A Pragmatic Approach to Major Systems Upgrades

Major system upgrades are often a challenge for investment management firms, but it needs to be done if not for new features then for contractual obligations. Working with the most recent release of the investment management platform has many benefits but major upgrades are often complex and becoming more frequent bringing a constant strain on resource and delivery times.

In this blog we explain why it’s important to be using the latest release and provide a framework to manage ongoing upgrades that delivers a business ready platform efficiently and effectively.

What does a new upgrade deliver:

  • You should always expect new functionality to deal with market trends and the latest regulatory requirements
  • Fixing bugs, there are always nagging errors requiring workarounds due to bugs in the system
  • Any upgrade should improve system security with this becoming a top priority for investment management firms
  • Improved performance from better navigation or systems processing efficiency
  • Continued support from the vendor, some vendors will reduce or even stop support for firms if they continue to use old versions of the software.

Best Practice for Managing Major System Upgrades

Invariably a major upgrade is a complex project that can affect many parts of the business, so it needs to be properly planned and resourced to deliver the benefits of the new upgrade to the firm in a timely, cost effective and secure manner.

Given these upgrades are recurrent in nature it is important to develop a framework that provides continuity and is repeatable without major changes to the plan.

The framework, which could be developed in collaboration with the vendor if required, will be wide ranging in that it should ensure that the project team understand the full implications of the upgrade across the business.

A classic framework would cover the initial discovery and scope definition, the technical and business upgrade and finally the testing and readiness for business go live.

This process will ensure there is a full understanding of how all areas of the business use the system which will ultimately lead to more efficient testing coverage, reduce unnecessary testing and provide solid justifications for the implemented test cases.

Benefits a Proven Framework

Once the Framework and associated workflows have been agreed and have gone through a full cycle it should be adjusted where necessary based on the experience of the first project. Going forward this approach will provide a number of benefits to the Investment Operations team:

  • You have a proven formula for managing upgrades that is repeatable and secure
  • Staffing requirements are known beforehand and not a surprise when highly skilled business or technical skills are needed
  • Costs of the upgrade are well understood beforehand, reducing the potential for unknown risks
  • Delivering the upgrade in an efficient and cost-effective manner enables a rapid time to market for clients enabling full use of the new technology and functionality

How Axxsys Can Help

Some of the world’s leading investment managers have partnered with Axxsys for large scale technology upgrades due to our strong reputation and experience in the market. We have a global team of highly skilled consultants with strong industry knowledge and exceptional understanding of the major technology platforms used by investment managers.

If you would like to discuss how we can help with your next upgrade please contact us at info@axxsysconsulting.com