In conversations with asset and wealth managers, the biggest operational challenge we hear about is trying to manage operations as a seamless, front-to-back process. This is difficult, if not impossible, to achieve when a firm has disparate platforms for portfolio management, trading, accounting and all the other functions that make up the investment process. The problem is exacerbated if those different systems come from different technology vendors who use technologies that do not easily interoperate and need to be constantly maintained. In the absence of smooth integration, it’s not surprising that many firms are still bogged down in manual processes and workarounds that impact efficiency.
In our "Driving Strategic Transformation of Investment Operations" whitepaper, we detailed three major operational obstacles that a patchwork of disparate systems creates:
- Data movement and inconsistency: Each system has its own database, yet all systems rely on shared data to do their work, resulting in the constant copying of data among systems. This requires continuous reconciliation to mitigate the risk of inconsistent data.
- Lack of agility: Updates to any functionality pose the risk of disrupting the entire platform, limiting a firm’s ability to implement new technology or adapt easily to changes in the business or regulatory environment.
- Inability to scale: Firms experience wide variations in workloads. It’s difficult to get all the systems in sync to ramp up for peak loads or ramp back down and maintain operating efficiency.
Overcoming these obstacles requires more than incremental improvements to individual systems over time. It requires rethinking operations holistically, front to back, from a strategic perspective—what might the optimal platform look like if you weren’t trying to make disparate legacy systems work together?
The answer lies in looking to technologies that have emerged in recent years, and implementing the right combination of technologies to unify front, middle and back office processes on a single platform:
- Microservice architecture: In a microservices model, the functions that now reside in separate monolith systems become a set of discrete but interconnected services. This modular approach makes it possible to configure each microservice for auto-scaling independently based on changes in workloads.
- Cloud-native: It makes more sense to build new applications that optimize cloud capabilities in the cloud instead of simply moving legacy software to an offsite data center. The cloud-native design successfully enables secure and cost-effective scalability and interoperability with all other client systems.
- Artificial intelligence: Start with a unified data model that eliminates data duplication and the risk of inconsistency because intelligence starts with data. Separate services running over the data model that can handle large volumes of both structured and unstructured data, and coupled with native, built-in AI and machine learning (instead of trying to “graft” AI onto an existing application) capture the power of smart technology to automate and transform investment operations.
SS&C has brought these technologies together in our SS&C Aloha platform, the all-in-one investment management solution, spanning the front, middle and back offices, with support for every asset class and every function across the investment lifecycle. Aloha is not an update of a legacy system, but a truly transformative solution built from the ground up for investment operations. Leveraging more than 30 years of operational expertise, continuous technology innovation and deep insights into how investment and operations teams actually work.
SS&C Aloha has the power to transform operations from a fragmentary environment into a set of seamless, interconnected processes grounded in data integrity. For a deeper dive into the technologies that make up Aloha and how they work together to overcome the three main obstacles to optimal operational efficiency, download the "Driving Strategic Transformation of Investment Operations" whitepaper.
Written by Dominic Flanagan
Chief Development Officer, Institutional & Investment Management