Ridgeline Wants to Help You Love Your Data Again

April 27, 2021
Alison Stewart
 min read

Ridgeline has spoken to hundreds of asset managers over the past few years about the efficiencies and inefficiencies of how they run their businesses — conversations that have been critical for building a product that puts real-world business needs and customer satisfaction above all else. Among the interesting findings is the love-hate relationship with everyone’s favorite data workhorse, Excel. What countless conversations revealed is that while a life without Excel seems impossible to imagine, asset managers recognize that running their highly-specialized business with a data tool not explicitly built for that purpose is less than ideal.

For instance, say you need to see performance by security and sector. In Excel, you would download the raw data, create a pivot table, and analyze to try to understand what is driving performance. But what if that functionality was already built into the software you’re using for everything else in your day? You wouldn’t have to take other steps — or even leave the window you’re in — to see what’s impacting performance.

Even among the loyalists who have spent years learning how to become what essentially amounts to Excel programmers, there’s a sneaking suspicion that there must be a better way.

Spreadsheet Gymnastics

Ever come across spreadsheets that take so long to open you can grab a cup of coffee while you wait?

Spreadsheets embedded with so many lookups and formulas that sourcing an error in a cell becomes a day-long exercise?

Documents whose original owner left the firm long ago and everyone else just crosses their fingers that it will keep working?

If you’re nodding, then you, friend, have been performing spreadsheet gymnastics. Subjecting Excel to convoluted twists and turns with a higher degree of difficulty than it was designed for. Creating a labyrinth of connected documents more complicated than the original problem they set out to solve. Emailing static files with an inability to compare changes across versions or understand the evolution of data within the document. Yet despite these known limitations, Excel remains king for many in the finance world who need to contain, manage, and manipulate a lot of information.

From client onboarding to trade execution to accounting and performance, data drives all facets of investment management. So while the historical reliance on Excel is understandable, it masks a bigger issue. It’s the data within the software — not the software itself — that holds the power to drive performance, differentiation, and profitability. So what if you had a data tool that was built precisely for the ways a modern asset manager needed to use it?

Ridgeline’s Data Difference

Every part of Ridgeline’s enterprise platform takes a fresh approach, including data. That’s because Ridgeline had the unique opportunity to start from scratch. Not being beholden to decades-old legacy systems that have been patched and repackaged as “modern” has proven liberating — and beneficial for creating the right solution for the fluid problem set facing today’s asset managers.

Most other systems are burdened by siloed architecture and require batched processes, integrations, and emailing spreadsheets to transfer and manage data across teams. The user pays the price in wasted time, inefficient processing, and lack of clarity around what the “truth” is.

By contrast, Ridgeline technology includes a single book of record, which allows for seamless communication and a unified source of data across the front-, middle- and back-office. An accurate, firm-wide book of record eliminates the need for separate accounting, investment and performance books of record. Not only can you be certain that your data is accurate and clean, Ridgeline lets you easily sort, filter, and group information more intuitively to arrive at answers quickly.

Unifying all data for everyone at the firm to easily access, understand, and draw insights allows investment managers to unlock the power of their information in a whole new way.

The Investment Management Industry Finally Gets the Tech It Deserves

Ridgeline is confident enough to understand that if we’re doing our job right, users basically don’t notice us. Because using an interactive, intuitive tool built for a specialized task removes frustrating inefficiencies and allows you to stay focused and productive while the technology fades into the background where it belongs.

Here are a few specific ways running your business on purpose-built software benefits you (and then you can go back to not noticing us):

  • Spotlight the answers — Our API-first approach means anyone on the Ridgeline platform can access data directly instead of having to use Excel as a mediator across functions. With near-real-time, accurate data in a modern user interface and built-in global search, answers are easy to find. Having one-click access to all the data within Ridgeline — everything from audit trails to data-rich reports — means you can streamline workflows and accelerate the analytics that fuel decision making.
  • Say “no thanks” to thankless tasks — A single source of data provides consistency in information and reporting across the platform. Gone are thankless tasks such as manually reconciling ‘ABC Company, Inc.’ and ‘ABC Company Inc’ in two separate reports generated from two different systems. Instead of trying to make sense of spreadsheet tables of different security identifiers used by different vendors, you can focus on more value-add tasks (AKA just about anything).
  • Make clients happier — Ridgeline understands the importance of client onboarding and management for building trust with investors. That’s why we’ve built our client management function to be fully integrated, removing the need for separate project management spreadsheets and countless internal email follow ups. A 360-degree view of client data and accelerated workflows brings your investor’s needs to the forefront and allows you the bandwidth to give them the requisite attention.
  • Save the aspirin, no more upgrade headaches — Ridgeline is a cloud-native platform. There are a lot of perks inherent to that for our customers, but one that we hear sighs of relief around is that upgrades happen seamlessly instead of via painful system upgrade interruptions. Continuous deployment from the cloud removes the cost and operational overhead of software updates and lets you take advantage of new features as soon as they’re released.

In short, the right tool will get you out of your spreadsheet labyrinth to unleash the power — and value — hiding in those cells, columns, and rows. (And yes, you can still export into Excel!)

Data is just the beginning. If your firm wants to know how Ridgeline offers a competitive advantage in the evolving investment management industry, please say hi at hello@ridgelineapps.com.

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