Practically every Alternative Investment product leads with a colorful, drillable, clickable collection of charts and graphs all providing the latest advancements in Analytics and Performance Dashboards.
These dashboards usually consist of performance metrics loaded with industry specific terms like “AUM”, “Gross IRR”, “Capital Drawdown” and “Dry Powder” just to name a few.
They all offer…“Real-Time” analytics and one click “Push-Button” reporting that will streamline your reporting processes and reduces needed resources. However crucial steps to realizing and sustaining the immense benefits of these solutions are often overlooked or shelved for a later date.
Here are just a few lessons learned that you should consider:
Selecting data steward(s) in the organization is key for the management and oversight of the underlying data assets. They also can provide you with an understanding of the data lifecycle and they typically know where “the bodies are buried” and can identify invaluable “offline” data sources. Developing change agents helps get the word out but having actual beneficiaries of the solution and quantifiable metrics goes much further. Having a knowledgeable data architect is obvious but ensuring that they have enough authority to make the tough calls is essential. Not every consumer or producer of data will get exactly what they want 100% of the time.
Instituting a process that not only establishes but also reinforces data quality will ensure that you can trust what goes in and what comes out. Implementing a solution without a data quality process pretty much guarantees that your new dashboard will undoubtedly be replaced by an Excel workbook! Other complementary steps include data definitions and standardized best practices that are consistently shared and implemented across the organization. This takes considerable effort however finding and implementing best practices for things like fund accounting will avoid the undesirable end result of “exception based” reporting (i.e. Fund I we do X, for Fund II we do X+Y*2) .
Some firms apply an arms-race mentality to technology investment, adjusting their total spend to industry benchmarks or implementing similar projects as their competitors. But the industry leaders distinguish themselves by how they invest in technology, most notably in areas of technology strategy and governance. The end result being a solid roadmap for future projects and solutions that enables the business and also sustains your IT investments. Selecting or implementing a solution for fund performance analytics should fit within the overall IT strategy and compliment your existing and future investments.