All Financial Workflows by syh10093

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									The People-Ready Business

Case Study

                     Thomson Financial
                     Financial Firm Improves Portfolio Software, Streamlines
                     Customer Workflows


Over the past 20 years, portfolio managers at hundreds of firms have relied
on the Thomson Financial PORTIA system to manage investment portfolios.
However, as the pace of financial markets has accelerated, customers have
begun to look for ways to automate process-intensive tasks. Thomson
Financial responded by creating a new, graphical interface for its PORTIA
software, to allow users to customize their own navigation and workflows.
Customers can automate common workflow steps to dramatically increase
their efficiency, which also increases data accuracy by reducing human
intervention.

OVERVIEW
                                             Solution
Country or Region
                                             Thomson Financial used Microsoft®
United States
                                             development tools to create a user-friendly
Industry                                     interface to PORTIA, called PORTIA
Financial services                           Workspace. Users can now create
                                             customized workflows that improve
Customer Profile                                                                               “PORTIA Workspace is
Thomson Financial provides information and   productivity.
                                                                                               helping us win new business
technology solutions to the financial                                                          because of its innovative
                                             Benefits
community. Part of the Thomson Corpora-        Increased productivity from automated          approach to optimizing the
tion, Thomson Financial has 9,300               workflows                                      user’s experience with the
employees and annual revenues of U.S.$2        Increased data accuracy                        system. People want to use
billion.                                       New business from more competitive             PORTIA.”
Business Situation                              products                                       Christy Bremner,
Thomson Financial wanted to simplify the                                                       Global Managing Director of the
use of its powerful PORTIA portfolio                                                           PORTIA Business Unit
                                                                                               Thomson Financial
management product, which required that
customers navigate through menus to
accomplish routine tasks.




The People-Ready Business Case Study                                                       1
The People-Ready Business


Situation
                                                  Segall Bryant & Hamill, a Chicago
Thomson Financial is a U.S.$2 billion             investment management firm
provider of information and technology            (www.sbhic.com), is one Thomson Financial
solutions to the worldwide financial              customer that uses PORTIA extensively.
community. One of its most popular                “PORTIA is a powerful product, and we’ve
products is Thomson Financial PORTIA, a           used it since our company’s inception in
powerful portfolio management system that         1994. But it’s a little intimidating when you
automates trading, analysis, and operations       first encounter it,” explains Russ Martin,
for more than 300 asset managers in 40            Senior Financial Systems Architect for
countries—a system that is used to manage         Segall Bryant & Hamill. “It doesn’t follow the
more than $15 trillion in assets. PORTIA is       software standards that people are used to
used daily by many of Thomson Financial           seeing today, such as toolbars and buttons.”
customers. But because it was written 20
years ago as a menu-driven system, tasks          It took several weeks for new Segall Bryant
often required multiple steps and frequent        & Hamill employees to become fluent in
human intervention.                               using PORTIA. “I would have loved to have
                                                  been able to give new employees a quick
“As the pace of financial markets has             orientation on the software and then have
quickened, our customers don’t have the           them be fairly self-sufficient,” Martin says.
time or patience to click through multiple        But, as the person at the firm tasked with
menus to accomplish routine tasks such as         deploying and supporting software solutions,
running a report,” explains Christy Bremner,      Martin dealt with numerous support calls.
Global Managing Director of the PORTIA            Even experienced users had trouble with              “The previous two-hour
Business Unit at Thomson Financial. “We           infrequently used tasks such as importing            process of setting up a new
wanted to support the optimization of our         portfolio data for new clients.                      client should now take just 30
customers’ workflows and let them                                                                      minutes or less. This is the
customize the software to meet the needs of       “Our portfolio administrators had to sit down        kind of efficiency gain that will
different users in their organizations,”          with a paper manual and navigate very                allow us to easily handle new
Bremner says. “Workflow needs vary from           involved procedures,” Martin says. “It could         growth.”
person to person and firm to firm, and            take up to two hours to set up one new
customization is very important to our                                                                 Russ Martin,
                                                  client. When we were looking at growing the          Senior Financial Systems Architect
customers.”                                       business, this was a major obstacle.”                Segall Bryant & Hamill

By giving customers the ability to automate
the many steps of tasks they perform, run         Solution
them as a workflow, and customize
                                                  Thomson Financial wanted to figure out how
workflows for different roles, Thomson
                                                  to keep the powerful functionality of its
Financial would help customers be far more
                                                  PORTIA software but simplify its use. “The
efficient, while it eliminated inaccuracies.
                                                  objective was not to overhaul PORTIA,
“The more things that humans need to do,
                                                  because it did its job well, but to create a
the more opportunity there is for error,”
                                                  new way to interact with it,” Bremner says.
Bremner says. “For example, if a person
                                                  Because Thomson Financial is a Microsoft
types an incorrect price for a trade, the trade
                                                  partner, Bremner’s staff used Microsoft®
won’t go through, and the customer is
                                                  technologies to refresh the application.
exposed to financial loss and the risk of a
                                                  “When we saw the new workflow and
failed trade settlement.”



The People-Ready Business Case Study                                                               2
The People-Ready Business


presentation technologies built into             buttons that apply directly to them, helping
Microsoft’s latest development environment,      them get through their days far more
we realized how much faster we could do          efficiently.”
this job than even a year ago,” Bremner
says. “It would have taken us five times
longer to do this job using other
                                                 Benefits
technologies.”                                   Thomson Financial customers are now able
                                                 to work more efficiently to keep pace with
In fact, it took just six months to create       fast-moving financial markets, while staying
PORTIA Workspace, the new graphical,             more competitive by keeping costs down.
workflow-enabled interface to PORTIA.            They are also increasing data accuracy, a
Using the new software, customers can            natural result of automating process-
easily automate the features and functions       intensive financial workflows. Thomson
that they use on a regular basis. They can       Financial is using PORTIA Workspace to
add buttons for tasks such as adding a           win more business in an efficiency-
transaction, adding a security, or switching     obsessed market.
to another application and can then use
these buttons to move quickly through the
old menu system. To create a workflow,           Increased Productivity from
                                                 Automated Workflows
users simply link buttons, and the software
                                                 “As we grow our business, we have to make
automates both the human and system
                                                 our current staff as efficient as we can,”
steps, such as running a nightly transaction
                                                 Martin says. “We should only have to add
batch.
                                                 staff because there’s more substantive
                                                                                                      Executive Biography
                                                 work, not because there’s more bureaucratic
An investment firm can configure the                                                                  Christy Bremner has been with
                                                 work. The previous two-hour process of
workspace for particular categories of users,                                                         Thomson for more than 13 years.
                                                 setting up a new client should now take just         Since 2003, she has been responsible
and individual users can further configure
                                                 30 minutes or less. This is the kind of              for advancing PORTIA technically and
their desktops to their needs. The
                                                 efficiency gain that will allow us to easily         functionally and expanding its global
operations staff uses the new software to
                                                 handle new growth.”                                  franchise. Before joining Thomson,
easily monitor system activities such as                                                              Bremner headed the institutional
process and workflow performance.                                                                     services group at a Colorado bank
                                                 Training and support needs will drop sharply
                                                                                                      trust. During most of the 1990s,
                                                 with PORTIA Workspace. Martin estimates
“A diverse group of people uses this                                                                  Bremner was in business development
                                                 that users will be up and running within a
software in our organization—portfolio                                                                and strategic roles for financial
                                                 week, versus the three to four weeks                 technology products.
managers, portfolio administrators, and
                                                 currently required. “Using the new software,
operations people,” Martin explains. “They
                                                 our users should be able to automate many
all have very different needs. Portfolio
                                                 steps that used to require their involvement,”
managers are monitoring the performance
                                                 Martin says. “They can focus on their jobs,
of clients’ portfolios. Administrators need to
                                                 customize their work environment, and the
access information about specific clients
                                                 software handles the workflow. It should
and investment reports. And operations
                                                 also simplify user support, so I can spend
people are more concerned with running
                                                 my time developing and improving
transaction reports for groups of users. It’s
                                                 processes.”
very useful for them to customize PORTIA
Workspace to do their individual jobs better.
                                                 Martin and his staff will also be able to
Instead of navigating a series of menus,
                                                 reduce development time on new projects.
employees can create series of workflow



The People-Ready Business Case Study                                                              3
The People-Ready Business


“We write a lot of custom software, to create                                                                             Customer Details:
reports and other financial tools, which often                                                                            Thomson Financial
needs to pull information from PORTIA,” he                                                                                Phone: (203) 539-8000
says. “Now, our developers can take                                                                                       Web site: www.thomson.com

advantage of the automated workflows to
simplify coding efforts.”                                                                                                 The People-Ready Business.
                                                                                                                          A people-ready business is one
Increased Data Accuracy                                                                                                   where people can apply their
In the investment business, inaccurate data                                                                               unique skills, insights, and
can result in a failed trade, a dissatisfied                                                                              experience to create new products
customer, and a lot of expensive correction                                                                               and services, work responsively
                                                                                                                          with customers and partners, and
work. “With PORTIA being one of the central
                                                                                                                          drive operational excellence in
information systems of our company, the
                                                                                                                          every aspect of the business.
accuracy of its data has a tremendous
                                                                                                                          People-ready businesses support
impact on the business as a whole,” Martin                                                                                people with knowledge, practices,
says. “A seemingly minor mistake has the                                                                                  and tools so that they can add the
potential to affect everyone from the                                                                                     extra value that helps differentiate
portfolio managers to the operations staff                                                                                successful organizations in a
and can lead to trading errors, incorrect                                                                                 competitive, fast-moving global
portfolio returns, or even the need to                                                                                    economy.
regenerate client statements. With such high
stakes, we do everything we can to ensure                                                                                 www.microsoft.com/peopleready
data accuracy. With this new software, we
have a very effective tool in meeting these
demands.”                                                                                                                 Software & Services
                                                                                                                          Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0
New Business from More                                                                                                    Microsoft Visual Studio® 2005
Competitive Product                                                                                                       Team Edition
With existing customers such as Segall                                                                                    Windows Server® 2003
Bryant & Hamill eagerly embracing the new                                                                                 Microsoft BizTalk® Server 2006
efficiencies that they are discovering with                                                                               Microsoft SQL® Server 2005
PORTIA Workspace, Thomson Financial is
busy winning new customers with the
software. “PORTIA Workspace is helping us
win new business because of its innovative
approach to optimizing the user’s
experience with the system. People want to
use PORTIA,” Bremner says. “We’ve
increased our pipeline of new leads and are
more competitive. Nothing else on the
market comes close to this product’s ability
to customize workflows.”




This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.
Document published June 2007




The People-Ready Business Case Study                                                                                      4

								
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