"Technology is your friend-don't fight it!" Davis said. "Spend time performing your due diligence and be strategic in your purchases. Regardless of the overall cost, [substituting technology solutions for personnel] should still be more affordable than issuing W2s, 1099s and paying for employee benefits."

"In order to put technology to work for you, you have to harness it so [your various solutions] aren't working at odds with one another." McLaughlin said. "Most of the companies that provide technology to our industry were started by people from within the industry who had an idea that technology could make things easier and then acted upon that."

O'Brien urged advisors to "embrace technology, stay abreast of emerging trends and understand the link between technology and client satisfaction."  Finally, Wilson said, "It's important to stop and think about how technology can make a big difference in this market environment.  You could be leveraging what you already have or looking at new solutions and writing the check because the return is realistic and can improve client service.  It's in these times when revenues aren't growing that you really notice the bottom-line impact of technology."

So, as an embattled advisor with scared clients, cautious employees and top-line revenue declines comparable to your deflated 401(k) balance, think hard about how you'll tackle the recovery of your business.  Obviously, solid client service is a must.  The question is, will you accomplish it with out-of-date technology solutions that represent a metaphorical ball and chain? Or will you upgrade your systems and do what's needed to survive while cutting costs through greater efficiency? The choice is yours.

Marie Swift is president of Impact Communications Inc. For more information on the T3 conference, take a look at the conference blog.

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