There has been a lot written about the rise of ‘bring your own device’ in recent months and this trend is starting to have a real impact on companies large and small.
It’s something we’re starting to see at StatPro and it’s also (more interestingly) something we’re seeing impact our clients and how they engage with technology. The consumer experience of technology has undergone a transformation over the last couple of years driven by a certain Californian company with an astonishing market cap. This has led many consumers who work in finance or in technology itself to have better experiences of technology at home than they do in the workplace. Both large and small IT departments have struggled to keep up with expectations of their users based on their own tech experiences and devices. The ease of sharing and collaboration, the painless backups and synchronisation of all their technology has made employees question why their own IT staff can’t deliver the same experience. There are many valid reasons behind this of course, mainly being compliance and security along with dealing with legacy data systems and networks. I don’t want to focus on why companies are struggling to meet these increased expectations but rather on the ways this shift in how people view technology at work can be a productivity benefit once the right solutions have been found.
The difficulty is not how to find a solution to bring consumer type IT experiences to your workforce, but which one to choose. There are so many choices out there it has become a minefield to navigate to ensure you don’t deploy something and have to rip it out in 6 months. A lot of the new web services and tools out there focus on sharing of information and collaboration. The reason behind this is that as businesses grow, they become amazing at create silos of data locked away from most people. Email becomes a destroyer of productivity rather than a tool. Data is created in vast quantities but getting correct, validated information from this data is very hard, then getting this information to everyone who needs to see it is even harder.
StatPro is in the process of adopting many of these new web services and tools to engage more people in the business in projects that really matter without it taking forever to get progress and new iterations based on collaborative thinking. One such project is the visualisation of new user interfaces for new products. Getting concepts and ideas out in simple drawings makes people think and respond quickly when they can add notes or make changes to the design in real-time. This type of process is just more fun to deal with versus endless conf calls and meetings where progress is slow. It can also be done from anywhere at any time and this really is a productivity bonus. We pay less than $50 a month for this service, so the level of cost effectiveness is off the charts!
What is very interesting is how we’re seeing this change at our clients. The asset management industry isn’t the fastest moving when it comes to technology but with quarter upon quarter of outflows, operational efficiency and added value services are moving rapidly up the agenda. Identifying tools and services that bring people together and puts information in their hands wherever they are is only a good thing, but what is key is doing it without embarking on an IT project or committing yourself to large upfront costs without any guarantee of success. Forward thinking asset managers and fund administrators are embracing new web tools that empower their employees to do their job using devices and methods they are comfortable with. If this means supporting employee devices that need a web connection then in my view this is a simple decision. Apple and others are realising their devices are becoming more and more popular in the work place and they are responding by providing administration tools that allow IT departments to have some element of control to allow these devices onto the corporate network. Trend Micro recently commissioned a survey to find out what IT managers think of Apple security and it fared better than Blackberry who are in almost every large corporate network out there!
We are currently in beta with our mobile version of StatPro Revolution and the development of this platform has been driven by client demand. Our clients see the iPad as a perfect tool for talking about and explaining portfolio performance and risk. Being able to visibly demonstrate the reasons behind performance and risk to existing clients or prospects is so much more compelling than an email or static report. These static days are over and decision makers are slowly realising that web services out there make what used to be impossible or restrictively expensive a reality and the norm. Sales will drive this and increase the adoption as news filters out that the users of this technology are winning business from those that do not.