As investment management firms explore ways to lower costs and improve their operational efficiency, they continue to focus on opportunities to streamline the whole front-to-back office process. This presents a tremendous opportunity to transform the business so it is positioned to grow and have the agility to meet opportunities for years to come. While few disagree that an end state of having everything on one technology platform would achieve this outcome, the challenge is getting there.
Understanding your daily operational workflows and their technology dependencies is the first place to start any business transformation project. Through a formal business process review, you will understand your digital footprint and be able to componentize your operations. After you componentize your operations into clearly defined discrete activities and data flows, you can prioritize which activities provide the largest potential for improvement and time to value. In your review, be sure to consider how the current processes would be improved to support growth and scalability by:
- Consolidating systems to reduce cost, risks and effort
- Enhancing the level of client engagement and self service
- Broadening your asset coverage consistently across all functions
- Updating the technology to be easier to upgrade, modify and extend
Within the Institutional & Investment Management group of SS&C, we deliver a host of solutions to address the end-to-end objective. Because of our long history with clients and our large portfolio of solutions, we understand that each client’s current state is unique. In recent years, we have sharpened our focus and are helping clients remove some complexity by consolidating and modernizing systems. Below are a few core insights to help you on your modernization journey.
- Start with a “middle out” approach. The middle office and the portfolio accounting function can often be a logical place to start. If you can leverage industry best practices and define an end-to-end workflow that covers all asset types, you will have the foundation for consolidating data and accelerating the transition of the front-to-back office.
- Make technology as precise as possible. A modern architecture that allows you to reimagine every component of the solution in terms of discrete activities with a common way of communicating allows you to explain each step of the process in terms of input and outputs. Commonly referred to as a microservices architecture, this will enable you to transition to the end state over time and selectively pick the services and business processes you want to address first. This means that you are no longer dependent on a black box piece of software and can define the future state workflow as a set of orchestrated microservices. This will allow you to reimagine and consolidate processes and design a highly scalable application that is composed of discrete services to satisfy specific business functions.
- Attend to data interoperability, aggregation and distribution. A dynamic data store that can aggregate and transform data and activities throughout the trade lifecycle is mandatory. If you can ensure interoperability between your current systems and this new digital data footprint, you can selectively replace the systems and workflows that contribute and consume data.
- Seek operational efficiencies. At the end of this journey, you will now have a solution that is componentized with a well-understood workflow and increased data interoperability. As you monitor the processes and user interaction, you can start to see patterns and learn ways to automate repetitive tasks. Technology can help by applying process automation through robotics and machine learning. As an example, many of the arduous tasks associated with collecting, aggregating, normalizing, cleansing and reconciling data from multiple sources can be automated with business intelligence and machine learning.
- Leverage experience. You don’t have to go it alone.
Like your business, SS&C is also investing in our vision for the future. We are armed with decades of experience helping our clients strengthen their operations and a stable of leading-edge software, services, and solutions to develop more efficient business models that optimize resources and provide added support and value to clients. If you would like to speak about how we can help your firm and its modernization program, please contact us. Check back for an upcoming blog post diving deeper into some of the topics mentioned in this article.
Written by Rob Erman
SVP Customer Solution Delivery, SS&C Institutional & Investment Management