Wealth and Asset Managers have made significant improvements to both core business systems and the management of data and are now looking at ways to surface data in a way that provides meaningful and actionable insights to senior executives.
For too long the sector has experienced challenges in being able to deliver true business intelligence that can guide and shape performance management, lacking the capability to provide insights and the foresight to drive the future strategic agenda. With data improvement programmes well underway, attention is turning to how organisations can move from data to information to business intelligence.
Getting to the promised land of true business intelligence is by no means an easy exercise. Data challenges remain, strategic visions are often poorly articulated, and in-house capabilities are typically immature. Add to this an increasingly complex and varied operating model, with multiple propositions, and you can start to appreciate the complexities of surfacing actionable Management Information (MI) to senior executives.
Key Components for Success
Based on our recent experience, we recognise that there are a number of key components to successfully introducing and delivering an effective MI reporting engine into your business.
1. Define the vision
You can’t measure performance if you don’t first have a vision. With convergence sweeping through the industry and propositions continuing to evolve, defining the future strategic vision is an essential exercise. If you continue to measure against your existing proposition, then you will already be measuring the wrong things.
Asset and Wealth Managers should consider where the business will drive value and growth in the coming years. As an Asset Manager, are you looking to get closer to retail customers? As a Wealth Manager, are you looking to transform your focus from investment management to financial planning? Defining the vision and North Star for your business is an essential requirement to identify the reporting needs to appraise your ongoing growth.
2. Build out requirements
Once you have defined your vision, you need to understand the kind of questions that your executive team will be asking going forward. In order to successfully steer and manage the business, the executives will need answers that enable them to measure both current and anticipated future performance. These questions then need to be associated with clear KPIs and metrics, which can be defined through detailed business requirements to inform the development team of what needs to be built in the Dashboard.
3. Map your data
When you have defined your requirements, the next step is to identify the required data sources to build the relevant metrics in the Dashboard. The current operating model will impact the model for acquiring data, however, in an ideal world, data should be obtained directly from the source in the core data systems. This is often the most challenging part of the exercise and can surface a number of data challenges throughout the business, highlighting gaps in your organisation’s data strategy and deficiencies in its data governance.
4. Define the operating model
With everything in place to build the Dashboards, you should consider how to effectively deliver Dashboards on an ongoing basis. Most importantly there needs to be ownership of both the data and reporting through the end-to-end process. Without clear ownership and a detailed delivery model, MI endeavours often become a ‘nice to have’ experience that is delivered intermittently, rather than a crucial element of the executive management routine.
5. Fail Fast
One thing is for certain – the MI Dashboard you design now will not please everyone and new requirements will come thick and fast. This should be embraced and built into the delivery engine for implementing the Dashboards. The use of prototypes, design thinking, and agile working practices should be leveraged to maintain pace and improve the quality of the Dashboard product.
For many firms, there is still not enough access to timely, accurate and meaningful reporting. Exec and Board papers exist as 30+ page PDFs and insights are driven based on externally reported metrics (e.g. year-end reporting).
The delivery of MI Dashboards providing interactive, visually stimulating and meaningful insights can help to deliver significant improvements to the bottom line. If you hypothesise that the Dashboard and it’s associated ‘intelligence’ can provide you with a 1% improvement on sales growth, or a 1% reduction in costs, you can easily begin to understand how important such an investment could be in supporting future business growth.
Alpha have recently delivered several MI Dashboard programmes helping to define and build both operational and executive-level reporting to empower senior executives and improve business performance.
If you are interested in finding out more about how Alpha can support in delivering your MI Dashboard programmes, please get in touch.