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CEO Insights

Adapt or Die

Technology is changing everything. Fund administration is no exception. For industry leaders charged with keeping pace today and planning for tomorrow, the lesson of what happens to organizations that fail to embrace technological change is clear: adapt or die.

The speed at which changes occur in industry has grown exponentially, and is claiming victims among firms long considered leaders. In the publishing industry, for example, the well known bookseller, Borders, went into bankruptcy because Amazon figured out how to use digital technology to fundamentally change the way consumers buy books. Even bricks-and-mortar competitor Barnes and Noble embraced the emerging technological landscape and sought to integrate it with their big box approach.

Borders, however, failed because they were too complacent to evolve their business models to capitalize on new technologies. These corporate titans thought their positions in the market were unassailable and they could adapt at their own sloth-like speed.

They were wrong, and they (and 11,000 employees) paid the price. Today, fund administrators face the same challenge. If they are not ready to fundamentally change the way they do business, and do it quickly, they may meet the same unfortunate fate by losing out to smarter, more responsive competitors. Don't let this happen to your organization; the technology to succeed is here now.

In a world where investors are demanding more information about what they're buying and how their investments are doing, and where regulators, too, are requiring increased reporting, back office administrators must be able to respond quickly and accurately.

I encourage fund administrators to face and embrace the regulatory labyrinth as a way to leap forward now rather than reactively fighting a rearguard battle to preserve yesterday's methods.

Technology is changing swiftly. While many of today's fund administrators are still struggling with Web 2.0, today's leaders are planning for Web 3.0, the hypothetical next phase of digital technology where computers themselves don't just manage data, they understand it. The new generation of technology that's available now provides revolutionary ways of distributing information.

The perfect storm of new technology, more demanding clients, the need to do more with less and much sharper regulatory scrutiny, create the opportunity for fund administrators to transform their businesses and to position themselves for ongoing success. This adaptation is imperative not just for growth, but for survival.