Insights from Technology and Operations Track - TSAM NYC

Olmstead Associates played a significant role at TSAM NYC both moderating the opening panels as well as chairing the Technology and Operations track.  The diversity and depth of experience panelists and presenters brought to the program was exceptional and interaction with the audience rounded the experience.  Those who sat in the sessions had the pleasure of hearing best practices, pitfalls, and real experiences of firms who have embarked on significant change to their business.    Though synthesizing the day would be an impossible task, some key themes emerged and present a view into how successful firms are evolving their businesses.

·         The role of technology and operations has evolved.  Universally panelists spoke about deep collaboration of technology and operations staff with the business and third party solution providers.  The importance of the relationship as a key success criterion to projects and initiatives was a recurring theme and it was clear that hiring and promotion profiles have evolved to value collaboration and consensus building skills.
·         Business silos need to be transcended by technology and operations teams looking to streamline the flow of transactions and data throughout the enterprise. This often means looking at less optimal solutions for individual business silos that create streamlined and more optimal enterprise solutions.  The COO and CTO require a deft hand as the facilitate business acceptance of the compromises and selling the ultimate benefits for firms.
·         As businesses look to grow, they are moving away from adding new technology and operations infrastructures in place of rethinking their existing business operations and technology and beginning to rationalize and consolidate technology and operations functions.  This means consolidation of core trading and accounting applications as well as the increased creation of shared services to support disparate business groups.
·         This rationalization requires a heavier reliance on cross-business coordination.  Applications  like Order Management that have been deployed by desks as best of breed solutions are consolidating platforms and functions like derivatives and data management are looking at how to integrate data governance and lineage from cradle to grave.
·         Outsourcing technology and business processes continues and increasingly participants spoke of treating them as another stakeholder within the business.  Leading firms are placing a high importance on the management of those relationships and the integration of 3rd party providers into the business.
·         Mergers and acquisitions is one area that has contributed to the increased complexity of businesses and the proliferation of disparate technology and operations infrastructures. Although some firms continue to keep acquisitions separate the growing trend is towards finding cost and operational efficiency as well as best practices through the integration of their businesses.