About a-team Marketing Services
The leading knowledge platform for the financial technology industry
The leading knowledge platform for the financial technology industry

A-Team Insight Blogs

If You Can’t Explain the Benefits to the Business, You Probably Shouldn’t be Doing the Project, Says UBS’ Webster

Subscribe to our newsletter

The business benefits of investment in data management projects should be obvious in terms of improving efficiency and saving costs, said Ian Webster, global head of data management at UBS Asset Management to attendees at FIMA’s focus day in London. If there are no definitive practical benefits that can be explained to the business, then there is no point in going ahead with such a project, he contended: “After all, we are in the business of generating revenue.”

Before any technology investment is made, firms must first ensure they understand the problem they are trying to solve, cautioned Webster. “Technology is no solution on its own and can, in fact, cause more problems if the underlying business requirements are not being met,” he said.

Webster indicated that technology, semantics and data standards should be seen as enablers to solve business challenges. “The vast majority of issues are related to business processes rather than technology and these must be tackled before any technology investment can be made. Unless you define the business rules and the problems first, the effort is useless.”

He pointed to the IT silo mentality, where the IT department is divorced from the business as a key challenge going forward. “All parties need to be at the same table in order to come up with a workable solution for the business overall. IT has a part to play by bringing in ideas about innovative new ways to tackle business challenges,” he said. “The business also needs to be able to question the decisions being made around technology.”

Webster suggested that in the future, this collaboration would be much more easily achieved, as future generations are much more technologically savvy and could therefore work in a more integrated fashion. Monolithic IT departments could potentially be a thing of the past.

For now, data management projects need to be targeted and quickly rolled out, so that the industry is not constantly solving “yesterday’s problem”, said Webster. This means that governance of data management projects is key, so that they are being run at the correct level, whether that is department level or firm-wide. This is a theme that Webster has often elaborated upon at FIMA.

“A central utility is not appropriate to solve all problems,” he added “We need to do things that make the business better, quicker and cheaper.”

Webster’s comments are also certainly nothing new to the industry, as many firms have indicated that the appetite for large scale EDM projects is minimal in the current environment of intense cost pressure and regulatory focused spending. Just look at the changing approaches of the EDM vendors out there for proof; with many offering much more targeted solutions (look at GoldenSource’s recent RiskHub launch).

Subscribe to our newsletter

Related content

WEBINAR

Recorded Webinar: Sourcing and managing ESG disclosure data to ensure compliance

As interest in ESG investing continues to accelerate, asset managers must source and manage increasing volumes of ESG disclosure data. Data volumes are not the only problem, with different types of ESG disclosure data, the need to master the data, and a lack of standards all contributing to the challenges of getting compliance right and...

BLOG

Data Fabrics Bring Speed and Agility. Just Make Sure Those Seams are Secure

The increasing complexity and volume of data used by enterprises has prompted as rethink among chief data officers about how best to manage it. The needs of more individuals within an organisation to access information that was once the preserve of a handful of managers, and the switch in emphasis from systems-derived to externally sourced...

EVENT

ESG Insight Briefing New York

The briefing will explore challenges around assembling and evaluating ESG data, how to apply new technologies to improve data quality and insight and the impact of regulatory measures on standardisation efforts.

GUIDE

ESG Data Handbook 2022

The ESG landscape is changing faster than anyone could have imagined even five years ago. With tens of trillions of dollars expected to have been committed to sustainable assets by the end of the decade, it’s never been more important for financial institutions of all sizes to stay abreast of changes in the ESG data...