How are industry insiders approaching the cloud question right now?
The pandemic caused business leaders across industries to rethink their operational and technology infrastructure. And asset managers are no exception.
Specifically, recent events emphasized the need for flexibility and nimbleness. To achieve that flexibility, many firms are considering migrating at least a portion of their operations to the cloud.
According to Linedata's 2021 Global Asset Management Survey, 58% of buy-side firms agree that the pandemic spurred cloud adoption plans. In fact, only 5% of managers don't expect a transition to the cloud. That number was 53% in 2019. Clearly, a shift has occurred.
So how are industry insiders approaching the cloud question right now?
To explore this question, Linedata partnered with FundFire in their recent webinar: Why Cloud Integration Should Be on Asset Managers’ Radar in 2022. This moderated discussion features Linedata’s Global Head of Asset Management, Gary Brackenridge along with Jim Kelley, Director of Technology at Capital Advisors.
You can view the webinar replay for full insights, but we’ve shared some highlights below.
Major Challenges in the Current Business Landscape
What are the biggest challenges for asset managers in 2022? When asked this question, Jim noted the need for managers to be agile and cost-conscious, while also delivering quickly for clients — all with limited IT resources. These demands pose a significant challenge in today’s fast-moving market. And legacy technology has often held managers back.
Gary added that getting the right mix of operations and technology is a substantial challenge, especially in a time of constant evolution and rapid change in the industry.
How does the Cloud help solve those problems?
In response to a rapidly changing business environment, firms are exploring how technology can make them more agile. While cloud computing has been an option for years, the pandemic changed attitudes about the urgency needed to migrate. But can the cloud really give managers the advantages they’re searching for?
What the Cloud is … and what it isn’t
Gary started by clarifying the difference between the promise of the cloud and what it actually delivers. He remarked, “The promise of the cloud is this technology frontier — where things can literally be scaled up, scaled down, distributed around the globe, and managed in some beautiful, orchestrated pay-per-use model. But practically, that is a very long road to fully achieve [those] benefits.”
Where are companies seeing the benefits of cloud adoption right now? Gary mentioned how the cloud helps support distributed workforces. “Staffing and expertise and resources are difficult for everyone in this industry today, anywhere in the globe. And so moving certain functions to the Cloud enables that ability to leverage the best and brightest wherever they may be.” He also explained that the Cloud has enabled firms to roll out new capabilities — including new vendors, providers, facilities, and services —in a robust and well-managed way. In the midst of COVID-19 conditions, the benefit has been invaluable.
Gary further noted two key questions asset managers should consider when weighing a cloud migration:
- What parts of the existing infrastructure can gracefully move to the cloud?
- What can actually get migrated in a well-managed, stepwise fashion??
Answers to these questions will help firms achieve tangible cloud benefits immediately, not in five years.
Learn more about solving the challenges of cloud adoption and integration.
The evolution of the Cloud
Jim added that the Cloud isn’t what it used to be — it has progressed. It was initially billed as infrastructure-as-a-service or platform-as-a-service. He noted, “We've seen that morph into more cloud-first adoption serverless technologies, which is just a natural evolution of those strategies.”
He mentioned that the ability to “lift and shift” up to the Cloud without procuring hardware or getting up an appropriate data center relieves some worry for small firms. Most firms that need to make more significant infrastructure changes can now ask: how can my cloud service provider help me do this?
Why a Cloud migration makes sense in 2022
Asset Managers have known about the Cloud (and its supposed benefits) for years. If firms haven’t taken the plunge yet, why now?
Gary noted that this year’s conditions — ever-present market volatility, pandemic-induced uncertainty, etc. — reinforce the need for managers to be nimble. And after two inward-focused years, firms recognize the need to use flexibility to push business forward. He mentioned asset managers can adopt the Cloud in 2022, “to support whatever new strategy or evolution of your business model that may be there — maybe entering further into investing privately, entering further into understanding the crypto markets, launching new products, or dealing with a new type of investor.”
Jim observed that asset managers that haven’t migrated are actually lagging behind. “Our vendors and suppliers are already on the cloud. And to take advantage of some of their cloud offerings and make our internal processes more efficient, we need to jump into that cloud environment.”
View the webinar replay
The above is just a small sampling of what was shared on the webinar. To get the full benefit of this in-depth discussion, you can download the webinar replay. Additional insights from the webinar include:
- How to maintain operational integrity while transitioning to the cloud
- What to do about access and security permissions (especially when your staff is in flux)
- How to view the costs of migrating (Do you really save money?)
- How to promote organizational change to enable cloud adoption?
About the speaker, Gary Brackenridge
Gary Brackenridge is the Global Head of Asset Management at Linedata. Previously, he led Global R&D together with North American Asset Management. Gary’s passion is transformative solutions for investment managers and he directs a global team bringing innovative technology and service offerings to the market. His 20-year career in capital markets technology has focused on solutions for investment managers and their service providers. Earlier at Linedata, he served as Global Head of Hedge Funds and Head of Strategic Initiatives. Prior to Linedata, Gary was the President and Chief Executive Officer of ITP Corporation until its sale in 2010. Gary is an alumnus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he studied Management Science and Economics.