Beyond the Numbers Blog

How Integration, Interoperability, APIs and Apps are Changing Asset Management

Posted on February 26th, 2020

Across the asset management sector, firms of all sizes are turning to third-party apps and APIs for a range of tools to enrich their business processes.

Whether a small family office using APIs to connect to external market data feeds from Bloomberg, or a global private equity fund administrator that uses the Microsoft Excel app for waterfall calculations and analysis, their goals are clear: make the firm more efficient, more competitive, more scalable and/or more client-focused.

But what exactly are APIs and apps? And more importantly, how do APIs, apps, integration and interoperability come together so you can unlock the true value of your technology investment?

Dissecting the tech

Application programming interfaces (APIs) are a set of instructions that allow two software applications to interact with each other. They enable you to easily incorporate into your operations best-of-breed tools that enhance functionality. Tableau APIs, for example, enable users to pull raw data into Tableau for building powerful visualizations and analysis. APIs can also be used to automate repetitive tasks.

Applications (“apps”), on the other hand, are software programs that can quickly be downloaded and installed on a system or run on the cloud as a service. They provide one of the fastest, easiest and least expensive ways to add functionality to your product and service offerings.

Bringing it all together

As the industry has become more complex and clients more demanding, asset managers have rushed to fill gaps to meet various needs. But firms are finding that an ecosystem built on a combination of legacy technology, custom software, and third-party offerings creates silos that impede the flow of information.

That’s where integration comes in. It brings together all functions on a common platform so that a third-party application can access other data. According to FundCount’s Mike Slemmer, COO-Americas, “Automating process workflow and connectivity to CRM, business intelligence and other solutions are priorities we hear consistently from our clients.”

But simply plugging in an API or downloading an app doesn’t ensure the functionality is fully integrated in your operational workflow. Interoperability takes it the next step.

Interoperability as a priority

Interoperability is based on common, vendor agnostic standards. It provides a two-way street for exchanging data and information that ensures the highest level of efficiency, scalability, and speed with the least amount of friction and manual intervention. While integration allows systems to connect with each other, it’s interoperability that gets all systems and processes talking the same language.

“Interoperability is a massive trend for asset managers as a result of the growing use of multiple technology solutions for data capture, business intelligence, customer relationship management (CRM), reporting, and other business needs,” said James Haluszczak, industry veteran and founder of SteelBridge Consulting. “It is also one of the highest priorities for established large and mid-market fund managers who are already investing time, resources, and money to create a technology stack that is fully integrated and interoperable.”

Large firms are not the only ones focused on interoperability. It is also gaining traction among emerging managers who are in a unique position. Not saddled by legacy systems, they can instead capitalize on their greenfield operating environment by embracing interoperability from the start to enable more efficient scaling as the firm grows.

What it means for asset managers

For firms playing system “ping-pong” and bumping data back and forth – often manually – because of too many functional silos, there used to be only two options: commit to a single system or cobble together functions with best-of-breed systems.

Today however, the lines are blurring. New apps and APIs now offer you the best of both worlds. Regardless of the size of your firm and where you are on the technology continuum, APIs and apps are building blocks that deliver immediate benefits – even more so if fully integrated and interoperable with your business processes and technology stack. But getting all moving parts to run smoothly as one streamlined solution can be a challenge for firms with limited budgets and minimal IT staff.

FundCount understands these challenges. We’ll help support the building of your ecosystem and bring together your data and workflows to work cohesively as a unified system so you can reap the full benefits of business integrations:

  • Infinite scalability – easily add products and services as the firm grows or needs change
  • Improved efficiency – reduce manual processes and improve accuracy with automated workflow and business processes
  • Cost effective – boost functionality of legacy systems and enrich existing offerings without the need to build technology from scratch
  • Greater insight – obtain a comprehensive view of all investment activity with ready access to real-time updates, historical data, and flexible reporting
  • Top-notch customer service – gain a competitive edge by introducing new products quickly and delivering a better overall customer experience.

FundCount recognizes the value of building an integrated ecosystem of apps and business workflows that can be implemented into your operations quickly, easily and inexpensively.

Stay tuned for the launch of our AppUniverse, which will connect you to numerous applications that extend the benefits of FundCount. Contact us today to learn more.