Ridgeline recently held our annual Base Camp conference in Lake Tahoe. Almost 200 asset management executives, Ridgeline alliance partners, and Ridgeliners came together to discuss Digital Transformation and Change Management in the asset management industry.
One of our keynote speakers, Lori Garver, the former Deputy Administrator of NASA, told our audience, “The only way to not have risk is to not fly.” Lori has been an incredible agent of change for NASA by ushering in a new era of efficiency and innovation with the commercialization of space exploration (e.g., SpaceX and Blue Horizon).
Ridgeline’s customers are doing the same for the investment management industry. As pioneers and agents of change in their industry, they’re replacing software their firms have used for 20-30 years with our modern, industry cloud platform.
Their excitement and the reception for Ridgeline’s product and progress was palpable at Base Camp. One of the best parts of my job as head of Ridgeline Customer Success is interacting with our customers, who have significant influence into what we build and why we build it.
Making our customers successful gives me, my team, and our colleagues at Ridgeline tremendous satisfaction. I’d like to share some of our customers’ comments presented on stage during Base Camp because they are reflective of how we are digitally transforming the entire asset management industry.
Why have firms that were on the same systems for decades decided to make such a significant decision to switch? We heard that resolving the frustration and inefficiency stemming from their legacy tech clearly justifies replacing their trading, accounting, reporting systems, and more with Ridgeline.
“I'm very much looking forward to the workflow features. No more million spreadsheets for checklists, no more user limitations. It's just going to open so many doors.”
“The first thing maybe worth mentioning is no longer fighting over legacy system user seats. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to get something done on a Saturday and being locked out. With Ridgeline, everybody has access to the system.”
“We didn't want to go with just another vendor after having been in the industry for 20-plus years. It is not often that you get the chance to be on the ground level with a founder with a great track record like Dave Duffield. So that was really exciting for us.”
“The reason we chose Ridgeline is because of the same values that Dave Duffield spoke to earlier: customer satisfaction, integrity, and fun. We felt that from the Ridgeline team and that’s what we also value. So it just felt like a partnership that we couldn't pass up.”
What’s In It for Them
Part and parcel to making such a significant decision is the ROI the firms can achieve. Here are comments from our customers outlining the benefit for their firm.
“We make a change to a transaction or anything in operations, and then we run a report three seconds later and all the updated information is there. We don't have to do something in multiple places. Having everything in one place is really great and efficient and saves a lot of time.”
“Everything is dynamic, it's a really instant update all across views and everybody gets to view the latest data everywhere. The real-time data is definitely huge.”
“Having a system where everything is in one place and real time is amazing. No more import exports. Imagine being able to provide a PM an appraisal after trading — what a concept to not have to always wait until the next day to see stuff.”
Ridgeline also engenders enthusiasm and excitement for game-changing features enabled by our cloud-based system that are just not possible with legacy systems. Here are comments from customers across a variety of roles about their favorite features.
Feedback from Relationship Managers:
“Something I've tried to use more of is the global search feature, which really is great. Being able to ‘create favorites’ from heavily used views and saving custom views is also great. Our legacy system was just a gray screen forcing you to go back and run a report for everything. It is so nice not to have to do this anymore.”
“We have hundreds of custom fields primarily because of the limitations of our current portfolio accounting system and the reporting needs that we need. And so what's been nice with working with the Ridgeline team is they've been able to help us consolidate a lot of those custom fields just from the out of the box options that Ridgeline offers. And then when we do still need custom fields, we can implement them into the client management part of Ridgeline and then bring them down into reports.”
Feedback from Operations Users:
“Saving custom views is great because we have certain clients that are very specific about their month end performance report. It looks different from their quarterly report. So now I'm not having to remember which columns to add or remove. I just switch between the saved views. It’s great.”
“With Ridgeline, whether you want to change the custom view, move the columns around, it doesn't matter if you're in performance or portfolio appraisal — it all feels very consistent.”
“It’s amazing because I could never memorize all the short names that you're trying to look for. So that's a huge time saver. If you're looking for a report that you've saved, you can just type anything into the global search feature that pulls through as well on the favorite bar. So that's really easy.”
“Another one of my favorites is the Operations Dashboard. I'm getting into the habit now to start my day with that dashboard, it's a great summary of everything happening in operations. So you have a summary if the pricing ran properly, all the jobs in the transmission hub, withdrawals, contributions, corporate actions, everything.”
Feedback from Traders:
“We also trade outside of our main trade order management with some brokers. For example, we have a Morgan Stanley wrap relationship where it was about a seven, eight step process manually done before. Now it's two, three clicks, nothing really manual and then you just watch it and it's a joy to watch how fast it is in Ridgeline. Now that saves us several minutes doesn't sound like much, but when you constantly do it, it adds up.”
“Another [benefit] is our UMA relationships. Ridgeline developed an automatic job that runs when we set up across the board trades. We just have to upload that to the UMA platform — it’s easy.”
“The user interface on the algos and dark pools is also great. Ridgeline updates all the brokers overnight as opposed to us having to download it and install it manually, every broker separately. So it's been a great experience.”
“The import/export process is eliminated between the portfolio accounting system and the OMS’, which we had to do several times a day. Anytime there was a contribution or a change or a withdrawal, then I have to export/import it into the OMS. That's gone with Ridgeline’s one system.”
Conversions tend to frighten asset managers based on a negative prior experience. We do everything possible in Ridgeline Customer Success to make our implementations efficient and refreshingly easy.
“Ridgeline managed all the parallel transactions and activity in Ridgeline and then we checked the data accuracy in both our legacy system and Ridgeline. It was kind of like a drum roll because Ridgeline did the work first, and then they got us excited to do it. I couldn't wait to go live.”
“With Ridgeline, we never got a B team. We trusted the team throughout the process.”
“The implementation has been surprisingly easy for me. This has been my first big conversion from start to finish. And by ‘big’ I mean that we are retiring five legacy systems when we go live with Ridgeline. It's testament to the Ridgeline team and how dedicated and knowledgeable they are. And their energy level — it just keeps me excited.”
“Once we saw our real data in the ‘early look’ tenant, that's when things really changed. Even if it's only twenty-five portfolios, all of a sudden you're just thinking, whoa. You start to see the end of the road and here we go.”
In summary, we love when our customers speak on Ridgeline’s behalf. Our customers did that in abundance at Ridgeline’s second annual Base Camp conference. With multiple customers now live in production on Ridgeline, and many more going live later this year and next year, I cannot wait for our growing community to be together at next year’s Base Camp. If you want to join us next year, please reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up time to talk.