So, you’ve decided to equip your organization with an intelligent Information Management System (IMS). Fantastic! According to a global survey by the Association for Financial Professionals in collaboration with the research firm APQC:
“Financial planning and analysis (FP&A) professionals spend 75% of their time gathering data or administering the process, and the biggest reason is inadequate systems and tools.”
This leads to:
- Rising business expenses and slow decision-making
- Non-searchable and non-retrievable information
- Lost opportunities, lower ROI
- Loss of institutional knowledge
An intelligent IMS tool can help you avoid these pitfalls.
As you begin to assess various solutions, the question becomes: what should you consider? To properly evaluate a potential solution, it's best to measure it against a list of must-have and preferred features that meet your specific needs.
Let’s dive in.
What to look for in an Information Management System
An IMS solves a lot of problems and to choose the best solution for your needs, it’s important to know the three broad systems of what an IMS consists of.
- System of records
- System of processing
- System of engagement
System of records
This category focuses on how data of a company/organization organizes and stores their data from various sources in a centralized repository. And, below are the essential features that a system of records should be backed by:
1. Data integration capabilities: As a financial company, you deal with extremely high volumes of information coming at you from disparate sources. When you receive a flurry of chats and emails from multiple apps everywhere, it’s easy to miss out on crucial information from high-value sources like investors, industry experts, and more.
Proprietary information sources don’t let you access information from your personal network or sources of your choice like social media, blogs, news sites.
So, working with an Information Management System that integrates data from multiple sources that you track daily like websites, financial reports, emails, chats - and organizing them in a single view, should be the first things to look out for.
2. Streaming Updates: The financial industry is time-sensitive. If analysts at your company are unable to find important information flowing in real-time, then you could miss out on time-sensitive updates.
An intelligent information system would allow you to access streaming information from RSS feeds, Slack, WhatsApp messages etc - without missing a beat.
3. Excluding the noise: Traditionally, analysts at your organization spend hours tagging and classifying the data gathered from various sources like websites, social media, documents, etc. Filtering out all the noise and extracting the right information would also be a largely manual process.
As the volumes of information are ever-growing, such processes become unfeasible, error-prone, and unreliable.
An information management workspace automates repetitive tasks, such as sorting, tagging, or filtering data, regardless of the the place, format, and the source of the information.
4. Reports and Regulatory Filings : As a financial company, insights from regulatory filings are one of your major sources of truth. And this information, though publicly available, is not easily accessible.
With an AI-powered IMS, that incorporates regulatory data, your teams can find just the information they’re looking for with selective filtering. Such as - indices, filing categories, dates, and companies
You can search across conference calls transcripts, presentations, or pdf format filings. Scanned documents of company reports become searchable like a text document. - add some link: just the filings you need of the companies you are targeting should be organized in the tool for you
System of processing
This aspect focuses on how quickly an organization can make use of structured or unstructured information, understand it, add it to their financial reports to make business decisions.
5. Setting up personalized feeds: If your organization is managing investments in a particular industry, then getting updates from high quality sources related to the industry is essential. It decreases the efficiency of the analysts working at your company, if they have to constantly filter the noise to access high signal information. This reduces your teams bandwidth to find and explore more investment ideas or even dig deeper into the ones they are exploring
Look for an IMS, that lets you set up curated data feeds, wherein you can have streaming information about a topic from your trusted sources in real-time, while letting you prioritize and filter certain contacts/data sources over others. This will save your team from going to multiple websites and apps to track companies. Moreover, they can prioritize the sources so as to never miss an important announcement.
For instance, you can set up a feed of your portfolio that auto-populates updates from regulatory filings, any information or reports from your network - based on the topic or theme you are tracking. And, presents everything you need to know about that company in a single view, whenever a company from your portfolio files a financial statement or other such disclosures.
6. Universal search: When you’re conducting diligence on a potential acquisition, or providing investment recommendations to your clients, it gets hard to remember where a piece of information that could be crucial to making that decision, came from.
An intelligent information management workspace uses AI (artificial intelligence) to help your teams search through all connected sources, irrespective of the data format. Whether the information is buried deep within files, or if it's in private, and non-searchable public content. i.e.; regulatory filings, Twitter, documents, and more
The ideal search that meets your company’s needs should not be driven by popularity of results by search engines, but by sophisticated filters used to get hyper-focused results.
After firing a search, all the relevant keywords should get highlighted in the search results, even without opening the link.
7. Converting data formats: If your team gets stuck in trivial things like finding critical information like financial statements in images or formats that can’t be copy-pasted or added to the financial reports, then they end up taking screenshots, or creating spreadsheets manually.
This process takes up a lot of time that can be invested elsewhere.
Extract information by converting text/table from PDF/images easily with an AI-powered Information Management System that provides these conversions at a click of a button.
8. Sentiment Analysis: Sifting through 100-page documents and call transcripts on a daily basis is time-consuming and error-prone. Researching a single company takes anywhere from 1-3 weeks to prepare investment-related recommendations.
As mentioned earlier, hours of manual grunt work can be tedious and lead to missed opportunities or patterns.
An AI-powered IMS generates auto-summaries with sentiment analysis so that analysts can quickly grasp the vital information at a glance, without sifting through several pages of the call’s transcripts line-by-line.
System of engagement
This aspect focuses on how employees of an organization interact with each other by utilizing the information available in the system of record or capturing new information to add to the records. And, below are the essential features that a system of engagement should be backed by:
9. Information sharing and collaboration: Sharing data is a challenge for research analysts as they must attach heavy documents, or take screenshots of the most relevant information and add them to emails or chats. This practice leads to duplication of efforts, redundant data, and overall data chaos when someone’s left out of the loop.
An information management system that works for you, should allow centralized sharing of static and streaming data - with peers or the entire organization. This data includes documents, PDFs, images, updates from social media, and even carefully curated feeds with just a link.
With centralized sharing comes centralized interactions. People in your organization talk about a topic in one place. So, you not only limit the copies that are created of the same file in your system, but discussions get centralized, breaking data silos and keeping everyone in the loop.
Such a system helps you build an information management workspace where an entire organization can discuss with comments and share data easily - break data silos and build institutional memory, by design - without any extra effort.
10. Note taking on the go: Dealing with massive amounts of information is a task in itself, finding the right information and noting it somewhere becomes another. If the teams are working on a non-editable file, which is mostly the case for analysts - it becomes tedious to switch tabs and take notes manually. It further results in loss of productivity and repetitive context switching.
An intelligent information management system should let the users create notes wherever they’re reading. No context switching at all! Embedding content of a wide variety i.e., chats, tweets, or links with a single click.
11. Providing access controls: If there’s some information that only high level affiliates should know, sharing information with the right people shouldn’t be a task. This manual process of sending repetitive emails, or sending slack messages separately could have the potential for unauthorized access to sensitive information, or some information doesn’t reach the right people on time.
An information management system that’s really worth your company’s while - would let you define who gets to access a certain piece of information, and the duration for which they can access it. You can also decide who gets to access your data feeds or add notes to a team’s research.
Business Impact with an Intelligent Information Management System
Your organization can expect:
- a 35% reduction in time spent on non-core activities such as data gathering, organization, sorting, and sharing
- complete elimination of manual processes in research and analysis, thanks to automated classification of data along with auto-summaries
- up to 50% decrease in time-to-insight because of a 360-degree view of company assets, exchange data, and more via a single platform with AI-powered search and advanced filters
- 30+ hours (per person) saved each month with intelligent data search and discovery
Every organization has different information management needs
Your requirements from your IMS greatly depend on factors like your team or organization size, the types of clients you deal with, the issues you’re facing, your company's priorities, etc. That’s why it’s important to start with identifying gaps within your information management processes and list out your IMS must-haves before you choose a solution. This helps in ensuring successful implementation of your new IMS tool and quick ROI.
Needl.ai provides a comprehensive IMS solution. It has all the necessary features to streamline your information management process. We encourage you to book a demo with us to see how our IMS solution can improve your data management practices and drive better decision-making.
If you’re still feeling unsure and would like to speak with experts about what features your team needs and how an IMS can help you with the problem of information overload, you can get in touch with our team here.