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How Alternative Investment Firms Can Achieve a Flexible Cloud Infrastructure That Evolves With Business Needs

By ECI | Thursday, October 27th, 2022

A growing number of financial services institutions have embraced cloud computing, and alternative investment firms are no exception. But do you have the cloud infrastructure you actually need to support your business? 
As cloud offerings such as Microsoft Azure and AWS are adopted by more companies across more industries, a one-size-fits-all mindset can develop. For instance, both Azure and AWS include a standard framework for cloud migration – one that isn’t necessarily tailored to your company’s unique migration requirements. 

In fact, many firms are discovering that their cloud infrastructure isn’t flexible enough to respond to their evolving needs. Even if they started out with a good fit, the services and capabilities that initially supported the business no longer reflect their size, complexity, and priorities. 

But there is a solution. By partnering with an experienced, industry-focused provider of managed infrastructure services, you can quickly and cost-effectively achieve a cloud infrastructure that aligns with your business demands today and adapts to the market realities you’ll face next year and beyond. 


The Cloud You Need, When You Need It 

In the past, many organizations thought of IT infrastructure as a cost of doing business. The primary goal was to keep the operational lights on. With this mindset, a cookie-cutter cloud configuration made sense. 

But that approach doesn’t deliver the true value of the cloud. Configured effectively, the cloud should adapt with your business, enable you to scale quickly and cost-effectively, and provide a foundation for taking chances on new innovations without incurring bet-the-business risk. 

Our experience partnering with alternative investment firms shows again and again that different organizations have different cloud needs – often driven by their size and maturity. 

Startups and smaller firms – say, those with less than $1 billion in assets under management (AUM) – typically follow a traditional investment strategy. They’re willing to take some business risks, but payout to partners is a high priority. When it comes to IT spending, minimizing cost is paramount. They might even balance cybersecurity risk against the price tag for stronger protections. For IT infrastructure, their immediate needs are a private cloud and Office 365. 

Once they begin growing and maturing, however, their needs shift. Cost control remains a necessity, but it’s no longer the focus. They become aware of the need for strong cybersecurity and regulatory compliance. Their decisions become more risk-based, and they begin exploring the advantages of public-cloud deployments. 

By the time firms have tens of billions of dollars in AUM, their original expectations for the cloud are no longer recognizable. They now boast complex trading strategies and multiple investment disciplines. So, they become interested in a cloud infrastructure that’s not just stable but also extensible and agile. They now care more about total cost of ownership (TCO), and they make cybersecurity and compliance pillars of their overall IT strategy. They’re also leveraging emerging technologies such as machine learning (ML) to mine their data and make smart, evidence-based decisions. 

That’s why you need a managed service provider (MSP) that takes the time to truly understand your business – where it is today, and where it’s headed tomorrow. Such a partner can design an extensible cloud framework that evolves with changing requirements. 

An experienced provider can also anticipate new requirements before your infrastructure falls behind your IT maturity level. And while technology investments need to change if you want to remain competitive, in many cases costs don’t necessarily increase substantially. Instead, you benefit from services more tailored to your needs at a similar TCO. 

Cloud Infrastructure as Innovation Engine 

An effective MSP partner should also take the time to understand how your firm interacts with customers. Why? So you can ensure that your technology platform is built to respond to investor needs. 

A big part of meeting customer needs is leveraging your data resources to better understand investor behaviors and trends. This is where the right cloud migration strategy becomes crucial. 

Many firms assume a move from on-prem to cloud will be “lift and shift” – simply transitioning existing workloads to the cloud. But let’s say your existing data management is built around technology like Microsoft SQL Server. You could just move such a traditional database to the cloud. But investing in a cloud-native platform will give you ML and other forms of artificial intelligence (AI) out of the box. Now you can perform advanced data analytics and gain new customer insights – without having to spend the time, effort, and budget on building out custom algorithms. 

Just as important, cloud-native solutions will enable you to innovate faster and with less risk. Innovation will no longer involve massive spend on new hardware, analytics solutions, and custom applications. For example, Azure has analytics capabilities and related tools you can simply switch on. This will enable you to experiment with new services – without a major budget commitment on a business model that didn’t deliver the returns you expected.  

More alternative investment firms will migrate to the cloud. But not all of them will gain the competitive advantages they should. With a trusted MSP partner ensuring you benefit from an extensible cloud framework, you can achieve and maintain a cloud infrastructure that meets your unique needs – now and in the future. 

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