For an industry that deals with people who have more computing power on their Smartphones than NASA used to land a man on the moon, some benefit adviser still struggle to convince employees to adopt new benefit innovations. This was a mixed year of IT innovation and adoption especially among retirement robo-advisers, data analytics providers and the like. Even the near ubiquitous arm bands that monitor heart rate skipped a few beats in 2016.

Rise of the robo-advisers One of the biggest challenges of small businesses is offering a decent retirement package to its workers. Seeing an opportunity, a new breed of online startups have stepped forward to deliver automated signup and monitoring of 401(k) retirement plans. These robo-advisers — firms like Betterment, Dream Forward Financial, ForUsAll, and Captain401, for example — are handling funds for small to medium-sized business across the country.

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