A Top 10 Foundation and a Multi-Billion Dollar Pension Reveal Their Secrets for Automating Data & Document Collection

May 15, 2018 by in category Blog, Investor Reporting, Limited Partnerships with 0 and 0

The Problems:

Like many asset allocators with exposure to alternative investments, the City of San Jose Office of Retirement Services and Kamehameha Schools are inundated with emails and documents, especially from their private investments, prospective managers, and direct deals.  High-value staff were spending a large percentage of their time collecting and organizing these communications but still were not able to capture everything or sufficiently organize what was collected, primarily due to lack of bandwidth.

Challenge 1: Acquiring files from “Deal Rooms”

The investment team at the City of San Jose dealt with a manual process which entailed logging into the Intralinks Online Portal, locating relevant files frequently having to search through subfolders, then saving those files into individual fund folders within their shared network drive. This process took many hours per month and only for the ~20 funds the organization had using the Intralinks exchange. In addition to the time sink, this manual process resulted in many skipped documents or if downloaded they were occasionally misfiled due to human error.

Challenge 2: Capturing and organizing emails and attachments

Kamehameha Schools has ~380 funds sending them at least 3 to 5 letters each per quarter. The organization wanted a nicely organized collection of documents for every fund that could be accessed by anyone in the organization. Like so many firms with the same needs, they originally took an old-school approach to their file management process where several different teams were saving documents in many different places, creating duplicate copies and yet still not making them easy to find. For example, the finance department was saving capital account statements in their folders while the investment team was saving the same statements and investor letters in their own folders. Some teams would organize the documents by month while some would organize them by fund.

Automated Document Collection

The Solutions:

Both firms had 2 primary goals on this front: 1) To reduce the time spent on collecting these communications and documents, and 2) Centralize all of these files in a central repository to eliminate redundancy and provide ease of access by classifying them appropriately and directly linking them to the firms, funds and investments they relate to.

“The organization found that the Dynamo Exchange’s Investor Portal Integration was a key differentiator.”

Dhinesh Ganapathiappan, Investment Analyst at the City of San Jose Office of Retirement Services, has been using Dynamo after an extensive search process of other competitors in the CRM and RMS (Research Management Software) space. They chose Dynamo Software because the solution was tailored to financial institutions right out of the box, providing exceptional document management capabilities that exploits a relational structure instead of non-intuitive file folders, contained all of the necessary fields the organization needed with the added ability to customize and add additional fields, entities and layouts needed by any of their teams. The pension’s team was also drawn to the platform’s intuitive user interface, cloud-based and mobile functionality, dedication to cybersecurity, and the add-ins with the Microsoft Office Suite and Adobe Acrobat that further automate the sending of documents into the central repository with the appropriate links and tags.

Since implementing the Dynamo Exchange Investor Portal Integration the San Jose team has automated the acquisition and tagging of all of the documents provided through Intralinks. They are now able to efficiently access documents in Dynamo through a variety of interfaces and even preview their contents without having to open them. The search functionality empowers the team to pull up certain types of documents related to select funds all at once, save them, and even export them if needed. Now, much more of their staff’s time is spent on value-added activities rather than monotonous file management. With Dynamo Exchange they don’t miss documents that are posted to these deal rooms and thus are capturing and organizing more than twice the number of documents they previously had, yet with a fraction of the effort. Ganapathiappan advises investment offices going through a solution evaluation to consider the most effective use of their staff’s time and the value of having a robust and standardized infrastructure.

“Dynamo really helped organize documents in a user-friendly and easily searchable way.”

Dynamo Team at Computer

Euan Beer, Director of Investment Operations at Kamehameha Schools, leverages Dynamo Exchange’s Email Rules functionality which automates email flow by tagging and uploading them with key meta data as they hit their shared inboxes.

The organization chose Dynamo Software as a solution due to its document management, CRM capabilities, and user interface. After implementation, Dynamo successfully organizes Kamehameha Schools’s documents in a user friendly and easily searchable way. Documents are tagged to the investment, the fund that it was applicable to, the document category and they all have accurate date stamps. This enabled the various teams to easily pull the type of document they need from the specific time period in question.

Dynamo Portal’s Data Submission Forms Automate Data Integration Directly From Online Questionnaires

Another option to streamline an allocator’s research and ongoing due diligence process is to capture data and documents directly input by the managers through an on-line form.  This bypasses the need for document reviews and manual extraction of the actual data since the form submissions can be brought directly into the research database on the appropriate entity’s record.  Dynamo Exchange’s Data Submission Forms are a proactive way to automate your operations when you are requesting specific information from your managers and need to monitor who has yet to respond.

Dynamo Exchange is an exciting topic for us here at Dynamo, receiving a lot of interest from our client base due to its time-saving impact and allowing them to be more thorough in their decision making, accounting and auditing of their investment pools. Dynamo Exchange is just one of Dynamo’s automation features that empower your team to dedicate more time to value-added tasks, eliminating the headaches that come with manual processes.

Contact us today if you’d like more information on how Dynamo can streamline your operations so you can be more data and process driven.

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