Grandview Analytics is shortlisted for Data Initiative of the Year at the US FinTech Awards 2023
Ahead of the awards ceremony in New York, Matt Biver, chief executive officer of the tech and data company, spoke to FinTech Intel to discuss the value of data and how fintechs and financial services firms can utilise it to their advantage.
After a roughly 10-year career in finance, you co-founded Grandview to solve some of the data and tech challenges you had faced in your experience client-side, with past employers. What kind of challenges were you having?
Prior to founding Grandview Analytics, I had the opportunity to work with dozens of financial service organisations as an employee, consultant and service provider. These firms ranged from startups and small funds to large asset managers, service providers and global banks.
I have a business and finance background, but continually found myself working on complex data and technology initiatives. This gave me a unique view into the intricacies of asset classes and investment vehicle types from multiple perspectives across the investment lifecycle.
Through all this experience, I saw that financial services organisations of all types and sizes, including some of the largest and most reputable firms in the world, struggle with data management. I asked myself why I repeatedly saw the same issues, such as difficulty onboarding new systems and data sources, redundant data entry, reconciliation breaks and data quality errors, manual reporting processes, and limited transparency into the sourcing, definition, availability and accuracy of data.
I concluded that because data management sits at the intersection of business and technology, it’s difficult to find leaders and teams with skillsets that connect both sides. As a result, business and technology are often misaligned, which makes it difficult to define and execute on a comprehensive and well-governed data strategy with clear accountability and stewardship.
Knowing I possessed the skillset to bridge the gaps I saw between business and technology personnel, I set out to form Grandview Analytics with a mission to help financial services organisations to optimise their investment in data and technology assets. I am fortunate to have my co-founder, Chris Lamb, and 40 other extremely talented finance professionals who have chosen to join Grandview in executing our mission.
How does Grandview help to overcome these challenges?
Grandview Analytics brings seasoned financial industry professionals and subject matter expertise to every client engagement. With an average of 15 to 20 years of experience working at financial services organisations, we’ve experienced a wide range of challenges and we’ve seen what works and what doesn’t work to solve them. With this first-hand experience, we provide clients with fresh perspectives and offer comprehensive solutions that span people, process and technology.
We generally begin an engagement by making sure the project has in place an executive-level sponsor with some level of authority over both the business and technology teams. This role sets and communicates the programme’s strategic vision, assigns clear accountability, ensures alignment between business and technology, and serves as an escalation point to resolve disputes that require an enterprise decision.
We then quickly pivot to execution. Depending on the project scope, we help our clients by understanding their pain points, recommending solutions, defining target state operating models, implementing and integrating systems, migrating data, evaluating data quality, performing quality assurance, building reports and dashboards, documenting policies and procedures, training end users, and building consensus across teams to drive transformational change.
At Grandview, we take pride in our ability to think strategically while rolling up our sleeves to execute. We commonly serve the roles of programme manager, project manager, business analyst, and data analyst and sit at the intersection of business and technology to ensure the strategic objectives are achieved at an enterprise level.
For clients that license Rivvit, our data management and reporting software, we enforce data governance best practices through our managed service; leveraging an established and repeatable framework for data management and reporting.
Designed specifically for financial services firms, Rivvit integrates data from multiple sources into a single place for reporting and analysis. As a pre-built solution, it can be deployed within just a few months with limited IT resources to accelerate the delivery of accurate, timely data.
“With recent innovations in artificial intelligence and machine learning, quality data is foundational to performing more advanced analytics.”
Could you go into a bit of detail of how you help companies with data. I imagine capturing data, analysing data, and using it to make decisions require different skills and processes, and will vary according to the company you are working with?
Grandview Analytics offers two primary services including consulting services and managed data services. Each offering is tailored to our clients’ unique needs using established frameworks for data management. Both services are aimed at helping our clients optimise their investments in data and technology.
On consulting projects, we offer comprehensive solutions that span the complete data lifecycle from data sourcing and ingestion to data distribution and reporting. A common data project may entail defining business requirements, implementing a data governance framework, documenting data sources, migrating historical data, creating data quality metrics, writing technical specifications, and anything else it takes to facilitate user adoption and achievement of the defined business objectives.
Leveraging Rivvit, we provide an outsourced data management and reporting service. As a SaaS offering, we provide the technology infrastructure and services to support the complete data lifecycle. This includes setting up inbound and outbound data integrations, mapping client data sources into an established investment data warehouse, automating client-specific workflows, and hosting a white-labelled portal giving clients self-serve access to up to date and historical information. These features are supported and configurable through a repeatable and low-code framework allowing us to deliver in a fraction of the time and cost relative to alternatives.
We may recommend one or both services depending on each client’s unique business situation and desire to outsource versus building internally. Rivvit is a fantastic option for companies with a growing volume of data sources and limited data infrastructure because it provides an off-the-shelf solution that can be deployed faster and cheaper than building new from ground zero.
Data is seen as one of, if not the most, valuable asset a company can have. Do you see data holding this value into the future and if so, how do you think it will be used?
Yes, data will continue to hold immense value for financial services companies in the future. It will be used for more personalised customer experiences, risk assessment, improved decision-making and fraud detection.
With recent innovations in artificial intelligence and machine learning, quality data is foundational to performing more advanced analytics. We are seeing progression in this space at light speed so financial service companies that fail to embrace data as an asset will struggle to remain competitive, make informed decisions, and provide personalised customer experiences. Such companies might also lag in terms of efficiency and innovation. Additionally, they could be at a higher risk of security breaches and regulatory non-compliance, which can lead to reputational damage and legal issues. In the long run, neglecting data as an asset could threaten their sustainability and relevance in the marketplace.
What advice would you give to a fintech startup, as to how they can utilise data to their advantage?
It is essential to develop a robust and well-governed data strategy that enforces best practices and defined standards. Data quality is paramount; end users ultimately leverage software to manage information, so it is crucial to have the proper controls in place to ensure information is entered consistently and accurately. Inaccurate or unreliable data can lead to misinformed decisions.
Stay updated with the latest data technologies and industry trends to remain competitive. Instead of building a system aimed at solving a wide spectrum of pain points, focus on a feature sub-set and be the best at it. Deliver for your pilot clients, get referrals, and build on your successes.
Wide adoption of the cloud by financial services companies enables easier integration capabilities which will gradually make the ‘all-in-one’ systems that are just ‘OK’ at everything obsolete over time due to the trending preference for best-of-breed systems and an option to integrate. Know your competitive advantage and identify strategic integration partners for ancillary functions.
Ensure your data infrastructure is scalable to accommodate growing data volumes as your fintech startup expands. Responsible and strategic use of data can be a significant advantage in the fintech sector, driving innovation and customer satisfaction.
“I’m excited to meet some of the innovative leaders who have been recognised by the US FinTech Awards.”
What made you enter the US Fintech Awards?
We’ve had our eye on the US Fintech Awards as a respected programme in the industry. As the call for 2023 nominations went out, we had just completed a transformational, multi-phase data initiative for an insurance holding company that leveraged our full suite of consulting and managed data services to launch their new asset management business. Based on the complexity of the effort, data integration points, aggressive delivery timeline, and business impact to the client, we felt that this success story was perfectly aligned with the intent of the award for Data Initiative of the Year. We are proud to share this success story because it demonstrates the breadth of Grandview’s specialisation and capabilities.
What are you looking forward to on the night of the ceremony?
I’m really looking forward to getting away from a work setting to enjoy time celebrating with employees and clients who will be attending with me. Additionally, I’m excited to meet some of the innovative leaders who also have been recognised by the US FinTech Awards.
Image: Grandview Analytics
This interview is supported by Grandview Analytics.