Risk Focus Facilitates a Leading Institutional Asset Manager’s Digital Transformation

Executive Summary

A leading institutional asset manager faced a generational technology refresh due to aging systems that caused performance and reliability problems. The client struggled to introduce new functionality because of the undocumented complexity of its systems; releases were frequently rolled back due to a lack of production-like environments that would allow for proper load testing. The asset manager engaged Risk Focus to develop an architecture that would improve throughput, increase reliability, and allow for frequent iterative releases with predictable success.

About The Client

The client is a global institutional asset manager with offices on five continents and upwards of $500 million under management. The firm offers investors a broad range of core, sector-specific, and customized portfolios across every sector of the market.

The Challenge

Decades of organic systems growth caused an accumulation of technical debt. The client’s systems were tightly coupled and had single points of failure. Localized changes no longer yielded a meaningful return, necessitating the firm’s investment in a major Digital Transformation initiative. As is the case when refactoring business critical systems: the changes needed to happen without resulting in a business interruption.

Why the Client Chose Risk Focus

The client engaged Risk Focus because of the firm’s deep domain knowledge, advanced technical skill, and iterative methodology. Additionally, the firm’s AWS Migration, DevOps, and Financial Services Competencies were credentials for its track record of delivering on Digital Transformation projects in the same industry as the client.

The Solution

Risk Focus worked with the client’s technology leadership across multiple siloed applications to document the information flows as well as to identify the client’s major pain points. Risk Focus reoriented the design thinking away from a “shared state” and towards a shared-flow architecture. Risk Focus then worked with stakeholders to pick a starting point: an application that would have the biggest impact on the business in the shortest delivery time. From there, Risk Focus developed a roadmap for the client’s entire Digital Transformation.

In order to ensure efficient infrastructure utilization and the availability of environments-as-a-service (EaaS), Risk Focus put forward a plan to migrate the development and some production systems to AWS.

Lastly, to de-risk the chosen trajectory, Risk Focus designed and implemented a set of proof-of-value implementations demonstrating the scalability and reliability of the suggested architecture.

Results and Benefits

Risk Focus enabled the client to embark on a full Digital Transformation with an organization-wide consensus on the initiative’s trajectory. The client has a roadmap with frequent iterative deliverables, architecture choices have been validated with proofs of concept, and application boundaries have been defined. In moving away from data centers, the firm will gain infrastructure elasticity, multi-region reliability, and a micros-services architecture based on high-performance analytics for event streams coming from the markets.

In addition, Risk Focus’s AWS Migration Competency enabled it to work with the AWS account team to secure substantial funding for the project, including offsetting client fees by approximately 45%.

Learn More

Risk Focus is a consultancy solving capital-markets business problems with technology and insight. We combine business domain knowledge, technology expertise, and a disciplined process to ensure the success of the most challenging projects in the industry. Many of the largest exchanges and investment banks operate on systems built by Risk Focus teams. Our practices include Custom Application Development, Regulatory Reporting & Compliance, DevOps & Cloud, Streaming Architectures, and IT Strategy. We’re a Premier Confluent Systems Integrator and an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner with Financial Services, Migration, and DevOps Competencies. Clients count on us to provide outcomes that advance their objectives on time and on budget.