Vendor Innovation: What's in It for Me?


I think my children are pretty great.  Most of the time they are generous, thankful, and gracious but like anyone’s kids, they have their moments where it is all about them.  I get it. I too hate to be inconvenienced and like to do things on my own terms so when I say we have to go to Whole Foods and they pitch a fit and ask, “If we go, can we get a treat?” (like they have a choice), I typically give in and let them get something. Now you can judge me and think I am spoiling my kids but, in my opinion, if you sometimes wonder “what’s in it for me?” it doesn’t make you a selfish person, it’s sort of a natural human reaction. 

In the asset management industry, you can’t have a conversation these days without innovative technology being at the forefront.  I spend the majority of my time speaking to software vendors and service providers who don’t have to be asked to cover their cloud strategy, their investment in RPA, AI or machine learning.  The thing about technology advancements by providers is that the benefits are not always visible to their asset manager clients.  For example, everyone gets that the use of the cloud enables scalability but when a vendor or service provider announces they are moving from a private to public cloud, the benefit to the end client is not always clear. Likewise, a client may get that RPA provides further automation within the vendor or service provider, but the automation is not always visible to the asset manager.

These types of technologies provide great benefit to the vendor or service provider in terms of economies of scale and subsequent cost savings.  So, they should be decreasing client costs, right?  The answer is often no.

So, what’s in it for their clients?  While providers are not decreasing their license or service costs, the benefit to their clients is being passed on through further investment in their products that will allow them to innovate without having to charge the client more to support R&D. We should see some awesome upgrades in software offerings and expansion of services at an accelerating rate in the coming years…and hopefully this can be done without significant increases in license and service costs.

If holding out for long-term developments is not enough incentive, consider your provider a source of expertise on leading edge technologies. Few firms have the capacity to run their own innovation lab, so gleaning insights from a provider is the next best thing.