Richard Thomas has 30 years of experience in delivering data solutions and vendor management change in many of the world's leading financial organizations. He shares his insights on the current trends in data management.
Q1: What are the market trends shaping buy-side data management today?
There is increasing client demand for easy access to highly accurate, transparent and timely data. In our recent 2022 Global InvestOps Report, data management was singled out by buy-side firms as the area with the greatest need for technology innovation.
The challenge of meeting this demand is compounded by doing so in a time of increased market volatility where investment managers are managing increasing complex investment strategies, having to integrate new data sets such as ESG and alternative investments. This takes place while still managing the day-to-day overhead of controlling market data, reference, corporate actions and other key data assets. Leading companies are demonstrating that with the right foundations and business strategy you can still perform well in this challenging market, however it does leave many others exposed. As more and more organizations start to rise above these problems those left behind will likely be acquired or find their businesses considerably damaged due to inaction.
Q2: Based on your recent experience as a change leader what are some of the common pitfalls to avoid?
If there is one piece of advice I could give, it would be don’t repeat the mistakes of the past. Many companies keep an existing data operating model that has failed them over the past decade. If your organization went through the process of investing in a heavyweight, deployed enterprise data management (EDM) platform that did not meet business needs and where any change requirements were burdensome, then make sure to pause and reassess your options when it’s time to perform the next significant upgrade of the old platform. Implementing the same data operating model with a new vendor (or just refreshing the old solution) will still result in the problems of the past and only drive a greater disconnect between those delivering the solution and business expectations. This is primarily because you end up front loading so much of the expense in the first two years of the lifecycle of a traditional EDM platform that any further investments to support change requirements can’t be supported during the majority of its lifetime due to cost or lack of appropriate resources.
Q3: How should an organization set up for success when implementing a strategic data management solution?
It is important to establish and communicate internally a clear governance structure within your organization that identifies the owners of key assets and empowers them to make decisions. You need a clear terminology with defined roles and responsibilities.
With this established, understand the outcomes that your organization wants to achieve and understand the delivery model that will best cater to those needs. Whether it’s software as a service (cloud-based software model), data as a service (part of your data management operations is serviced by a third party) or if you are prepared to implement a fully managed business process as a service solution (business process outsourcing delivered through the cloud to your specification).
With a target state identified, I recommend partnering with organizations that can deliver the chosen data operating model. Even more importantly though is their ability to help you transition from your current environment to your target state, ensuring a positive business experience throughout the process. Your chosen partner needs to be able to grow with you over the coming years and support new requirements and if you choose to, progress with you to a higher level of services, i.e. software as a service to business process as a service.
To get a good idea of how well your current data model is performing, you can take this data management assessment which should prove informative but also provide a good framework for subsequent discussions should you wish to discuss your requirements further with SimCorp.