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.

Since Eagle was founded, three major innovation waves have emerged and crested, beginning with Web 1.0 when we were delivering shrink-wrapped software for clients to install on-premises. That was followed by cloud-induced waves that saw the Software-as-a-Service model become the prevailing deployment option for technology across industries. Today, we’re embracing the latest major wave, as we invest in a digital future that promises exponential growth in data, rapid innovation fueled by AI, and even newer operating models—enabled by digitalization—that strip away traditional organizational boundaries.

It is our firm belief that this next wave will be marked by open platforms and expansive ecosystems in which integration challenges become a distant memory. Best-in-class capabilities and specialized microservices will become seamlessly accessible through APIs, while big data capabilities offer a deeper level of intelligence and conviction that separates winners and losers. So it’s against this backdrop that Eagle is working alongside our clients and alliances to transform tomorrow together.

Adopting open platforms and technology advancements is separating the solutions of tomorrow from the legacy technologies of those unwilling to commit the resources needed for reinvention. When we first unveiled our deployment-model transformation in 2016, there may have been some initial skepticism. This was owing to just how ambitious our objectives were—in our industry, it was the definition of a moonshot. Eighteen months later and based on the traction made, the question of “if” has turned to “when,” and the answer is sooner than most may expect. During my keynote address at ENGAGE18 earlier this year, I highlighted five of the biggest milestones, which I’ve also outlined here:

Culture and Talent
Over the past 18 months, Eagle has added approximately 80 new technology resources. Every single one of these people bring an enhanced skill set to Eagle, with technology and engineering backgrounds that have traditionally been associated with Silicon Valley. We now have a workforce close to 1,000 people worldwide, [over half of whom] work in either R&D or engineering. And our entire organization has been trained in agile development, supporting an outcome-oriented culture.

Engineering Discipline
We now operate over forty cross-functional agile teams, applying a quality-first approach to component-based design. In other words, rather than producing major releases every two years, Eagle’s agile teams are already developing new microservices side by side with our clients in short sprints in which quality engineering is involved in the process from inception to delivery. We’re using automation to prevent rather than detect errors. And while we’ve always been focused on quality, we’ve inspired a cultural change around continual improvement that lends itself to systems and software that are faster, flexible and more resilient.

Next-Gen Platform Model
When we made the decision to transform our business, we did so knowing that we would need to create a highly resilient platform that would serve as the foundation for all future investments. Our platform serves as a cornerstone that instills a level of consistency in how we manage variables such as scalability and elasticity. Recovery-oriented computing that can load balance and instantaneously heal itself as disruptions occur will become the ante for systems providers, particularly in financial services. And, in line with our devotion to engineering discipline, we committed ourselves to building a platform that will never go down, with full tolerance built into its very DNA.

Still About the Data
The focus on data quality only promises to become more important in the future. This will particularly be the case as BI and visualization tools continue to absorb unstructured data from heterogeneous sources whose reliability may be just as varied. This, of course, will necessitate a far deeper level of transparency to understand the nature of the data set. Moreover, intuitive, business-driven APIs will allow analysts to access this information seamlessly, and plug BI tools into Eagle’s platform to get this information faster and in a more discoverable way.

All of this, of course, is aligned to our mission of helping the world grow assets efficiently. And while there has been considerable activity and attention placed in getting Eagle to this point in our transformation, our strategy remains highly focused on our core data management, investment accounting and performance measurement offering. Moreover, we will continue to work with our clients to create business-driven, outcome-oriented solutions. This is why when we talk about change, we emphasize our transformation is occurring together with our clients.

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