Now more than ever, selecting the right technology is critical to the successful operations of any organization. Given the advances in financial services industry, this is particularly true in the Investment Management and Hedge Fund industry.  The fervent controversy surrounding Michael Lewis’ new book ‘Flash Boys’ illustrates how technology has become the most important competitive differentiator for hedge fund managers.  Selecting the right IT services for hedge funds is critical to addressing investors’ growing desire for secure, robust and reliable infrastructure.

Below are Six Considerations for Hedge Funds evaluating outsourced IT providers

1. Quality of IT Consultants

In today’s environment, your IT provider will be the most important service relationship you will have.  When selecting an outsourced IT provider, it is important to know whom you will potentially be working with. What is the quality of the management team?  Are they seasoned and reputable? What about their support staff?  Are they a skilled technical staff of engineers who can help in all stages of the infrastructure build-out and maintenance?

2. Breadth of IT Solutions

A key criterion that any Hedge Fund CTO must consider is the scope of the firm’s service offering and capabilities. Does the IT provider in question offer all of the solutions and services necessary to address the technical requirements needed for your firm to operate effectively, consistently and efficiently? Remember, these needs will vary based on your firm’s specific business requirements.  They can range from private cloud services, backup & recovery services, security, application hosting, business continuity planning, disaster recovery, data storage and mining, telecom services, IT consulting, electronic communications systems and software development.

3. Industry-Specific Deployment Expertise

Specialization is critical.  Make sure you find out if the service provider possesses deep experience in deploying enterprise solutions and services in an investment management environment. What is the scope of this experience?  Do they have a wide range of experience having worked with small start-ups as well as larger, well-established firms? IT firms are a commodity so be sure to select one that is experienced in deploying systems that are specific to your industry with a track record to prove it. Check references of past clients and ask for examples of clients whose technical needs and scope are a match to your firms.

4. Disaster Recovery approach

Things happen.  Hurricanes, blackouts, floods, disasters, are all too common.  So it’s important to know the IT firm’s disaster recovery process and procedures. Do they employ proper risk controls designed to allow continued performance and availability? What are their data security and retrieval protocols?  Will the provider ensure that your data is secure, protected, and accessible even in the face of disaster?

5. Cloud Infrastructure

Cloud computing has become the de facto infrastructure option for investment firms.  While Cloud services have been in the market for a number of years its still a very specialized and nuanced aspect of the IT service industry.  Be sure to look for a provider that has a robust, scalable and secure cloud infrastructure protocol. As mentioned earlier, Cloud computing for the financial services sector is a specialized skill, so make sure that the firm employs highly trained and certified professionals with experience in financial services operations. As a standard, Tier II or III data centers that are SAS 70 or SSAE-16 certified are a good bet for critical data hosting.

6. Vendor Partners and Network

No IT firm does it all.  Any good IT firm maintains key relationships with partner vendors who fill critical service gaps.  This is a simple reality and the quality of these partners – and their relationship with them – is of high importance. Does the firm have strong vendor relationships? Are they the right mix of best-in-class providers for your unique needs? Strategic partnerships with top-tier technology companies are crucial to maintaining a world-class IT environment for your firm.

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GCInfotech offer IT Services for Hedge Funds and Financial Companies in CT, NY and NYC area. Call us 203 327 5700 to discuss your technology needs.

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As business owners, we all want to save money. We want our employees to get more done in less time. And we want technology that just does what it’s supposed to do. Let’s review three ways we can ensure we’re making the right technology decisions for our business:

  • Understand that “free IT services” or “free software” often comes at a cost. Saving money in any way possible is a top priority for most small business owners, but when it comes to choosing technology, it pays to think through the downsides of free solutions.

A free software program may have the right number of the features, and seems easy to install, but getting it to seamlessly interface with your business applications ends up being a daunting challenge. In most cases, “free” also means you won’t have access to customer support when something does go wrong, and you’ll be on your own to fix any problems. A sound alternative to a “free solution” is to analyze the total cost of ownership of any solution. Consider that 52% of small and medium-sized businesses are adopting cloud services to outsource IT tasks like data storage, according to a recent SMB study. Some of the less expensive enterprise cloud solutions can be just as bad as a free download, or can still be too expensive for small businesses (like SalesForce).

  • Choose IT solutions that can multi-task. Too often, small businesses fall into the trap of implementing technology that addresses only one specific task. For example, you may have needed the ability to share large files with customers or partners outside your company, so you signed up for a file-sharing service. In this case, free or not, choosing a “one trick pony” for simple tasks like file sharing might actually end up costing more in the form of lost productivity and frustration. In this case, you would likely be missing out on sophisticated collaboration tools such as full integration with your email and productivity applications that can take file sharing to the next level. Do your homework before choosing an application or service to accomplish a single task. Think through all of the related tasks and look for the solutions that allow you do more than one thing. Time spent understanding the options will bring long-term benefits. For example Dropbox is a popular app for sharing documents and photos across multiple devices. Microsoft SkyDrive offers the ability to replicate files on multiple systems, but it some of its features requires professional installation and support.
  • Give yourself options. Smart business owners are like pro NFL quarterbacks; they want plenty of options. This is especially true when it comes to how you and your employees communicate with one another. There was a time when email revolutionized how people communicate at work, but today, your employees have plenty of options for communicating with one another depending on the situation. Communication with far-flung employees, clients and vendors can be expensive for many small businesses. Consider multiple solutions: Web-based teleconferencing services let large groups make video and voice connections, usually without special equipment – or sky-high phone fees. Reigning champ Adobe Connect is “the solution to beat,” said PC Magazine. Up-and-comer Fuze Meeting Pro offers innovative features like Fuze In for dialing-in late participants. Provide your team with options and you’ll benefit from efficiency and increased productivity.

Not sure where to start? Give GCInfotech a call to discuss the available solutions that would work best for your company. Together, we can make your business work smarter, faster and more efficiently.

 

As always, GCInfotech can walk you through the process, ensure your business has the least amount of disruption and set up a structure that will keep you running smoothly well into the future. Give us a call at 888.323.3066.

As business owners, we all want to save money. We want our employees to get more done in less time. And you want technology that just does what it’s supposed to do. Let’s review three ways you can ensure you’re making the right technology decisions for your business.

  • Understanding that “free” often comes at a cost. The old saying is true: there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Saving money in any way possible is a top priority for most small business owners, but when it comes to choosing technology, it pays to think through the downsides of free solutions. They could end up costing your business in the form of frustration and lost productivity. A free software program may have a number of the features you need, but getting it to seamlessly interface with your business applications can be a daunting challenge. In most cases, “Free” also means you won’t have access to customer support when something does go wrong, and you’ll be on your own to correct the problems. Reach out to us as a first step if you want to ensure you can learn how to use a solution, and get assistance from GCInfotech with integrating it with other applications and fixing issues when they arise. A sound alternative to “free solution” is to pay a reasonable monthly or annual subscription for cloud solutions.
  • Choose IT solutions that can multi-task.Multitask Too often small businesses often fall into the trap of implementing technology that addresses only one specific task. For example, maybe you need the ability to share large files with customers or partners outside your company, so you sign up for a file-sharing service. Free or not, choosing a one trick pony for simple tasks like file sharing might actually cost you more in the long run in the form of lost productivity since you’re likely missing out on collaboration tools and integration with your email and productivity applications that would take file sharing to the next level. Start by doing your homework when choosing an application or service to accomplish a single task, think through related tasks and look for an offering that lets you do more than one thing. Time spent understanding what your choices are will provide benefits in the future.
  • Give yourself options. Smart business owners are like good football quarterbacks; they want plenty of options. This is especially true when it comes to how you and your employees communicate with one another. There was a time when email revolutionized how people communicate at work, but today, your employees should have plenty of options for communicating with one another depending on the situation. Instead of having to reply to an email and wait for a response, they should be able to open an instant messaging window directly from an email and get an urgent answer right then and there. Sticking with that theme, they should be able to call the office of a colleague and have the phone system find them if they are not at their desks. They should be able to initiate voice calls and schedule web and video conferences right from their email inbox. Give your team options and you’ll benefit from efficiency and increased productivity.

 

 

Have you asked yourself if blogging is a relevant marketing strategy for your business in 2014?  Would it surprise you to know that 60% of businesses that blog acquire more customers.  (Source: Hubspot)

As a small business owner you might wonder if it’s worth the investment to blog, since the largest investment is your time. The truth is, if done right, it will be your best inbound marketing tool available to you. Many small businesses create a website that remains static over time with no new content. This is not a good  marketing strategy. You need to keep your website fluid with company updates and helpful information so your customers and potential customers will want to visit your site. One of the best ways to do this is to blog. This does require a large commitment on your part, as it takes at least 50 posts for Google to index you. To increase your search engine rankings and traffic to your site you will need quality, unique content with the right keywords and phrases. If this seems like a lot of work, keep in mind that the average company that blogs generates 55% more website visitors, 97% more inbound links, and 434 more indexed pages. (Source: Ignite Spot)

bloggingWhat makes a good blog? For a small company, you want to give your site a personality, allowing visitors to identify with you, while promoting your brand. How can this be done? People relate to other people, so let them know who you are. Use visuals, whether images or videos to engage your visitors and let them see behind the scenes of your company.  A good way to do this is to showcase your employees and add personal stories. Your goal should be to give visitors a way to identify with your company while giving them added value. Provide them with useful information about your industry, share useful tips and while doing so you are demonstrating your expertise. A blog that visitors can identify with, will increase the chance they will sign up for email newsletters. Encourage comments and feedback, you will learn a lot about your potential customers this way.

Google, Bing and Yahoo are currently the three leading search engines. They are constantly upgrading their ranking algorithms to improve search results for their users. Why is this something you need to keep in mind? Because it affects whether your site will show up in search results. Recently Google introduced speed as a feature of its algorithm so your site loading time is now more important than ever. Analytical software is available to review your website loading speed. You can try  Google’s at:  https://www.developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights . The number of inbound links to your site is also an important measurement used in ranking. Want to know how many linked pages your website has? Hubspot has a feature that lets you enter your url into //marketing.grader.com and will email you a report.

Not sure where to start with improving your website and creating a blog? Give GCInfotech a call to discuss the available options that would work best for you. Together, we can make your business work smarter, faster and more efficiently.

Business Blogging(Source: Ignite Spot)