Alternative investment management software providers’ messaging to their prospects and clients is typically based around their offerings’ feature sets. Focusing on the types of functions a software platform can perform can make searching for the platform that suits your firm’s needs as enticingly simple as checking features off of a list. However, just because software can perform essential tasks does not mean it performs them well. General and limited partners searching for an investment management solution need to closely evaluate a platform’s actual performance in order to ensure they are fully satisfied with their operational solution. Slow software can incrementally decrease productivity amidst updates to browsers and other web technologies, which can result in decreased user adoption, disparate methods for organization, and ultimately silos of disparate information rendering your firm’s software investment at a loss of time and money, and exactly where you started.
When inquiring about a software platform’s performance, the first step is identifying what hardware is needed for it to run efficiently. Alternative investment firms should be seeking a system that requires minimal prerequisites to run smoothly, and SaaS-based software typically meets this standard. Investment management software systems built for the Cloud are essentially future-proofed provided that they are maintained through regular updates: firms upgrade their computers and other devices without outside influence beyond normal replacement, and users only need to upgrade their Internet browsers. Beyond light system requirements, Cloud-based hosting all provides a wealth of other benefits, including a leaner, more cost-effective IT infrastructure and more robust, diligent security.
A second key performance factor to consider when vetting alternative investment management software is its ability to operate smoothly following new updates and product releases. Learning the difference between customization and configurability is critical in this instance. If a software platform is largely hard-coded, it means that any additional features outside of the out-of-the-box functionality have to be manually developed. These manual developments are only compatible with one particular version of the software. Any further updates to the software may create some incompatibility with the customization, slowing performance, or at worst requiring a total overhaul of the customization. A configurable platform has an open architecture that enables personalized feature sets to seamlessly integrate with the out-of-the-box product, empowering your firm to be continually productive without disruption during product upgrades and regular application maintenance.
Maintaining a swift flow of information is not solely dependent on your computer. Mobile applications provide a seamless user experience for investment managers and asset allocators outside the office for completing mission-critical tasks. These apps enable users to post information into relevant profiles and initiatives from their tablet or smartphone, and instantly share this data throughout the office. The additional context that can be gained from on-the-ground updates can play a significant role in maximizing the return on deal management, fundraising, and investor relations efforts. Industry-specific investment management software platforms that have dedicated apps ensure that users can quickly optimize their data management and access the appropriate records on demand.
Speed for alternative investment management software matters matters when receiving ongoing support. I noted in earlier articles that when selecting a platform, that service experience should play a pivotal role in selecting investment management software, and firms should extensively review providers’ service history through references and online resources. Any service time lost leads to a drop in productivity that can have varied negative ramifications for your firm’s operations.
As the speed of our technology increases, intolerance for any perceived lag or delay grows alongside it. Alternative investment firms seeking to differentiate themselves in a crowded industry have near-nonexistent room or error in their internal operations. Selecting a vendor that ensures consistent productivity is imperative.