To remain competitive in today’s information age companies are under increasing pressure to evolve.
WRITER: YUSUF CHOTHIA, MANAGER: ENTERPRISE SOLUTIONS
The rise of Fintech and its growing influence within asset management has forced managers to consider change as a cornerstone of business. Big Data, Robotic Processing, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence are penetrating the investment industry while rapidly changing the capability landscape.
Not only is the world changing, but the rate of change is changing: out with linear, in with exponential. The economic concept of diminishing returns or marginal utility is fairly well known. In 2001, the early stage of the information age, Ray Kurzweil came up with a different idea: the ‘Law of Accelerating Returns‘. According to this theory, change rates are not linear: instead of experiencing 100 years’ worth of progress in the 21st century we will experience 20 000 years’ worth of progress during that period. Sounds weird, but let’s explain.
The first technological steps (sharp edges, fire, the wheel) all took tens of thousands of years to complete. For people living in this era, there was little noticeable technological change in even a thousand years. By 1 000 AD, progress was much faster – and a paradigm shift required only a century or two.
In the nineteenth century, we saw more technological change than in the nine centuries preceding it. Then, in the first twenty years of the twentieth century, we saw more advancement than in all of the nineteenth century. Now, paradigm shifts occur in only a few years. Modern connectivity as we know it did not exist. To think that CDs and SMSs revolutionised our lives only a few years ago, imagine what the digital landscape could look like in the next 20 years? The possibilities are truly endless.
How to manage it all?
There is a growing need for expert methods to manage and execute change. Futuregrowth, like many other managers, faces the additional challenge of maintaining a two-speed technology. This allows innovative IT initiatives to move forward quickly, while maintaining the checks and balances needed for business-critical IT operations – and requires finding harmony between the older legacy systems and modern methods of operation. Managing change should be with purpose, not coincidence. We believe that knowing why, what, when and how to change will be what sets Futuregrowth apart.
Few are aware that technology itself is more than software: the most valuable change is inspired by process and people. Meaningful change requires intelligent decisions and expert use of resources. Focus needs to be maintained on sustainable, incremental change, while keeping abreast of the latest available technology trends.
The Futuregrowth Enterprise Solutions team has been created, with a specific brief to ensure that we are technologically fit and ready to prosper in a rapidly evolving digital world. With this in mind, the team aims to create meaningful client value through modern solutions.
Key elements to real solutions
Four ways Futuregrowth is becoming “future proof”
1. Using process as a technological edge. This involves:
- critically assessing our processes using SMART solutions as a risk response mechanism;
- creating and sharing visual interpretations of the process;
- using business process intelligence to provide a clear line of sight to all initiatives that facilitate successful client outcomes;
- allowing for constant evolution and fine tuning of key operations; and
- highlighting risk early through accurate diagnosis of the business.
Our overall aim here is to employ clarity to reduce risk and thus reduce error.
2. Organising the knowledge. This involves:
- creating a central data repository for all types of shared data;
- removing dependencies between systems; and
- ensuring there is ONE accepted version of the truth.
This approach offers opportunities to perform true business intelligence.
Good data or information is not enough. Managing knowledge is the secret sauce that sets high performing organisations apart. Using information to apply sound judgement, based on synthesised knowledge and wisdom, creates good investment decisions.
We manage more than just data
3. Automating to innovate. This embraces the following concepts:
- automation does not eliminate jobs, it creates more interesting ones;
- consider Robot Process Automation as a simple solution to reduce drag of mundane repetitive tasks: this simple technology allows anyone to configure software or a ’robot‘ to emulate and integrate the actions of humans interacting with digital systems; and
- instead of having someone capture the same data 100 times, leave the boring stuff to the robots. Allow humans to perform fulfilling work like further innovation and maximising client value.
4. Using technology as a partner. This involves:
- using multi-dimensional data capabilities that enable a rapid response to changing market conditions;
- employing an agile approach to solutions delivery across our value chain;
- preparing a portfolio of new projects targeted to be digitally fit;
- experimenting with new technologies and investigating trends such as Artificial Intelligence, Big Data and Machine Learning; and
- creating and investing in the Enterprise Solutions team, which is focussed on realising our digital strategy.
Meeting the challenge
In summary, the need to improve our digital capability has become more apparent with the acceleration of the technology revolution and the concomitant evolution of client expectations. To meet this challenge, we have embarked on a comprehensive digitisation journey, one that is quite different from the path we were on just five years ago. This involves not only improving our way of operating, but also scrutinising every component of our client value proposition. The journey has an evolving destination that will undoubtedly be accompanied by many ups and downs along the way, with the late David Bowie’s stuttering hit “Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes” as our soundtrack.