It wasn’t that long ago when we would call a travel agent up when we wanted to book air travel and visit a music store when we wanted to hear the latest release from our favourite band.

In less than 30 years, digital technology has completely refashioned how we consume travel services and music products, along with a host of other consumer goods and services. Increasingly, we search online and book our own travel, from the airline “tickets” to the small B&Bs in the places we visit. And more and more of us are subscribing to music services, effectively renting access to our favourite music rather than buying and owning copies of it.

How a vast array of consumer products and services are conceived, marketed and sold to us as consumers has undergone a radical transformation in the digital age. Plummeting technology and communication costs has placed powerful mobile devices in our hands that have completely changed how we get information, stay connected with others and entertain ourselves.

This digital revolution has largely impacted the back-offices of the financial services industry, but it has notably sidestepped the distribution systems. Virtually every major financial product or service is supported by digital back-end systems. Yet, the marketing and sales of many products, such as investments and insurance, continues to be carried out through a legacy distribution system consisting of advisors, agents and salespeople.

However, all of this is about to change dramatically. The revolutionary transformation that digital technology has triggered in consumer businesses is about to be felt in financial services businesses.

In this article and presentation, I will try to explain WHY digital technology undermines the prevailing business strategy of the past 30-40 years and HOW financial services firms as well as individual advisors and agents can adapt their businesses to the realities of the new digital age of financial services.

Get the rest over at Iris.