The global lockdowns and the associated economic downturn have triggered the innate human nesting instinct. Thoughts turn inwards as preparations are made to handle the current situation and prepare for the future. Across the globe, rates of household saving have soared and people are investing in pursuits that will improve their ability to ride out bumps in the road ahead.
In the world of financial services, the same patterns are evident. Conversations with several firms reveal that they are putting large capital spending projects on hold, but they are not sitting on their hands. They are using their time and money wisely to get their house in order so that they too will be well-positioned for the future. A key focus of these housekeeping activities is data.
Data is an important component of every business, which means data integrity is paramount. But in a volatile market with lots of different data sources, the chances of error and discrepancies in data rise, not to mention the added risk that manual processes add every day. We are seeing a large number of firms taking a close look at their data management practices—auditing, rationalizing, cleansing, standardizing, aggregating, storing and so on, with an eye on potential improvements. Some are implementing data warehouses or data management platforms as central repositories for the enterprise. Others are working on data integrity and the flow of data through systems (e.g., trading, accounting, performance, etc.) to enhance activities like compliance, reconciliation and client reporting.
Whatever approach or applications are targeted, the objective is to invest in the data ecosystem so that data can be used effectively and efficiently to improve operations, service clients and drive business growth. This is especially important for client communications and reporting during uncertain times like these—the increased need for self-servicing platforms and regular updates for investors relies on accurate data from performance, accounting and other systems flowing through and feeding these outlets.
What should be the foundation of data housekeeping to enable better client reporting (among other activities)? In our opinion, it needs to start with putting in place a single source of truth in order to impart consistent and accurate information to all stakeholders (internal as well as external).
Best-in-class reporting applications can draw upon multiple single sources of truth to create accurate, consistent and timely client reports.
Wrangling disparate datasets into actionable intelligence requires identifying the definitive sources and optimizing them for usability. A single source of truth for data ensures consistency across channels, reduces manual-entry risk, and shortens report production and delivery timeframes. Streamlining and optimizing data sources benefits both client reporting as well as the internal “business consumers” that serve those clients and utilize that same data for internal reporting needs.
A single source of truth applies to a data domain (e.g., prices, performance, customer profiles, trades, etc.). Best practice dictates that there be a single “golden” source for each dataset, but they don’t necessarily need to be in the same place (e.g., an all-encompassing data warehouse).
Using a highly capable, contemporary reporting application makes it easy to access those multiple single sources of truth to manufacture compelling content, in both print and digital form, allowing firms to exceed stakeholder expectations. For example, clients using SS&C Vision FI can pull data directly from disparate sources into a staging area, into a template/portal view or mix both approaches so the resulting client communications—print or digital—reflect the latest and best firm-wide information.
Firms now embarking on the first step of this journey, turning their attention to data housekeeping and clean up, are on the right path to building these sources of truth. Others further along in that process have embarked on the next leg of the trip—sophisticated, timely and accurate data-driven client reporting and communications.
To find out more about Vision FI data capabilities, review our "Vision FI - The Next Generation of Client Communication" brochure or contact us.
Written by David Rhind
APAC Product Director