Enterprise Technology: The silver bullet in a crisis?

Alice Fyfe

2020 has seen unparallelled change in the way we work.

Operational resilience was already at the forefront of the industry’s priorities, but now Asset Managers have distinguished themselves by their readiness to adapt to unforeseen operating conditions and market volatility; readiness which has been enabled by robust vendor technology and well-oiled processes.

In those first few weeks of lockdown, there was not enough time to implement strategic technology at the drop of a hat – but now, looking forward, where does this pandemic leave us for future operating strategies? How can asset managers streamline their webs of tools and processes?

What is Enterprise Technology?

At least 70% of the top 30 Asset Managers use an Enterprise platform

Enterprise technology is designed to meet the full breadth of organisational needs for the business as a whole, rather than individual business functions or users. Enterprise solutions provide extensive coverage aligned to strategic organisational goals such as a reduction in Cost Income Ratios or scaling for global growth by improving data integrity for bespoke solutions and coveted reporting such as ESG.

At least 70% of the top 30 Asset Managers use an Enterprise platform but historically smaller managers may have discounted them, viewing Enterprise tools as a more expensive and arguably, a less flexible alternative to best of breed or in-house built technologies. The transformation process is also significant – most programmes can take 18-24 months – but has the recent pandemic proven that these solutions are worth considering?

Has this crisis changed our view of Enterprise Technology?

In March when the markets were at some of their most volatile, Alpha heard of clients frantically gathering data to support urgent analysis and investment teams who regretted not using more robust systems as they could not react quickly enough to diversify their portfolios. We heard of dealers failing to successfully work from home and all the while thousands of physical DR sites sat empty, strictly out of bounds.

We also heard of clients who could operate almost as normal; with seamless access to virtual desktops; able to trade and communicate remotely through single channels; able to operate off an uninterrupted platform and single source of data across the globe.

Remote working has also accelerated the need for forward-looking “Cloud Strategies”, given our clients’ drivers to reduce costs and improve integration capabilities. Enterprise technology is absolutely aligned to this strategy and with truly SaaS-based solutions, we see a growing increase in the demand for APIs and the ability to integrate client data into Enterprise Solutions.

Crises like COVID-19 may feel extraordinary, but they can quickly differentiate between asset managers’ agility and ability to operate within ordinary BAU – to distinguish yourself and set yourself up for success, you may need to answer some big questions, which we set out below:

Some may argue that Enterprise Technology doesn’t allow flexibility for bespoke client needs. But when we talk about Enterprise Technology, we needn’t be so purist. We can approach it with the assurance that, if you’ve grounded 80% of your operating model in Enterprise Technology you have one of the best foundations and streamlined operations on which to focus talent and innovation to service unique solutions for your clients.

So, what does it take to move to an Enterprise Platform? We should consider all four pillars of the operating model; Data, Technology, People and Process.

There’s no denying that committing to Enterprise technology requires a concerted leap into transformation, but it should be thought of as an investment well spent; you never know when you’re going to need it the most.

Alpha's Enterprise Experience

At Alpha, we have a wealth of experience supporting our clients with the full transition to Enterprise Technology. We work with clients to assess whether it’s the right option for you, support contractual discussions and deliver projects from technical design to implementation and adoption. Alongside this, we can call on our team of industry experts to ensure we address your specific priorities, be it ESG, Operational Resilience, Cost Reduction or Innovation. Since Alpha’s inception, we have worked on over 40 of the most complex enterprise technology programmes in the industry; from vendor selection, through to due diligence, contractuals and implementation.


Get in touch

We’d be interested to hear about how remote working has impacted your plans for Investment technology and how your views towards Enterprise platforms may have changed in the search for an optimal solution for your team. If you’d like any advice on how to proceed, do get in touch.

About the Author

Alice Fyfe
Associate Director

Alice is an Associate Director at Alpha with eight years' experience in consulting to the Asset & Wealth Management industry in the UK and Asia. She has particular expertise in Investment technology and transformation and has led both Design and Implementation workstreams on some of the largest Enterprise technology programmes in the industry.