Our Open-Heart Surgery
We operate interdependent IT-applications for a top German asset management company. That task offers a typical challenge: How to improve and run such a complex system at once.
It is a difficult question for any company, but particularly tricky for some. Consider one of our long-standing clients, a leading German asset management company. Such an organisation at a mature state of its corporate development has grown over decades. During that time, it has continuously added new applications and expanded existing ones into a complex IT ecosystem. Then, the tricky question is: How do you keep such a complex ecosystem both agile and stable?
In our long-term partnership with the asset management company we have been responsible for its Simcorp Dimension software. That is a front-to-back integrated system at the heart of all its asset management activities ranging from portfolio management to fund accounting. Developing and optimising the application and the overarching ecosystem while operating that business-critical application is a service we call Run the Business.
Such an IT ecosystem consists of several mutually interdependent applications in various complexities. A second major software closely linked to Simcorp Dimension is the market data system. Given our expertise in overlooking overarching dependencies and our success in improving and operating Simcorp Dimension, we were entrusted to develop and run the market data system as well.
The system’s task is to initially source real-time information from stock exchanges and data providers such as Bloomberg or Reuters. Then the data is pre-processed through a sophisticated procedure to assure its quality. The high-quality data is finally integrated and managed it in a central repository. From there data sets are passed on to various target systems along the entire value chain from research, trading and portfolio management, performance and risk management, through mid and back office to regulatory and client reporting.
How to Stay Ahead
The challenge in that project lies in the nature of our client’s fast-moving business. The financial industry is subject to constant transformation like regulatory reform, technological progress and financial innovations. In such a fluid environment, concentrating on only running an application would inevitably lead the IT system to stagnate and our client to fall behind its competitors.
Here our deep understanding of the asset management business proves vital. While running software we continuously optimise capabilities such as business functionality, regulatory compatibility, stability of the infrastructure and computational efficiency. In this ecosystem any disruption leads to costly distortions. Therefore, our task is the IT-equivalent of conducting open-heart surgery.
For that task we assembled a team of experts including Business Analysts, UX-Designers, Software Developers, IT-Architects and Quantitative Analysts. One of them is our Software Developer, Aleksandr Lapitckii.
“I grew up in Russia, now I live in Germany; and I studied applied maths, now I work as developer. So, I am used to building bridges – cultural, linguistic or intellectual. In this project I liaise with our client’s Risk and Data Management team to transpose their needs into powerful software. It’s yet another bridge that I find exciting to build.”
Aleksandr Lapitckii, Software Engineer
An early step that we took in running and simultaneously enhancing the system, was a twofold improvement to the IT-infrastructure. First, we migrated data and applications onto a hybrid structure. That combines an in-house cloud, which boosts efficiency, and a hardware server structure to comply with regulatory requirements and make the system resilient in case of disasters, ensuring so-called disaster recovery. Plus, we migrated the data storage from a file-based propriety database to a more robust SQL database, widely used in the industry.
Guaranteeing Correct Prices
Bonds screened through consolidated pricing and quality assurance:
Furthermore, we developed a tailor-made application to constantly monitor the health of the system. That app supervises and logs all IT processes to swiftly detect irregularities and alert responsible team members who can immediately assess arising issues.
To simplify the use of the IT systems for our client’s employees we also developed a graphical user interface. Applying a user-centric approach not only made the applications more intuitive. It also streamlined workflows by cutting the necessary steps for quality assurance by more than 50%. Plus, we reduced the number of layers and trimmed file paths thereby shortening time to access market data by more than 50%.
Picking up Speed
Time savings in quality assurance due to workflow optimisation:
Time savings in market data access due to optimised IT-architecture:
In sum, we have supported our client not only in smoothly operating two business-critical IT systems over several years. At the same time, we have also optimised different crucial elements of these systems. That has helped our client to successfully run its business while staying ahead of far-reaching regulatory, technological and financial developments.
How to Get in Touch
Do reach out to our regional experts who will be glad to assist you or put you in touch with our specialists.