With the right platform in place, asset managers can evolve and mature as product journeys accelerate.
1) Focus on Product Selection
Product selection should be more influenced by vision and strategy of the future, and less by the current needs and pain points. Asset managers should pick products by weighing the pros and cons of the product’s compatibility with their technology landscape and cloud preference, or perhaps plan around a multi-cloud strategy. An informed selection will enable TCO optimization, and the right end-to-end solution will help improve the customer experience across internal users (advisors, portfolio managers) and external clients.
2) Establish Data-centric Organization
Asset managers need a data-centric architecture to scale a multi-cloud, SAAS and custom application ecosystem. Firms need to consider moving away from a purely functional structure like onboarding and reporting to a structure around value or data domains. This will enable them to have the ability to stay nimble, adapt quickly to changes and leverage emerging tech like AI and ML over cloud. In today’s world, asset managers are well aware of the possibilities of technology but there are challenges to unlock value due to the lack of data management.
To build a data centric organization, the following should be considered when selecting or building solutions:
- Batch versus real time: focus on real time or near real-time solutions, if cost is not a constraint, build solutions in a way that they can scale based on business needs
- Scalability and maintenance: easier to implement, scale and maintain infrastructure
- Data sharing: choose platform (like Snowflake) which ease up sharing of data across clouds and applications/tools and enables having a single golden copy and multiple read copies
- Data ingestion: use built-in integration interfaces with industry products and data providers or custom ingestion interfaces for every provider
Cloud independent solutions align well with the multi-cloud strategy of asset managers, as they are typically dealing with more than one cloud as part of several products in addition to their own solutions.
A data centric organization which uses cloud native solutions is optimally placed to stay competitive with other asset firms in terms of pricing and servicing and can adapt much quicker to the changing landscape.
Cloud native solutions are the way forward for asset managers as part of their data strategy. The cloud native solutions range from using cloud specific solutions like Amazon Redshift (AWS), DataBricks (Azure), Google Bigquery (Google) to cloud independent solutions like Snowflake.
3) Build Core Solutions
Even though asset managers use off-the-shelf SaaS solutions for their core business, data and reporting needs, there is still a case for developing and managing some of the core, proprietary solutions. The primary objectives are as follows:
- Maintain the competitive advantage, not sharing the “secret sauce” for investment management.
- Provide unified user experience across multiple products, for user enablement and reducing friction of using multiple different user interfaces.
- Integrate multiple products as the integration is typically not as easy as it seems, especially when accounting for firm-specific processes.
- Last but not least, to look at the next generation tech (AI and ML) as enablers; typically, the products in this space (specially SaaS) have not matured enough and hence is a relevant reason for firms to invest in.
It is important that asset managers reimagine or build these applications using cloud tools. Time-to-market, strong compute capability and unlimited storage, inbuilt security and authentication and above all inbuilt capabilities to deal with big data in real time and integration with the other products; it all presents a good case for having a clear cloud adoption strategy. This also sets up an asset manager to drive competitive advantage and enter newer segments more quickly, driving revenues.