Asset management company improves efficiency and enables business growth

Reduced IT operations

costs by utilizing a single automation solution

Increased tasks

processed per month from 300,000 to 2 million

Company Overview

Headquartered in the Benelux region, Robeco is an international asset management company offering an extensive range of active investments, from equities to bonds, to its global clients. The firm bases its “pioneering but cautious” investment approach on extensive research. Founded in 1929, the firm believes in sustainability investing, quantitative techniques, and constant innovation.

Business Challenge

Robeco constantly exchanges data, such as stock opening and closing values and currency exchange rates, with several partners. Ollivier Trouw, Vice President and Head of IT Operations at Robeco says: “Because we rely on the timeliness and accuracy of that data to make decisions, uninterrupted data transport is critical.”

Previously, the firm used a convoluted IT infrastructure that consisted of 80 UNIX systems and 200 NT servers running more than 200 applications. This complexity made it time-consuming and difficult to manage an ever-increasing volume of market and customer data. Robeco had a number of large custom applications, based on Oracle technology, designed to complete processes such as registering portfolios, calculating net asset values, and administering market data such as prices and indices. Each of these processes involved multiple steps. When the data or applications necessary for these steps were stored or run on different systems or applications, it was difficult to coordinate the steps because they couldn’t update each other. Moreover, the custom applications were unable to integrate with off-the-shelf applications. This meant custom work was required to connect things that should have been possible right out of the box.For example, to meet compliance regulations, Robeco regularly delivers financial reports to the Dutch Central Bank. To deliver these reports in a timely fashion, Robeco needed a central solution that would connect and coordinate all of its processes and applications. It also needed to eliminate unnecessary manual activities to ensure consistency and accuracy across its most critical processes.

Solution

Initially, Robeco selected Redwood to automate processes within its investment business such as portfolio management, fund management, performance and risk analysis, reporting and forecasting, and transaction workflow. The solution connects all applications and eliminates manual activities, reducing human error and latency. The solution connects all applications and eliminates manual activities, reducing human error and latency.

Prior to Redwood, Robeco was using antiquated scheduling software for arranging infrastructure-related tasks. Ruben De Vries, Engineer at Robeco says “This software was unable to connect across all our applications. By moving application-related tasks to Redwood, we made our scheduling software obsolete.”
Next, Robeco extended automation to its retail business. De Vries adds “We quickly merged the investment and retail data repositories, so they are now all connected to Redwood. With one point of control, it’s far easier to generate accurate reports and analyze market data as soon as it arrives, and we are guaranteed quick and error-free data updates.”

Redwood now automatically sends all data to the relevant applications. Each application then uses Redwood to pick up the file and load it into its system. The systems use the file to create relevant reports. Since some of the data is time-critical, the system sends out alerts if these files do not arrive so that immediate action can be taken.

Results

Robeco significantly reduced IT operation costs just by utilizing a single solution for process automation. Since Robeco began working with Redwood, it has experienced considerable business growth. When Redwood was first implemented it processed 300,000 tasks a month.

In just a few years, the solution has grown to manage over two million processes a month. Robeco has also found it easier to track activities and create reports with a clear, automated audit trail. Soft data audits are automatically stored for seven years, to address compliance requirements.

With many of our most critical business applications relying on Redwood, they have now achieved strategic vendor status within Robeco. Reinald Trap, Vendor Manager at Robeco

Future Plans

“From an operational perspective we are always seeking to improve existing processes and to eliminate manual procedures,” says Trouw. “In the future we want to further improve our ability to integrate with Robeco’s third party partners and further extend our management of the Redwood processes,” including leveraging Redwood’s integrated predictive SLA capabilities.

90% of our complete integration frameworks are based on Redwood Business Process Automation – it’s crucial to our environment and how we work. Redwood makes it much more efficient for us to support our ever-growing customer base. We could not manually deliver all our data between our applications and send out reports within the same day without automation.” Ruben De Vries, Engineer

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