For several years, we’ve been talking with our clients about the value of data. The ability we now have to collect, store and analyze data is driving new approaches to research, analysis and client engagement. Data can help you understand yourself and your clients better than ever before and create exciting new opportunities. However, in order to take advantage of data, your organization must be prepared for it. This article investigates some of the prerequisites for becoming a data-driven organization.
Because of our position in the industry – working closely with the world’s largest asset managers – we can attest to the dominance of data in organizational strategies. However, we’ve also discovered that there is sometimes a disconnect between those strategies and the organizations that need to realize them.
Just as investment management firms want to take advantage of the latest digital innovations, their future employees want to work for technologically innovative companies. It’s well documented that the digitally native Generation Y (Millennials) and Generation Z (those born after 1996) bring new expectations regarding technology into the workplace. In a Microsoft survey of more than 1,000 millennials in the U.S., 93% said that having up-to-date technology is important when choosing a company.1
Millennials are also not hesitant to leave a company that doesn’t fulfill their needs for a challenging, rewarding work experience. A 2018 Bridge survey reported that if a job lacks growth opportunities and avenues for leadership development, 67% of millennials would leave that position.2
As some investment management firms push to become more data-driven, they are discovering it’s more difficult than anticipated, perhaps even impossible to achieve. The reason is that their tech infrastructure is hindering them.
Historically, many investment managers have adopted a “best-of-breed” approach to their platforms, where separate systems have been deployed along the way for specific asset classes and parts of the value chain. As a result, data reconciliation needs, interfaces, and workarounds have increased proportionately.
To keep disparate best-of-breed systems running, you need an IT department full of people in traditional roles like Database Analysts and System Architects. The more separate IT systems you use, the more of these roles you need to fill. Companies with best-of-breed infrastructures can have numerous systems, requiring a small army of people to handle the manual tasks necessary to get data flowing throughout the organization.
In Operations there is a similar story. Standalone best-of-breed systems complicate processes, which increase the need for administrative roles. All these people – the firm’s human capital - are busy doing manual, administrative, and dare we say, boring tasks that do nothing to further the organization’s data-driven goals.
The war for talent
To exploit the data they already have, or can glean in the future, investment managers need more people with titles like Data Analyst, Data Scientist, Business Intelligence Analyst. These people are in demand right now and will continue to be so, and as such, have a huge premium attached to their heads.