How YouDo turned a mission-critical spreadsheet into a powerful software solution for NZ’s most trusted investment managers.
Harbour Asset Management is a leading investment management business, with offices in Wellington, Queenstown, and Auckland. Signatories to the UN Principles of Responsible Investment, the team at Harbour Asset has a proud reputation for trusted and responsible investing that is backed by their research-driven approach.
Harbour Asset Management delivers market-leading outcomes for clients that include KiwiSaver funds, charitable trusts, iwi, government institutions, corporate superannuation funds, financial advisors, and individual investors.
In order to report on the performance of their funds and provide timely information to portfolio managers and clients, analysts at Harbour Asset Management relied on a Gross Returns Spreadsheet to assess fund’s monthly returns against their industry benchmarks and objectives.
Led by Chief Operating Officer, Ruari McGregor, Harbour Asset Management were aware of the risks and restrictions posed by depending on a spreadsheet to house, extract and present a growing trove of valuable data.
As the spreadsheet grew, so did the potential business risk associated with it. ”
- Ruari McGregor, Director & COO at Harbour Asset Management
YouDo were engaged to create a business systems software solution that captured the institutional knowledge developed through this spreadsheet.
Ruari McGregor recognised the impact that a fully integrated Business Systems Platform could have on the business, and after reading one of our articles on replacing mission-critical spreadsheets with software he reached out to our team for expert guidance.
A key part of the initial process was a deep dive into what YouDo would deliver and what the project would involve. The statement of work aspect of their process was important for us to gain comfort and trust in the project.”
As with all our projects, we maintained open communication with Harbour Asset Management by clearly outlining our project methodology into sprints, and meeting with the client after each sprint to assess progress and prepare for the next step.
Our team of software developers worked closely alongside analysts from Harbour Asset Management to gain insights into their processes. With these insights and our own industry expertise, we built a software solution that not only replicated the institutional knowledge stored in the Gross Returns Spreadsheet – but streamlined the analysts’ processes to improve accuracy and efficiency.
We delivered advanced digital architecture that became Harbour Asset Management’s proprietary software asset, secured within their own firewall.
With a far more robust database than Excel, YouDo’s software solution effectively reduced the following risks posed by the Gross Returns Spreadsheet:
- Manual input errors:
People make mistakes, especially when manually entering data into a complex spreadsheet. For Harbour Asset Management, any manual input errors would result in miscalculations that posed a potential risk to the clarity of their decision making.
- Data corruption:
A windows update or a user mistake could corrupt the spreadsheet, and a broken link within such a massive document would take hours to locate and repair.
- Data loss:
By recording the monthly returns for every managed fund onto a single spreadsheet, a single user mistake or program failure could result in data loss that would be difficult to retrieve.
Once fully implemented, the new Business Systems Platform will deliver:
- Administrative benefits from automation
By automating the administrative aspect of data input and comparison for monthly reports, the Business Systems Platform will considerably reduce overheads.
This allows Harbour Asset Management to deliver the same fund performance outcomes and client reporting with greater efficiency, empowering the whole team with more time to focus on client relationships and adding value.
- A foundation for further improvement
This project tackled a mission-critical spreadsheet at the centre of all business activity, so creating an effective software solution establishes a solid foundation from which further business efficiencies can be achieved.
With support from YouDo, we ran user workshops with the key team members who’ll be using the new system – the feedback was immensely positive. With our Business Systems Platform, we’re going to have greater visibility, reduced risk, and increased efficiency. This project has given us the infrastructure to look at future system enhancements within Harbour Asset Management.”
YouDo turned a mission-critical spreadsheet into a software solution that is now a company asset, rather than a risk.
Harbour Asset Management see further opportunities to automate and streamline their processes with software.
With an understanding of the potential improvements that a software system offers to both internal processes and external results, Harbour Asset are engaging with YouDo to automate the generation of their client reports.
Another heavy administrative task, the current process of producing these reports takes the team three days or more to create. With many different report templates to populate with data, operations analysts face unnecessary stress and tiresome procedures that absorb valuable time – time that could be spent on activities that add value to clients.
YouDo plans to develop a software solution that streamlines the administrative aspect of Harbour Asset’s report generation, including:
- Template building
- Data analytics
- Graph generation
We look forward to further automating and streamlining Harbour Asset’s internal processes, with robust software solutions that are custom built to minimise risk for New Zealand’s most trusted investment managers.