The value of connection 

Attending my first in-person client day event in London  

It’s been 3 years since the start of the pandemic, 2 years since I joined Kurtosys, and 25 years since I’ve been to London. With all the obstacles finally removed, this was my first chance to be in the room with many of our colleagues and clients at our recent London Client Day on the 17th of May. 

We kicked off the day with welcome addresses from our CEO Lee Godfrey and our CXO (Chief Experience Officer)  and moderator Neil Thornburn 

The morning was focused on getting a birdseye view of the landscape that we find ourselves in at present. With volatile market-conditions and rapid technological advancement, it is important to take a breath once in a while, look up and look ahead. 

The value of connection  1

(From left) Simon Causer – Director at TWO Agency, Hazel Pitchers – Founder at Merakiting, Bradley Gamage – Senior Client Partner at Publicis Sapient, Neil Thornburn – Chief Experience Officer at Kurtosys

Reporting automation in investment management 

Here I enjoyed listening to Gert Raeves, director of Adox Research in conversation with Sakina Tumi, Head of Marketing at Redwheel. Gert shared some of his research results on the progress of reporting automation initiatives in the industry – and more specifically the drivers and barriers to progress. Sakina kindly shared some personal experiences that may help others. For example, having a dedicated IT resource within the marketing/distribution team, her poignant observations on change management – and how to combat the fatigue that always seems to set in after a few months.  

Having worked on customer journeys with Hazel Pitchers and our team and speaking to Gert regularly, there is one key learning that stands out for me. Best-in-class technology is paramount, of course, but of equal importance is our role to help build business cases and provide support for regular and meaningful internal client updates during implementation.  

Digital transformation with marketing experts  

The next session was a panel discussion on digital transformation. The panel consisted of Bradley Gamage from Publicis Sapient, Hazel Pitchers from Merakiting Consulting and Simon Causer from the agency TWO 

The prep sessions that I was privy to attending were as interesting as the discussion on the day. Jumping from big-picture strategy to quick-win implementation discussions shows that this agility is what sets apart the good from the great. Often the way forward is incremental, it’s persistence that pays off. But there are moments when it may be important to stop, change course and disrupt.  

Bradley pointed out that 70% of digital transformation projects fail (McKinsey 2022), and with some additional hurdles such as regulatory compliance, investment managers don’t have an easy task.  

Proofs of Concept (POC) and Proofs of Value (POV) were mentioned frequently, and it makes sense of course, to move from theoretical proposals to a more hands-on demonstration of the proposed new way of working.  

Innovating for ROI (Return on Investment) 

As the audience started thinking about lunch, we had Dimitri Tsopanakos from Deloitte challenging us to fuel the AI transformation opportunities. He urged us to look outside of the industry, for example Ribblegpt. RibbleGPT is an AI powered bike builder, that allows you to speak to the bot, you tell it what you need, and the information is then used to design your own customised bicycle using a 3D printing engine. Dimitri pointed out that AI provides many opportunities for success and the time is right to immerse ourselves in this topic. He left us with 4 steps to setting ourselves up for success and we’ll be publishing more on this topic in due course

Taking a break for lunch  

At lunch I managed to meet most of our clients in attendance and it was good to hear about all their different job roles and focus areas first-hand. I realised that most clients could not wait to hear from Grant, our associate Head of Product who kicked off the afternoon activities. 

Grant Swart

Grant Swart – Head of Product, Kurtosys

Kurtosys product roadmap – the real clincher  

I also learnt that most clients arrived at the client day with their specific initiative top of mind, and of course not all initiatives are the same. The stage of the project, the size of the company, and the specific pain-points often differ. The phrase ‘product roadmap’ kept on coming up.  

Grant Swart, our associate Head of Product kicked off the afternoon activities by outlining how Kurtosys is moving toward a more strategic evolution of our product roadmap 

Our vision is to be a product led company with an industry leading consumer grade product for investment management reporting and digital solutions”  

Our strategy to achieve this is built on getting clients on board our product journey earlier in the process and to balance product capability and usability. In simple terms, our roadmap will be determined by on-going consultation with the industry and two-way communication with our clients. This will include more frequent workshops, sharing designs and may even start including a voting mechanic.  

Our team is also hard at work putting together a more formalised product catalogue, that will be useful in showing features that already exist but are not always known to our clients.  

The product roadmap will also be made available to clients – to be accessed at any time.  

The marketing team is working increasingly closely with the product team and it’s rewarding to see how our mutual understanding is building our brand and making our solutions more user-friendly. Sidenote – we have a dedicated client relations marketer in our team to support the marketing and communications efforts of the relationship managers, the client success managers and the product team. If you would like to reach out to Maxine Narramore, feel free to do so.  

Interactive breakout sessions  

We moved into a different room for the  interactive breakout sessions hosted by Grant, Natalie (Head of Client Service), Pat (Chief Product officer / Chief Revenue Officer) Hanri (Senior Product Manager) Alex (Head of Client & Partner Enablement), Mano (Head of Project Management) Harry (Information Systems & Security Officer) and Gerhard (Information Security Officer) 

Topics included website content workflow (translations, workflow, content meta, expiry), performance improvements (configuring the new Cache plugin), and a Q&A session on anything related to Portals. 

From investor reporting to digital experiences, Grant highlighted a few use cases and explained how to leverage the platform to create solutions for the end clients.  

Grant Swart, client day

Pat and Hanri showed their table how to use Studio for Office and Studio for InDesign to build and generate reports with some use cases to show the diverse types of reports and how to automate document generation.  

Document distribution was also covered with a review of the upcoming advanced email distribution feature. 

The client enablement team hosted an open Q&A workshop session focusing on popular features already available at no additional cost or technical expertise. Use case examples were provided as well as an assessment for attendees to see how much of our platform they are currently using. The risk, security and compliance team were keen to give an update of ISO implementations to augment the current ISO 27001 certification and engaging an auditor to provide SOC2 Type 2 reporting. Since this may have been a bit too technical for some, and there were so many other options available, attendance was low, and we’ll share this update in writing soon for distribution to our clients’ Infosec teams.   

Alex Dixon client day

The overwhelming feedback was that these  sessions were particularly useful and that we should dedicate more time for these breakout sessions at the next Client Day. Since it is not possible for all clients to attend these sessions in London in-person, we are also planning to host more of these break-out sessions around certain solutions or topics in webinar format. 

We were pleased with the turnout of clients and the open communication and feedback that we received. We are grateful for the insights from our industry experts that took the time to speak at our event. I am also impressed by the passion, input and preparation of our Kurtosys team.  

Most of all, I appreciate the value of real connections and the role that in-person interactions play in making those connections more than ever before. We left the client day with new insights, renewed energy and brimming with ideas. We are already busy planning our next webinar and client day!