I believe the most notable innovation is less tangible — flexibility. In this business, there are always new industry regulations, new ideas, new requirements, new projects, and new partnerships. The company has to adapt quickly, and our system is now built on a framework that will allow that kind of flexibility.
There have been many tangible tools our department has delivered over the years, such as the mobile apps, team pipeline reports, statistical charts, and various websites for our agents to utilize.
What technological innovations have changed the lives of agents in the last year?
While I initially think of the approval request dashboard — which has saved our agents hours of faxing, scanning, and signing documents by processing agent promotions and transfers electronically. I believe one of our more recent releases, the Success Tracks™ training and coaching system is poised to make the biggest impact. Getting new associates onboarded quickly and efficiently has always been a challenge. This new tool should give everyone a head start and free up a lot of time for our field leaders.
The Success Tracks™ training and coaching system is poised to make the biggest impact on the lives of agents this year.
What projects are you most excited about in the coming months?
Hubspot — a new platform we are working with to help with more efficient marketing efforts, such as email campaigns geared toward clients.
What has been your favorite feature or tool to develop at FFS?
The commission system. It was definitely one of the more challenging features to deliver, but our dynamic compensation plan coupled with our top-rated insurance carriers really creates a force to be reckoned with.
Learn more about how our technology can help you build your business.
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