As someone who’s seen firsthand how different firms structure their front-to-back-office operations, you might assume I can tell you, with certainty, which solution is the best. Unfortunately, I can’t.

There is no such one-size-fits-all strategy that addresses every firm’s operational pain points. There are, however, questions you can ask yourself and your team to better understand what you’re looking for in your operations and, ultimately, what will serve as the best solution for you.

One of the biggest operational challenges firms experience is breaking down silos between regional offices and asset types. On a recent panel at the InvestOps 2023 conference, I shared a few takeaways for firms looking to transform their front, middle, and back-office operations and scale effectively.

Assess Your Current Operations

Before determining the best path forward, take a step back first and evaluate the effectiveness of your operations today.

Replacing or updating current operational systems takes time, and it can be a tedious process. But as you consider the effectiveness of your firm’s infrastructure, you might find that some needs are being met while others could use some extra attention. Prioritize what’s most important to you, as this will serve as your benchmark when evaluating solutions moving forward. For example, you might find it most valuable to focus on improving communication and unifying teams throughout the company or ensuring data is collected and represented in a succinct manner.

You likely don’t have to overhaul every aspect of your operations. But look at the main components — trading, accounting, and data delivery — and determine where you can make changes to create a solid, integrated solution. Chances are, there is a technology solution that’s flexible enough to adapt to your current tech stack and work seamlessly with the rest of your operational procedures.

Use Technology to Bridge the Gap

This brings us to my next tip — technology in our industry has evolved rapidly over the last few years. There’s no better time to integrate it into your practice than now, especially if you have a goal to scale or grow aggressively.
It’s not uncommon for firms to wait to integrate technology into their operations until after experiencing a certain level of growth. Depending on your needs, you may find that there’s one platform (or several) that can bridge the gap between teams and offices by incorporating automation and standardizing data collection or presentation. Creating a cohesive infrastructure may require evaluation of cloud technologies, AI, or robotics.

Encourage Your Teams to Bust Down Organizational Silos

Your firm’s greatest asset is the talented people you attract and retain. But in today’s post-pandemic world, employees are seeking a much more flexible work environment that’s conducive to their lifestyle. In other words, work-life balance is huge. The days of having employees punch data into an operating system day in and day out are long gone. People want to feel fulfilled and challenged in the work they do, and they need to feel personally connected to their coworkers and leadership team.

Whether your offices are fully remote or spread out geographically, it’s important to build camaraderie into the firm’s operations and infrastructure. Give employees opportunities to cross-train and share responsibilities. As a result, they’ll have greater buy-in to the company’s core goals (like growth).

How do you help team members spend less time mining data and more time engaged in the business? By integrating automation and the right tech solutions to streamline and unite processes across various regions and asset types. Not to mention, moving manual data reentry from your employees’ plates gives them the freedom to focus on what they were hired to do — and where their passions lie. It’s no secret that people who feel fulfilled and satisfied in their work perform at a higher level and stick around for much longer.

Find the Solution That Fits Your Needs

Transforming your business may sound like a lofty task, but it doesn’t have to be. I recommend drilling down into what challenges your front, middle, and back-offices face right now. By focusing on shoring up your systems and bringing in the right resources, you can address your core challenges and more effectively pursue your larger goals.

Interested in seeing what that could look like for your business? Schedule some time to talk with our team! We can help you determine the right solutions for your unique needs.

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Martin Ouellette

Martin Ouellette is an expert in leading large-scale transformational programs focused on investment operation transformations. He has 25 years of experience specializing in investment management system integrations, strategic consulting, and program management. Martin enhances Meradia’s front to back offerings by bringing a unique blend of operations and technology experience and deep knowledge of the BNYM Risk and Analytics platform to support our clients’ needs.

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