Customer Experience Leadership

Delivering successful business outcomes, in a fast evolving buy-side industry

Read the article and learn about:

  • The evolution of the buy side and the complexity of managing investment operations.
  • The link between technology Return On Investment (ROI) and business objectives.
  • How a customer success model can help buy-side firms to leverage technology investment and better navigate market challenges.
  • The guidance, insights and tools such a model delivers, to realize desired business outcomes.
Customer Experience Leadership
Lars Moestrup
Global Head of Customer Experience, SimCorp

Linkedin Connect with Lars on LinkedIn

An interview with Lars Moestrup, Global Head of Customer Experience at SimCorp.


Q: What has been the historical buy-side client engagement model and what are the key developments that have changed this model over the years?

The traditional approach in the financial software industry has mostly been a case of clients coming to a vendor for a solution to a specific problem. In these conventional scenarios, clients have only ever focused on what they deem to be the root of the problem, rather than looking at its impact on the business as a whole.

At the same time, without access to the whole business, many vendors have only been able to ask and not tell clients about the best way to manage the issue. As a result, we have ended up with decades of point solutions, bolt ons, sticking plasters, and fragmented architecture that have been desperately patched together, delivering only a short-term solution .

What we are now witnessing, in demanding market conditions, burgeoning regulations and increasing competition is the limitations of this approach. In fact, in many cases, this way of operating has even prohibited firms from accessing new opportunities, whether that is onboarding a new product, entering new markets or asset classes.

The days of patchwork efforts are very much over, but evolving from this towards a whole business approach, is a two way process. We know that the aforementioned pressures are costing ops teams money, time and resources. These are things buy-side firms cannot spare today. As a result, the way in which buy-side firms will consume services and solutions going forward is going to be vastly different to the way they have done, previously. 

Going forward, ops teams will need to handover much more of the maintenance and running of operations to vendors, so that they can ensure they are focused on their core KPIs and supporting alpha generation. In turn, this will necessitate that the vendor takes on more responsibility than ever before, and will require a change, not only to the way they operate , but also what they offer.

Covering a wider footprint of investment management operations and being far more accountable for tangible business outcomes will become no.1 on the agenda, followed by increased guidance, insights and tools to help increase technology Return On Investment (ROI).


Q: How are vendors like SimCorp responding to firms, as their needs evolve?

In this new world order, rather than outsourcing the problem, clients will increasingly want to work with trusted partners that can take on the job of solving key operational headaches, and improve their overall competitiveness. To meet these needs, these vendors will need to pivot their own businesses, away from the delivery of tools and technology alone.

At SimCorp, we have already seen this take shape and have made significant strides towards holistically interacting with our clients. This is in turn is reflected in the introduction of managed services that respond to business areas such as regulations like SFTR, and the hurdle of data management. Here, SimCorp provides both a solution that addresses the operational workflow and a managed service that maintains and monitors it, ensuring ongoing effectiveness and coverage.

Shaping an effective offering will inevitably require vendors to gain a much deeper understanding of the client’s business and delivering a stronger level of commitment. It is our belief that firms will want to work with vendor partners that can deliver to their unique context, so that they can focus on the things that are core to them. We will need to understand not only their intended outcomes, but also the challenges that are standing in the way and how they can be solved to improve their competitiveness.

When we started designing the new Customer Experience Journey for SimCorp clients, we worked closely together with sales and consulting to create the right organizational structure, in order to best support this new way of thinking and working. It became clear to us, that combining the strategic and commercial interactions we have with our clients, together with insights and analytics we have gained across our user base, were key to successfully delivering Customer Experience Leadership.

Using an effective knowledge pool, built from 300 combined clients across SimCorp Dimension, SimCorp Coric, SimCorp Gain and SimCorp Sofia we can apply a deeper understanding of business goals, strategies and lifecycles, sharing relevant success stories, so that clients can get the most out of their technology investments, spend less time on operations and more time on their deliverables.

Q: What are the key elements to successful Customer Experience Leadership?

One of the key elements of the Customer Experience journey, that will effectively support the client and their business, from start to finish, is the role of the Customer Success Manager. These individuals will utilize their established knowledge and customer excellence skills, to ensure a more complete customer journey.  It goes beyond the norm of responsive engagement, to really ‘drive and guide’ the business towards its goals, across a number of measurable principles.

Facilitate technology adoption and improve ROI

Identify focus areas earlier, before escalations are needed

Apply insights maximizing business impact of technology

Minimize production effort by simplifying the life of your end-user

Realize benefits quicker

Increase employee satisfaction

Both the Customer Success Manager and the overall Customer Experience journey will deliver operational efficiency across the investment lifecycle, with significant impact. It will cover the identification of focus areas before escalation is required, and applying unique insights to maximize the business impact of technology. By sharing with clients, such derived data and analytics, vendors can map out the areas that provide most value for a given firm and optimize their investment fully. This could be key investment tasks, in the front office, such as portfolio construction/optimization, algorithmic pre-trade risk modeling and compliance.

The Customer Success Manager essentially becomes the go-to person that delivers advanced knowhow, allowing for better monitoring of the adoption of a new IT strategy. Moreover, a Success Manager embeds the culture of a customer-focused provider. Regular exchanges and reviews with the Success Manager become the starting point for a two way discussion, where both sides can exchange valuable knowledge, to realize benefits quicker.

When we look at this though, we must consider what we mean by adoption. If we look at the start-up world for instance, a ‘successful’ mobile application is described by the toothbrush principle; The user should open and utilize an app at least twice a day. In the software industry, while the Customer Success Manager’s ultimate goal will be to monitor and extend usage and thereby adoption across the business, it should not be the sole measure or purpose.

In our view, more important is enabling the client with the full potential of a given solution or service, which we aim to do with the introduction of ‘Success Paths’. This program is designed to fulfil what we believe is our duty as a business partner, helping the client to get the most out of their investment. It includes tools such as outcome mapping and adoption planning to more effectively achieve intended business outcomes.

Customer Experience Leadership


Q: What barriers, if any, do you see to this way of client engagement and to adoption?

Change is always difficult to absorb in all walks of life and as humans we are trained to instinctively go with what we know, even if it is not the most efficient process. In the same way, ops teams have been making do with broken systems for years, as long as they can get by, even if ‘getting by’ means throwing people at the problem to solve it manually. But this is just not sustainable and today, there is no longer the luxury of abundant resources or budget to justify it.

Beyond, the human resistance to change and adoption, lies also the user-friendliness of  software, which can typically be seen as barrier to change. The legacy systems available in an institution, have been calibrated and customized over a number of years to suit the user, making it very sticky and hard to part with. It has always been crucial that any new software being considered, provided an enhanced experience while still being familiar, to make the switch palatable.

Today, when you look at the margin challenges and the rising cost of operations, if the above were barriers once upon a time, they are now heavily outweighed. The priority has significantly shifted towards leveraging software investments to their full potential.

Interestingly at the same time, a new generation of CIOs, with both determination and vision, have meant that change management and transformation are no longer something to be feared, but are seen as a necessary direction for growth and prosperity. This is the spirit and motivation that the Customer Experience Leadership program in SimCorp is designed to tap into, to sustain a fast-evolving, buy-side industry.


About Lars Moestrup

Lars Moestrup brings highly valuable experience to his role as Global Head of Customer Experience, having led SimCorp’s Global Consulting expertise and a former role heading up the development of Standard Platforms, a fundamental part of SimCorp today. Before joining SimCorp, Lars was Head of Microsoft Consulting & Support, in Denmark. During his time there, Lars was part of Microsoft’s cloud transformation and adoption & consumption planning with clients. His combined experiences from Microsoft and SimCorp Global Consulting will be pivotal in driving the development of the Global Customer Experience organization and to supporting SimCorp’s clients in achieving their intended business outcomes.