Something that often gets overlooked in discussions around the costs and benefits of leveraging automated systems to create operational efficiencies, is the need to stay current with the releases of the products that you are using. Once a system is initially installed, it is tempting to believe that one can use the product for the foreseeable future, with little additional cost beyond standard maintenance. This sense of complacency can ultimately harm your business, however, as deferring upgrades can result in expensive “catch-up” projects, that will be complicated to manage, and in turn place pressure on your bottom line.
In order to avoid unwieldy upgrade projects, and to keep your firm’s trading and compliance monitoring systems up to date, IMP recommends including upgrades in your long- term project and budget plans. To further assist you with this, we offer below five signs that indicate it’s time to upgrade:
- The vendor is about to sunset support for the version that you are on. Perhaps the clearest signal that you’ve been on your version of a software product too long is that the vendor is warning you that in the not too distant future, they will no longer be supporting it. This indicates that the old version is significantly different from more current ones, and that the vendor therefore no longer finds it cost effective to continue to support it. Most of the vendor’s other clients have likely upgraded to newer versions, and therefore any significant bugs should have already been identified, if not been resolved.
- A new version of the software provides a material benefit to user functionality. New versions of OMS software should be closely examined to see what new functionality is being provided. Can a system now handle a security type that previously needed to be booked or monitored manually? Is there a new compliance parameter that can now be leveraged to replace the testing of a rule on an off-line spreadsheet? Even if the upgrade does not provide an enhancement that you were waiting for, there may still be increased functionality that could provide a positive impact to your operational workflows. The release notes of a new version should be reviewed closely in order to identify enhancements that could benefit your firm. Additionally, time should be scheduled with your vendor rep in order to discuss how your firm can best take advantage of the new version.
- There’s a significant change to the infrastructure of the product. If the new version of the system includes major changes to the back-end of the product, it’s likely in your firm’s best interest to take advantage of this change and to begin planning to upgrade sooner rather than later. Since an infrastructure upgrade will require significant technical resources, a robust project plan including proper budgeting, is critical to ensuring a smooth transition from one version to the next. Waiting too long to undertake a major upgrade can result in a difficult and expensive project, and may cause your firm to miss out on potential processing efficiencies and/or enhancements to the end-user experience.
- Your firm has made a strategic decision to consolidate its trading systems. Perhaps your firm has grown in a non-organic fashion over the past many years, and in turn is now using several OMS platforms. In the post-2008 environment, with the focus on streamlining workflows and reducing costs, many asset managers are consolidating systems, and are using this opportunity to at the same time upgrade to a newer version of their one (or more) OMS. By pairing these two changes together, you are able to avoid the need to ramp up for two distinct projects.
- The scale of the accounts traded/monitored is increasing dramatically. Similar to sign #4, it is often better to coordinate an upgrade with a second major change to your workflow. If you are expecting a large amount of new accounts to be on-boarded to your system in the near future, then you should consider doing an upgrade prior to their launch. The upgraded version will likely have better capacity and functionality for the additional funds, and by taking care of the upgrade upfront, it will allow you to focus on the on-boarding, servicing, and maintenance of new accounts.
About IMP Consulting
IMP Consulting works with asset managers and hedge funds to select and implement effective technology solutions. Our team of industry experts includes former portfolio managers, traders, compliance and operations professionals, and IT managers and engineers from leading OMS/IMS and accounting systems providers.
Our team’s intimate knowledge of market-leading products and our industry contacts keep IMP on the inside track of the best products to use and the top vendors in the industry. The net result: a team uniquely qualified to efficiently and expertly match your needs with the full capabilities of your investment management systems.
This article was authored by Roger Binggeli, Senior Compliance Consultant. For more information, please contact Roger at firstname.lastname@example.org or Jane Stabile at email@example.com. Roger can also be reached on 617-314-7415.