Client reporting and your client’s response and reaction to it (if captured) creates valuable information that can then be used to improve and enhance your client reporting – the classic chicken and egg situation. Should data projects be prioritised over client reporting? Does client reporting have more value? What are the drivers for the decision? How might your clients view your plans and is your chosen approach correct? In this post, we explore the topic and some of the arguments for prioritisation of each and in doing so, we’ve drawn an intriguing conclusion.

Client Reporting Data Projects

Most of the market participants we talk to – whether through general networking, our own sales process or through our client relationships – have either already embarked on, or are about to start a digital transformation journey. A huge chunk of that journey is the generation, capture, storage, analysis and subsequent use of data.

Data shows great promise. Handled correctly, it provides the ability to see everything, everywhere, all the time and this means each interaction with customers, a complete understanding of your supply chain, and every financial or operational transaction, anywhere in the world. What would you do with that power? You’d use it to improve customer service, build better and more relevant products, spot errors or fraud and become more efficient. It’s likely that new revenue streams would materialise, either through monetisation of the data you create, or through its subsequent interpretation and use.

Perhaps it makes sense therefore for “Data” projects to take precedence above all else, except maybe enforced regulatory change. But then, when it’s compared with projects that directly benefit your clients – such as client reporting – more immediately, is it really correct for it to dominate the project landscape as it is doing so today?

Firms that will thrive in the future will be agile and client-led. They have to be. Your clients will demand customised services and products tailored to their specific needs. To deliver this you will absolutely need to understand and use your data better, but getting to that stage takes time. What happens until then? Clearly, the end goal of such projects are streamlined, efficient operations that deliver clients’ needs in a way that’s not possible without them but until that’s achieved, what increased benefits are your client’s receiving? Are your needs being placed ahead of theirs, and if so, is that right? Why should your clients and prospects be burdened by delay whilst you get your ship in order?

What should come first? Let’s put forward some arguments for “Data” projects:

  • The overall aim of almost all data projects is streamlining and efficiency. Whilst this may not be specified in favour of sexier concepts like mining and analytics, ultimately, the end-goal is to create a more efficient organization, with data a key element of the transformation. It’s hard to argue against such an endeavour.
  • Becoming more efficient and streamlined enables better client service, or at least provides the opportunity to do so. Client service will be the ultimate source of competitive advantage and so, its pursuit is also worthy.
  • Understanding and utilising data can drive improved agility. The organisation can better identify areas for growth, target weaknesses and exploit information that was not previously accessible. Consequently, they can move quickly to deliver customer and prospect’s needs and fulfil expectations.

Hard to argue against… but let’s also look at “Client Reporting” projects:

  • Client Reporting is a key opportunity to engage with your clients and demonstrate your brand in a very powerful way. It can help build better relationships and when content is correct, contribute to revenue generation through the resultant understanding and relationship opportunities it creates.
  • Improving the production process typically includes reducing resource and therefore can increase capacity elsewhere (perhaps to assist with data projects or other value-added initiatives). Using manual resource for processes that can be easily automated makes little sense.
  • Improving client reporting now reduces risk of “big bang” delays later in the transformation lifecycle when everything goes live together and ensures client reporting doesn’t lose further ground should delays materialise before its planned go-live date after other projects.

Which sound pretty reasonable too…

Have we cracked it?

At first sight, running the data project first seems logical. The firm gets its data straight and then decides how it will be used. This would be the traditional approach but perhaps not appropriate in today’s predominantly agile environment. Data projects are vast, complex and significant in length. Gains take time to materialise and even then, benefit the firm long before the client.

However, whilst it does seem illogical that client-benefitting projects are delayed in favour of organizational efficiency, it is also probably too big an ask for a client reporting project to be run in front of them, no matter the promised outcome. As such, the answer therefore has to be concurrent execution.

Concurrent execution means the clients benefit early. Resource can be reallocated for other projects and the risks and delays associated with “big bang” changes are reduced. When the organisation is transformed data-wise in the future, new feeds can replace the existing feeds or new data can be added to existing feeds and incorporated into new reports in a much easier way than re-designing everything from scratch at that point – that’s if clients haven’t already left to get better reports and service in the meantime.

Let Opus Nebula help you fix your client reporting process now. It makes sense for the future of your business. Reporting as a Service is cloud-based and provides a complete, scalable, flexible, and future proof client and fund reporting solution. It allows investment firms to provide reporting of the highest quality to their clients without the costs and complications that are associated with on-premise software and IT support teams.

To find out more about Reporting as a Service and how it benefits firms like yours, visit our website at www.opus-nebula.com and contact us personally or via enquiries@opus-nebula.com to arrange a meeting and see a live demonstration of the system.

Andrew Sherlock
Opus Nebula