Becoming a Data-Driven Organisation

As investment firms turn to data to help inform and improve investment and operational decision-making, they need to take a logistical, rather than tactical, approach to data management.

Marc Rubenfeld, Head of Sales EMEA


Evidence-based management has become the new normal across businesses as organisations in every sector are looking to improve decision-making and, ultimately, the client experience. This isn’t necessarily new, but what has changed is that today they’re leveraging facts and data instead of relying purely on the gut instincts of their workforce. This has been made possible because technology has evolved to a point where the client experience can be substantially improved by utilising and combining data in new and unique ways. For example, Uber has combined lots of different types of data together to create an entirely new client experience and business model.

At a high-level, this has created a new breed of organisation: the data-driven organisation. A data-driven organisation fundamentally relies on data to conduct business and optimise the client experience. They typically display several characteristics, including a relentless focus on measuring results and continuous improvement, coupled with frictionless self-service capabilities available to clients. To achieve these characteristics, the value of data must be baked into the organisation’s DNA.

Organisations will need to become data-driven if they want to remain competitive. Like countless technological advances in the past, if your organisation does not embrace the potential of data, it will begin a painful journey to irrelevance. Imagine a business that did not embrace electricity or the telephone; this is the same prospect facing businesses that fail to embrace data today.

The investment industry is no different; firms are more focused on data than ever before as a means to rethink both the client experience and how to perform day-to-day business functions. Specifically, investment managers are undertaking transformation programmes to put data at the heart of their organisation in order to realise the benefits of being data-driven.

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Meet…Jayaram Iyer

Eagle’s newest data management engineering leader brings over two decades of experience from Amazon, Microsoft, and other leading technology companies. Jay Iyer shares what drew him to Eagle, as well as his views on opportunities for financial services companies to best leverage the cloud and the vast amounts of data available at their fingertips.


You’re joining Eagle after having worked at some of the most well known technology companies in the world. Reflecting on your background, could you discuss how your background will influence your work here at Eagle?

Most recently, I served as the Engineering Leader of Amazon’s Alexa Communications platform. I also spent time as Head of Engineering for AWS DynamoDB Storage services, and before that, led Amazon’s Listings and Catalog team. I also spent a considerable part of my career at Microsoft and served as Director of the company’s Caradigm healthcare-informatics joint venture. All of this, in different ways, will influence my work at Eagle.

My work at AWS DynamoDB, for instance, entailed helping stand up and manage a petabyte-scale, low latency, multi-tenant no-sql database in the cloud. It can handle literally millions of transactions per second, so when we talk about scalability, this is what we have in mind. But this experience with distributed systems and high-volume data processing is critical to what we’re doing at Eagle.

I think my experience around data management and data lakes will also prove valuable. At Microsoft, to name another example, we developed and brought to market the Caradigm Data Lake and Analytics platform. This is a highly scalable, fault-tolerant, big data aggregation and analytics engine. It’s integrated with the Hadoop open-source ecosystem; incorporates advanced security features such as encryption; and leverages a full-stack, read-write, apps-development platform with open REST-based APIs. So this experience is very relevant to what I’ll be working on at Eagle.And finally, the Machine Learning experience from my work on the Alexa Comms platform, most recently, and on Amazon’s Marketplace Listings Platform before that, will be critical.

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Meet…Jackie Colella

With more than two decades of experience from Wall Street and consulting, Jackie Colella shares what her new role overseeing the client experience entails and her perspective around how to define success.


You initially joined Eagle last year in a project management capacity, helping clients adopt Eagle’s V17 software release. Today, your focus is overseeing the client experience—a role that is seemingly unique from positions traditionally encountered on Wall Street or within fintech. Can you discuss the encompassing responsibilities and how you’re approaching this new role?

Working directly with clients and providing support as they adopted the V17 release early on positioned me well to fully comprehend the significance of the client experience to Eagle’s success; and then, how to help facilitate alignment between all areas of Eagle’s business and the objectives of the financial institutions we serve. Accordingly, this role—which resides within Eagle’s Office of the Client—builds on the company’s value proposition to collaborate closely with clients and create business-led solutions.

In a lot of ways, my position is comparable to that of a cruise director. I’m not sure if anyone remembers the TV series The Love Boat, but the cruise director is expected to know all of the ins and outs of the ship; they are tasked with orchestrating the staff, ensuring the right people are where they need to be; and they serve as a guide to the passengers, helping to shepherd guests accordingly so they can enjoy all that the boat has to offer. Similarly, the customer experience isn’t just managing client relationships—it’s about raising awareness of what Eagle can offer through our software, strategic alliances, and other offerings, like managed services. By knowing our clients intimately, we can proactively help them identify the optimal solution.

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Addressing the Challenges of Buy-Side Data Management in Australia

Joel Kornblum recaps his panel from Eagle’s recent Data Management & Performance Analytics event, sharing the opportunities and challenges facing the investment industry as it takes control of its data.

Joel Kornblum, Global Head of Strategic Alliances & Consultant Relations


With assets exceeding $1.9 trillion, Australia is home to the world’s fourth largest market for pension assets, according to a study published last year by Willis Towers Watson. The same study highlighted that the country has enjoyed the fastest growth rate over the past twenty years, reflecting Australia’s embrace of innovation—first, in creating the superannuation system in the early 1990s and, also, in assuming leadership positions in developing asset classes, such as infrastructure. Yet, despite the size of the market, the state of data management in Australia is still evolving and maturing. The relatively young state of data management in the country has created a major opportunity for both superannuation funds and independent asset managers to review and implement best-in-class solutions. In fact, Eagle has seen considerable interest in our continuum of solutions to support the evolving data management needs of the market. Australia not only has the opportunity to catch up to the rest of the world, but undoubtedly leapfrog other regions while embracing cloud-technology and managed services to bring new capabilities to bear.

Eagle recently sponsored a Data Management and Performance Analytics event in Sydney where I hosted a panel entitled, “Addressing the Challenges of Buy-Side Data Management,” with a special focus on the Australian market and experience. Those who participated on the panel included: Brad Farrell, Manager, Data and Analytics Solutions, Colonial First State Global Asset Management; John DiBiase, Managing Director, Shoreline Consulting; and Alexis Walker, Director, Asset Servicing Australia, BNY Mellon.

After arriving at a common definition of data management, the panelists shared their insights into various challenges that are impacting the industry’s ability to plan for, manage, and deliver timely fit-for-purpose data to meet business needs.

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Performance Measurement: Ripe for Disruption

A view on how the industry might evolve, particularly as performance professionals advocate for change.

Mark Goodey, Director & Senior Principal of Investment Analytics


The following is a summary of the article Performance Measurement: Ripe for Disruption that was published in the Fall 2018 Journal of Performance Measurement.

The thought of technological disruption in performance measurement generally makes professionals in the space a bit nervous. Rather than fearing change, however, performance teams have the opportunity to be agents of disruption and drive material advances that not only emphasize and augment the value of performance reporting internally, but also improve the customer experience for end clients. This is why the most accomplished performance professionals today are working closely with their software and solution providers to advance and evolve the function.

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Riding the Transformation Wave

Mal Cullen, Eagle’s Chief Executive Officer, reflects on 2018, highlighting Eagle’s considerable progress in its deployment-model transformation


Thomas Friedman, in his book “Thank You For Being Late,” identified 2007 as the precise year that technology began to devour the rest of the economy. This was the year when consumers likely bought their first iPhone or created a Facebook account. It wasn’t obvious at the time, but a decade later, it’s plain to see that beyond a radically new user experience, these innovations created an insatiable demand for data—and consequently, a need to store, manage, analyze and protect this information.

Not coincidentally, 2007 marked the first year in which Eagle ACCESSSM, our secure private cloud, became the preferred deployment platform for clients. This shift represented a step-function change in how clients engaged with Eagle. Again, this may have seemed revolutionary at the time, but we now recognize the extent to which this move is allowing organizations to holistically re-imagine their business model.

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Q&A: Supporting APAC Clients and Expanding the Eagle Business

David Ingleson, Eagle’s new Head of APAC, shares his perspectives on Eagle’s development, the market trends he’s seeing and the opportunities to extend Eagle’s presence in the region

Q: Could you please tell us about your background at Eagle and how have your previous role as head of service delivery has helped equip you for your role as Head of APAC?
A: I originally started my journey at Eagle 14 years ago in our London office where I was focused on implementations and consulting on the Eagle Accounting solution. I then moved from London to Singapore in July of 2010 for what was supposed to be a one year secondment to work on a specific project, but my family and I fell in love with the city and eight years later, we’re still here.

My background of working on the implementation and service side of the business has given me a great perspective on the challenges that our clients face; be that the business challenges they are looking to address through their technology, the demands placed on them by their own clients or the internal challenges that inevitably surface. However, in APAC in particular, the implementation team also tends to get involved early in the sales process, so I tend to follow a client’s progress right through from sales to onboarding.

There are a number of reasons for that, but clients in Asia tend to focus on the details of implementation, including how long it will take, how it will be phased, who will be involved and how much it will cost from the outset.

If you look at the main change to my role, I’ve now also assumed ultimate responsibility for business development, sales and client support, but with my background it has been a relatively easy transition to make.  Read More…

Meet…Barbie Connell Spencer

Eagle’s newest Insurance Accounting Lead, Barbie Connell Spencer, brings a wealth of experience navigating legacy system conversions. She also loves a challenge—a characteristic cultivated during her service in the US Navy, professional career choices and her sense of adventure in pursuing outdoor activities. 

Tell us a little about your background and your journey that lead you to Eagle?
I definitely have a unique background! After my time in the US Navy, I spent time working in IT at Intel as well as several public accounting firms. At the same time, I continued to achieve my secondary education in accounting. These experiences in the early phase of my career were critical in preparing me to consult on the installation of accounting solutions. I eventually accepted a position at MassMutual, where I would then spend the next 18 years of my career. Although I initially started out as a programmer, I gained experience learning all aspects of the insurance accounting industry, and was hooked.

Investment accounting in the insurance vertical is quite different from traditional accounting. Industry-specific rules and regulations create quite a bit of nuance, so substantial experience and a deep understanding of how business users may seek to leverage software is critical to becoming a true subject matter expert.

My ability to gain experience across a range of functions while working for my last employer, MassMutual, proved to be tremendously advantageous in building my skillset. I eventually moved away from IT and transitioned into a role overseeing investment data for the company’s investment accounting system and its corporate ledger. When MassMutual made the decision to move to Eagle, I had the opportunity to learn the Eagle system and become an expert. I served as the data-conversion lead during the implementation, so I’m well-versed in the challenges insurance companies face when transitioning from a legacy system. I also gained an appreciation for the strategy required to navigate an implementation, and have a true passion for this kind of work. After I earned my Master’s Degree, I was excited to return to my consulting roots and begin this new phase of my career at Eagle.  Read More…

Industry thought leadership from Siliski and Bradford leads to a world first by Eagle Investment Systems

In the first quarter of 2018 the Advisory Board of The Journal of Performance Measurement® (JPM) announced that the recipients of the annual Peter O. Dietz Award were Daryl Bradford, CFA, CIPM of Acadian Asset Management and Daniel Siliski, CAIA of Boston Partners Global Investors. The advisory board panel selected “Performance Drawdowns in Asset Management: Extending Drawdown Analysis to Active Returns” as one among a select group of articles chosen to recognize excellence in performance measurement literature. In the paper, the authors explain, active drawdown, or benchmark relative drawdown, is a natural extension of the performance drawdown calculation. The article considers several possible methodologies for calculating active drawdown, proposes one methodology as the most adequate, and applies the methodology to the returns of indices and mutual funds to derive practical results. Investors can use active drawdown to analyze portfolio returns, evaluate investment strategies, and inform the manager selection process.

Mr. Bradford and Mr. Siliksi will present their winning article at PMAR West, on October 17th & 18th in San Diego, California. As a testament to continuous improvement and dedication to deploying industry leading ideas with great velocity, Eagle Performance now includes the algorithm outlined by these award winning authors and will be available for demonstration at Eagle’s booth at PMAR West.

The enhancement is slated for wider release at the beginning of November 2018, along with functional enhancements to the Eagle Performance solution. Read More…

Q&A: Building Momentum in EMEA

Dan Cavanaugh, Eagle’s new Head of EMEA, shares his thoughts on the region and Eagle’s continued focus on supporting the diverse client needs.


Q: Alongside your appointment as the Head of the EMEA region, it was also announced that Eagle was separating the management of its EMEA and APAC business lines. Can you discuss some of the catalysts behind this decision?

A: The decision to separate the EMEA and APAC business lines simply reflects the growth we’ve experienced in each of these regions. Particularly in EMEA, sales grew by more than 30% year over year in 2017. The number of new EMEA clients last year was also approximately two to three times higher than what is traditionally considered a strong year of new business growth. And we’ve had an increasing number of existing clients who are interested in extending their Eagle relationships by adding new services or capabilities.

There are several drivers, but we believe the momentum stems from a multipronged approach over the past few years to build awareness in the region and work more closely with local consultants. We’ve also found that growth tends to beget more growth. Client references, especially from some of the large, multinational firms that we work with, have gone a long way to build credibility among fund managers and asset owners who initially may be less familiar with Eagle.

Also, our alignment with our parent company has been invaluable. BNY Mellon has a tremendous presence and reputation globally, which has helped increase Eagle’s opportunities. Beyond collaborating in the ongoing development of our solution set, our relationship with BNY Mellon provides clients a continuum of deployment options as well as value-added functions through either managed services or a fully outsourced solution through BNY Mellon. This is a huge differentiator and has especially resonated in the EMEA region.

Q: It’s only been a short time since you assumed the role as Head of EMEA, but could you highlight some of the key differences between this market and other regions, such as APAC and North America?

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