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Thought Leaders in Cloud Computing: Interview with Skip Smith, COO of Confluence (Part 2)

Posted on Sunday, Sep 8th 2013

Sramana Mitra: Would it be fair to say that your primary expertise is in providing cloud-based solutions in the domain of regulatory compliance in the fund management space?

Skip Smith: No. I think we are really a data management solution provider. That is where our fundamental expertise is. We are merely migrating to the cloud, and our cloud offering is our next delivery message to deliver that data problem.

SM: So you do data in all industries?

SS: We are in the investment management space, specifically in the fund administration space. We feel that the cloud is still viewed by some in our industry as a scary thing. We believe in an incremental process towards adopting cloud technology. This is very important. We are working mainly around regulatory information that is generally publicly available. That is the type of stuff we migrate to the cloud first in an effort to help these fund administration companies put their toes in the water and gradually get through this conversion to cloud technology.

SM: Let’s clarify for our audience the kinds of use cases you deal with.

SS: The first one would be creating annual and semiannual reports for the fund companies. A segment in our industry that we support is global service providers. They have a very big challenge where they have to take information from fund accounting systems or various other systems in their back office. Typically they collect that in spreadsheets, from extracts in their systems. This was very surprising to me, coming from the banking space, where so much of the data transfer between systems is automated. It has been interesting for me to learn the manual nature and the extensive use of spreadsheets to pull all this information together that is then aggregated, checked, reviewed and socialized around the fund administrator as well as the client, the marketing department, etc. to make sure everyone has all the correct information. Then this information is formatted into an annual report.

Several of our clients that view these reports as a marketing document, so they are highly stylized. Typically, without a solution like ours, these customers are using hundreds of spreadsheets. We all know from various recent publications in the industry and the frequency of spreadsheet errors that this is just very unreliable.

SM: What are these global services providers? What services do they provide?

SS: Fund administration services. An asset manager will do a contract with a global service provider to do their fund administration on their behalf. They might contract with them to do their regulatory reporting, performance reporting, preparation of their annual reports, expense budgeting, etc.

This segment is part 2 in the series : Thought Leaders in Cloud Computing: Interview with Skip Smith, COO of Confluence
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