Since the launch of its AC Invest solution in October last year, the enterprise data management (EDM) solution vendor has witnessed an uptick in client interest in its new compliance focused offering, according to Rick Enfield, product business owner of the vendor’s AC Plus solution. The shift from approaching data management as a technology problem to seeing it as a business driven challenge has lent credence to the cause of EDM, he says.
Enfield indicates that the vendor will be making a number of new client announcements over the next four to six weeks (once approvals have been signed off) for both its AC Invest and its AC Plus solutions. It seems, then, that the vendor’s strategy to launch a solution squarely targeted at improving firms’ compliance and audit functions last year has paid off. AC Invest was launched with the aim of capitalising on the current wave of regulatory driven investment into data management by providing more transparency and control around reference data.
The vendor has also been working on a new data distribution and integration module for its longstanding AC Plus flagship solution, says Enfield. This is aimed at helping firms to cope with the complexities that the market can throw at them such as the increase in M&A activity. “The problems related to internal integration that arise as a result of acquisitions are often underappreciated in their complexity,” he says. “This is why firms need the skill and expertise of vendor partners to cope with data management challenges in this process.”
Enfield is also aware that Asset Control’s competitors are looking to extend their offerings in the data management space to more closely match dual offering approach (of AC Plus and Tapmaster). “They are looking to build new functionality onto their current feature sets and to some extent it is a ‘me too’ game,” he says.
Asset Control, for its part, is also extending its ambitions further into a market that it has not traditionally been associated closely with in the past: the buy side community. “We are often seen as a sell side focused vendor and it is up to us to change that perception and make the buy side understand our capabilities in terms of people, product and process,” Enfield elaborates.
Enfield comes from a buy side vendor background himself: prior to his appointment at Asset Control he was chief operating officer at Citadel Associates. He is, no doubt, putting this past experience into practice in his current task to extend Asset Control’s reach into this community.
To this end, the vendor has been going all out to improve its understanding of the buy side’s particular approach to data management and is hoping to project this knowledge of their business problems back to the market. “A vendor/client relationship is like a marriage, it needs to be based on common understanding and continue to grow on both sides over time,” he says. Both parties therefore need to establish trust, including trust in the longevity of the vendor.
In general, Enfield is positive that 2010 will prove to be a good year for data management. “There is more understanding now than ever before about the importance of data quality. Although the global regulations that have been promised have not been fully developed yet, firms know that they need to be able to rely on their data quality to meet these incoming requirements,” he says.
He admits that there is no “magic calculator” to be able to prove ROI in the case of an EDM implementation and the bigger the organisation, the harder the process, but he reckons that communication can overcome a lot of these challenges. “The focus on data management is set to continue as data transparency and regulatory requirements drive the industry forward,” he concludes.