Tailor Made Technology
Glen Beamson, Chief Technology Officer at ADIA
One of the by-products of an evolving investment model is an acceleration in the rate of change. Our role is not only to provide a first class technology service today but also to implement processes and planning to react to a potentially different set of requirements tomorrow. As the breadth of investment products widens, this agility becomes ever more important.
The danger of agility of course is that you try to do too much, too fast in an unstructured way. To counter this, the approach that we have taken is to build business-specific units, able to move at a speed relevant to each business line. Our focus is on hiring and training individuals with proven front-line experience who can demonstrate a strong innovative flair, primarily in business analysis, architectural design and project management and we are actively hiring from both the buy- and sell-side to further strengthen our capabilities. In addition to people skills we are transitioning to a more pragmatic approach to architecture, buying products when our requirements are well known or market standard and developing our own software to add value when we have bespoke needs.
Public funds sit in a unique position. While many are large in terms of assets under management, they are often relatively light in headcount and thus perhaps suited to more nimble smaller vendors than more heavyweight providers. As such, there is definitely a space for mid-sized vendors who can provide a more tailored service whilst providing the economies of scale and re-use of best practice that a vendor implementation can bring.
In addition, whilst best of breed technology is desirable, the reliance that a smaller team has on external vendors means that best of breed support will be more important in the long run. Software vendors that grasp this will end up growing business for the long term.