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Supporting an Investment Firm’s Technology Transformation with Managed Services

Financial Services | Managed Services Offering

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Using a managed services approach, TEKsystems provided technical resources and on-site management to support an infrastructure overhaul for a global investment firm.

The client is a global investment management firm with multiple product lines. They provide a wide variety of investment options to corporations and individuals, including sponsored mutual funds, college savings programs and retirement accounts. Headquartered in Baltimore, they serve customers all over the world and have offices in North America, Western Europe, Hong Kong and Singapore. TEKsystems has partnered with the client since 2009.

In recent years, mature financial institutions have had to act aggressively to keep pace with customer expectations and changing market conditions. While new types of online-based competitors have altered the business model, customer preferences have also changed. Consumers increasingly desire easy access to their financial information and the ability to manage transactions and accounts in real time.

At the same time, the regulations that govern finance are becoming tighter and more complex. Government agencies require an unprecedented level of transparency into financial operations and transactions, creating a need for sophisticated reporting.

In response, the major players in the financial services industry are undergoing multiyear transformations to upgrade and streamline their technology infrastructure. These strategic projects will enable future growth and flexibility, but require significant personnel and other resources to execute. For projects of this magnitude, many companies turn to managed services offerings.

iOS, Java, SharePoint, SQL, UX

The client offers a variety of investment products and often handles multiple accounts for the same customer or organization. The client wanted to create a seamless customer experience through their websites, enabling customers to access and manage multiple accounts through a single sign-on and see an integrated dashboard with information from multiple accounts.

However, the client’s information was siloed and being processed through multiple legacy systems. To enable a seamless customer experience, they needed to upgrade technology and consolidate data platforms.

Because of the large scale of the project, the client began hiring IT contractors from multiple staffing vendors to augment its IT team, quickly leaving managers overwhelmed by the pace and frequency of onboarding. They struggled to bring contractors up to speed quickly and supervise their ongoing performance. And different managers provided an inconsistent onboarding experience, resulting in idle time and productivity losses. The staffing partners also provided employees of varying and sometimes unsatisfactory quality.

With managers struggling to find time to both oversee the transformation strategy and supervise the contractors, the client’s IT leaders knew they needed a different approach. They met with several of their IT staffing and services providers to learn more about their capacity to assist with the project. As a long-time staffing partner, TEKsystems was invited to present our ideas.

TEKsystems recommended a managed IT services solution, in which we would provide high-quality contractors and manage their onboarding and performance. This would free the client’s managers from overseeing the time-intensive process of sourcing, hiring, onboarding and supervising contractors.

As part of our solution, we recommended adding a delivery manager (DM) to oversee the engagement at no additional cost. The DM would work closely with the client to determine the technical traits they desired in contractors and support screening and onboarding, ensuring contractor candidates were a good fit for the client’s unique culture. The DM would also gather requirements for all the hurdles contractors needed to clear before starting work, e.g., systems access, equipment and training. Defining this process would ensure a consistent onboarding experience and allow contractors to get up to speed quickly.

To ensure we provided competent candidates who would thrive in the client’s environment, we would subject them to a rigorous screening process. Our screening would begin with a general interview by a recruiter and account manager. Then one of our technical subject matter experts would conduct an in-depth interview of the candidate to verify his or her technical knowledge and competence. Finally, the on-site DM would screen the candidate to ensure he or she met the client’s other desired attributes, such as maturity and the ability to work self-directed.

Critically, we would provide these candidates on demand so the client could scale the project up or down as needed. Using a well-documented onboarding process, we would prepare the candidates to begin contributing to the project on day one—without requiring assistance from any of the client’s internal managers.

Based on the quality of our offering and the client’s level of comfort with us a staffing partner, they selected TEKsystems to pilot a managed services program beginning with 15 resources.

The managed services approach met every one of the client’s goals. TEKsystems eliminated the administrative burden of hiring, onboarding and managing candidates—while saving the client money.

The pilot project proved so successful that within two months of kickoff, the client increased the number of contractors requested from 15 to 24, and then quickly added more for a total of 40 technical resources. With the flexible managed services approach, the client was able to add contractors and shift them between projects as needed with very little effort from internal managers. The client reported that of the 40 resources we provided, 39 were able to quickly provide value to the organization.

Prior to engaging TEKsystems Managed IT Services, the client’s IT team had assumed all hiring responsibilities and conducted their own candidate interviews. But the client quickly saw that our hiring process brought in only the “right” resources who met their technical needs and were good fits for their work culture. Our account and recruiting managers’ deep knowledge of the skills needed, paired with our on-site DM’s familiarity with the client’s preferences and culture, helped us deliver a screening model that worked as well as— if not better than—the client’s internal process. The additional step of using technical subject matter experts to screen resources ensured a high level of skill and competence. While we initially used experts from our own Montreal Innovation Centre, we later engaged the contracted developers, who had become subject matter experts in the client’s specific projects, to conduct the technical screenings to guarantee an excellent match.

Nearly as important as the quality of the resources was the speed with which they became productive. Drawing on TEKsystems’ deep network of IT professionals, we were able to find and onboard contractors within an average timeframe of 15 days—far surpassing the client’s former average time of 60 to 90 days. Using the onboarding process defined by our DM, the contractors had the training, systems access and other items they needed to start working productively on the first day at the client site. By the client’s own estimate, this efficiency saved them approximately $275,000 and freed their internal managers to focus on more strategic projects.

Critical to the client’s success, we provided a clear, consistent pricing structure. Instead of sourcing contractors and then negotiating salary, we charged a fixed price for their services. This transparency allowed the client’s project managers to plan for and acquire the resources they required without the extra step of getting approval from Human Resources and budgeting authorities.

By every metric, this was a highly successful engagement. The client received the resources they needed faster and more cost-effectively than sourcing through multiple staffing vendors, while freeing their managers from time-draining administrative work. Based on their satisfaction with the managed services offering, the client continues to add contractors and is currently expanding the scope to include mobile applications development resources.

  • Strong partnership. We worked closely with the partner to create an approach that solved their unique problems and removed stress for their internal teams. In addition, we were committed to finding candidates who possessed the right skills and attributes to succeed in the client’s environment, and then took extra steps to vet them for technical competence.
  • Talent reach. With a relationship network of more than 80 percent of the domestic IT workforce, we were able to greatly exceed industry benchmarks for sourcing, screening and onboarding professionals. Our proactive approach and commitment to building and maintaining relationships allowed us to onboard contractors within an average timeframe of three weeks once requested by the client.
  • Focus. We have a defined process for managing projects based on Project Management Institute best practices that we have refined over time. This discipline enabled us to anticipate and plan for the client’s needs. It also helped us create a comprehensive onboarding process that allowed contractors to begin working productively on client projects on day one.

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