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Maintaining momentum of accelerated digital transformation created by the pandemic
Like many financial services firms, Mercer, an investment management company, started planning and kicking off several digital transformation initiatives in the early winter of 2020. These projects ranged from the creation of a data management repository to the migration from a proprietary on-premises trading system to a third party hosted system. The latter will be the focus of the comments in this paper. The goal of these projects was to increase operational efficiencies and to transform data into information and make that information more accessible and useable. And then, everyone went home. In this paper, the challenges, learnings and unexpected benefits resulting from managing large-scale digital transformative projects during a pandemic will be discussed, and how that momentum can be maintained as teams return to the office, at least in some form. The intent of this paper is not to be a technical deep dive into the specifics of any projects, but rather a discussion of experiences. The goal is to provide the reader with additional considerations when undertaking a digital transformation project, real-life examples of unexpected considerations and how focusing on people, no matter what the initiative, should yield positive outcomes, even in unexpected ways.
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Jeff Coleman is a partner and Head of Investment Operations for Mercer Investments, LLC. Investment management and advisory services for US clients are provided by Mercer Investments LLC (Mercer Investments), which is one of several associated legal entities that provide investment services to clients as part of a global investment advisory and investment management business (collectively referred to as ‘Mercer’). Mercer Investments LLC is registered to do business as ‘Mercer Investment Advisers LLC’ in the following states: Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas and West Virginia; as ‘Mercer Investments LLC (Delaware)’ in Georgia; as ‘Mercer Investments LLC of Delaware’ in Louisiana; and ‘Mercer Investments LLC’, a limited liability company of Delaware in Oregon. Jeff has responsibility for Defined Contribution, Defined Benefit and Not for Profit client trading, Fund Administration for Mercer's proprietary products, data management and client billing. Previously, he was CFO and Head of Investment Operations at BofA Global Capital Management. Prior to that he held similar roles at Columbia Management and NATIXIS.