Eagle Investment Systems is responding to financial institutions’ digital transformation programmes with a componentised platform, agile data management solutions, additional cloud options, and a revolution in the release of software updates.
To find out more about the company’s plans, we talked to Eagle CEO Mal Cullen about market development, client desires and the drive towards an open ecosystem that allows clients to make changes to their technology as requirements change, and partners to join the Eagle platform and extend its capabilities.
Cullen says: “Although Eagle has been a leader in data management solutions for over 20 years, the needs of our clients are changing, so we needed to invest in technology and resources.” He acknowledges that regulatory compliance continues to be a large part of Eagle’s business, but also recognises financial institutions’ requirement to move towards more efficient, agile and open systems. With this in mind, Eagle has made a major investment in redesigning its platform over the past 18 months.
Cullen explains: “There is technology available today unlike anything we have seen before. Our strategy is to create an open platform that allows components to be plugged in, provides the agility to swap out tools, and supports outsourcing where required.” The company’s commitment to collaboration as part of a componentised platform is clear, with about 40 strategic alliances already made, of which about one-third are new vendors in the market.
From a data perspective, Eagle is responding to client interest in being able to merge different datasets into existing datasets and integrate other types of data such as unstructured data and environmental, social and governance (ESG) data to create new datasets and gain more insight. Data can be delivered in flexible packaged solutions from the cloud, as a managed service or through application programming interfaces (APIs). Most recently, Eagle has added the option of allowing firms to use an API layer to build their own data extraction models.
The company’s cloud strategy is also developing. As well as delivering its data management, investment accounting and performance measurement solutions from its secure private cloud, Eagle Access, the company is collaborating with Microsoft to create a cloud-based multi-tenant data management platform. Offered through Microsoft Azure, the platform is designed to help investment managers capture the diverse data needed to manage assets and seek alpha. The relationship with Microsoft also builds on Eagle Access, creating a robust hybrid cloud offering. These developments provide cloud innovation that is increasingly expected by investment managers and also, as Cullen puts it, ‘a bigger surface area for Eagle to cover’.
The changes in Eagle’s platform design are matched by a major shift in how it releases software updates. The company previously released large updates every 18 months and released the last of these at the end of 2017. It has since moved to an agile development and deployment methodology releasing smaller, targeted releases every four to six weeks, avoiding delays between large updates and providing clients with more agility.
Eagle has about 200 direct clients on a global basis and is experiencing growing interest in its managed services, particularly in Europe and Asia. As the technology subsidiary of BNY Mellon, its solutions are also used by many of its parent’s clients, some of which could also be interested in joining the multi-tenanted data management platform.
Cullen says Eagle’s clients are split between firms seeking cost efficiencies by setting up new operating models that use managed services and outsourcing to deliver business requirements, and firms that have a growth perspective and are using Eagle solutions to gain insight from new data and add value to the front office. Whatever their approach, however, Cullen says clients and prospects are looking less at solution features and functions, and more at securing a long-term partner that can help them fulfil their strategy.