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2021 – Knowledge Management: Time for Action?

Accessing and leveraging knowledge has never been more urgent for asset managers. Will 2021 be the year they seize the opportunity to turn knowledge into advantage?

As we start the New Year, trading conditions for everyone in the investment management industry remain challenging. The global pandemic continues to make markets extremely volatile and geopolitical unrest only increases the nervousness of global economies.

Faced by this continual uncertainty, the need for firms to be able to access and leverage all their collective knowledge should be seen as of critical importance. Not only for making better informed investment decisions but for more effective crisis management, with institutional investors increasingly assessing their asset managers’ capabilities in this area – as Dane Rook of Stanford University highlighted in a KiteEdge webinar.

Here at KiteEdge, we’ve already seen the start of renewed interest in effective knowledge management in the industry over the past two years but if ever there was a time to make it a priority, now would be it.

It seems increasingly astonishing that in an industry heavily reliant on the ability to quickly and easily access, analyse and share data, information and knowledge, organisations still seem to be reluctant to provide their staff with the tools that would allow them to be far more efficient at handling these tasks. This would then allow them more time to focus on more value-adding activities.

A recent Backstop Solutions/Mercer report highlighted that investment teams are still spending some 50% of their time on non-core activities. The researchers identified that teams, irrespective of the size of the organisation they worked for, are wasting something like half a day each week on activities such as downloading and uploading documents or searching for documents on shared drives. The survey also highlighted the frustration that many staff feel, with some 94% of respondents believing there must be a better way of doing the activity they were engaged in.

It doesn’t have to be like this. Firms can now implement proven, effective technology solutions which can significantly improve the day-to-day experience for their staff, particularly in the area of knowledge management.

KiteEdge enables firms to turn knowledge into advantage by combining multiple search techniques, including ontology (a domain-specific structure created to help understand the component elements and the relationships of a content universe), to drive both effective search and increased collaboration. Users can also customise the ontology to map their investment process onto the search mechanism itself. Internal experts, previously undiscovered by a user, can also be readily identified allowing time-efficient, targeted conversations rather than scattergun “Does anybody know?” pleas for help.

Investment firms have relied on inefficient solutions for far too long – those who recognise the benefits to be had are likely to gain approval not only with their own staff but also with clients. Will 2021 be the year they seize the opportunity?

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