Some permanent shifts on the horizon

George Ralph, RFA

Technology has been critical to investment managers being nimble and adapting their processes to the fast-changing environment. This is also leading to new business outlooks as firms weigh up the benefits of making certain elements of the Covid-19 shift a permanent part of the way they operate.

As the pandemic has evolved and remote working continues, firms have moved from the reactionary phase into a longer term, business-as-usual phase. But, they still are operating in a way that wasn’t planned – they are still missing the thought and care a typical transformation project would have. 

According to George Ralph, managing director, RFA: “The challenge now is to maintain the elements of change that have worked for the businesses during the pandemic while unpicking those other elements that were quickly thrown together. They also need to embed new technologies that can help support the new way of working. 

“One example would be rethinking the firm’s cybersecurity strategy to focus on the endpoints, which would provide better protection across a distributed business. Or looking at business processes to identify which workflows or processes could be automated and therefore which could be done without human intervention.”

Ralph outlines the key technology tools which have helped tide investment management business over in these tumultuous times: “The cloud has been instrumental in helping businesses access data, systems and applications through the Covid pandemic. Spinning up new services has been straightforward and manageable, with the main considerations being how to allow access to those services and applications. 

“Remote collaboration tools such as Teams have also proven invaluable in helping firms maintain communications throughout. Keeping channels of communication open has been cited as one of the most important elements of remote working, to maintain productivity and staff morale, so tools that are streamlined and seamless, like Microsoft Teams, have been very useful.”

Although many firms are questioning the need for a complete return to the office environment, several still acknowledge there are benefits to some face to face or in-person activities. “Just because businesses survived the pandemic doesn’t necessarily mean they thrived. Digital transformation projects are still important if firms are to continue to maintain a competitive edge,” Ralph advises.

He notes how client needs have been changing: “Clients are looking for advice and guidance around changing their whole operating model – from one which is office based, with some remote workers to having a model that is more of a distributed hybrid. They want to know what systems and processes they need to put in place to meet the needs of a workforce that could work from anywhere, without compromising security or performance.”

The leveraging of public cloud technology is now becoming a key component of the way firms are adapting. Ralph observes: “Many of our larger, more established clients are talking to us about migrating from traditional private cloud environments to the public cloud as they can see the benefits in terms of the range and scale that it can offer. The cybersecurity and behavioural analysis focus has also shifted to the end point for faster paced firms, which has suited them well in this period.” 

George Ralph
Managing Director, RFA

George Ralph CITP, has successfully founded three technology firms along with C-level advisory services include M&A to numerous firms. George is a true leader and has been managing teams internationally, and leading technology transformation projects for over 20 years. A certified GDPR, Cyber assessor, Auditor, Architect and widely experienced cybersecurity and RegTech professional, George has extensive technical experience in network and server architecture, large scale migrations utilising leading technology brands, and IaaS offerings.

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