How is MiFID II Impacting Research Budgets?
At Quark our clients include innovative leaders in investment research, the majority of which are sell-side producers of research. To best serve these clients we stay active in several forums and standards groups that are watching and responding to the impacts of the new regulations. This activity, plus ongoing conversations with our clients, gives us unique insight on the impact of MiFID II in investment research marketplace. One of the most important topics on the minds of those in the industry: How is MiFID II impacting research budgets?
At this time we know that institutional investment firms are struggling to define research budgets because:
1) They don’t know how research is going to be packaged and priced. Most research producers are providing some basic pricing information in large packages, but the entire marketplace is just now being developed – so no one currently knows what the pricing and packaging will be in 1-2 years from now as the participants settle into this new marketplace.
2) The buy side is still grappling with how/when/if to charge their clients for investment. This is made considerably harder because the US is not implementing the MiFid II regulations and cross-border investment relationships make chargebacks to clients difficult to allocate, defend, and even calculate.
Another major topic the industry is grappling with is whether some managers will reduce their investment in research at the expense of client returns. This affects both the clients and their investment managers as well as potentially impacting smaller stocks and industries.
First, as investment managers will have limited budgets to spend on research, they will certainly not have access to the same quantity of research they had previously. However, they will have buying power and will be able to compare research offerings, create their own ratings and valuation measurements for research quality, and be able to demand better research from their chosen providers.
Most industry experts estimate that investment managers were receiving access to over one million research documents per year. Clearly no individual or even complete teams can consume that much information, and talk amongst investment managers is consistent: most of that content was just noise anyway. As one simple example, institutional investors who take a longer view of their investment portfolio do not really care, nor want intra-day analysis, but research producers send those reports more as a marketing and branding effort to keep their name in the investor’s view. Reducing the noise will also help the research producers to focus on and improve their highest value research.
Arguably, it takes as much or even more time and effort to research smaller companies and niche industries, but will investment managers be willing to pay the same or higher fees for research produced for these smaller segments of opportunity? Without coverage, will smaller and newer companies and sectors get less investment and therefore struggle to succeed?
Yes, there is a danger that – especially during investment volume downturns – reductions in budget for research could impact results. But that risk appears to be more than offset by the ability for investment managers to demand and receive higher quality research where the new competitive marketplace will require research producers to create better, more usable research in order to compete for their slice of those limited research budgets.
So, these two main issues intersect for producers of investment research who want to remain competitive in the era of MiFID II. Is it possible to produce high-value research while driving down research costs?
Absolutely. And to do so, forward-thinking investment research firms are looking to technology. Traditionally, research has been created in a highly manual, copy/paste work effort to create monolithic, print-focused PDF documents which are often highly repetitive in their content.
For example, a quarterly equity report will have a single, first-page summary, a longer multi-page summary, and then a series of expanded, detailed topics that are covered in the summary along with all the disclosures and disclaimers. And, as a PDF or even a static HTML file, the charts and graphs are frozen images representing snapshots of rich data and analysis models. An investment manager must work hard to get to the detail they need at any given moment, and trying to compare analysis from different producers is extremely time consuming. With their new buying power, investment managers can start to demand higher quality research: in depth and focus of content, but also in technical value to assist in their business process.
Research should be available in rich, interactive HTML supporting:
- Interactive charts and tables that allow the investment manager the same or better data tools than a personal investor using web-based investment tools
- Research documents that are richly described with metadata – this exists today and is shared between producers and distributors, but rarely is directly accessible to investors except through search fields
- Content with standardized embedded semantics so that they can easily find and even compare “Risks” between sequential research documents on the same topic by the same producer, and even better if enabled across the same topic by different producers. Another example is being able to do faceted search within one or more research documents so that searching for a specific company or ticker can be limited to that company’s name being used in specific context such as “competitor.”
Technology can help solve these problems by applying content automation to both the production of research and the consumption of research.
It isn’t clear that investors nor research producers have had the time to understand the coming changes that will be required when investors finally start taking advantage of their buying power and a competitive marketplace. Both sides have been running hard just to be able to participate in this new marketplace. But in very short order, one to two years, the new dynamics of supply and demand for research will force a dramatic improvement in the quality and value of research which could easily dwarf the benefit of MiFid II’s intend impact on research: avoiding conflicts of interest for trading banks that provide research as a free service to its investor clients.
Introducing Content Automation for Fund Marketing
Today at TSAM London Quark Software launched Content Automation for Fund Marketing – a new solution that transforms how asset management companies produce and share fund marketing material such as pitchbooks, client review presentations, fund fact sheets, commentaries and other business-critical content.
Using Quark’s Smart Content approach to content automation, asset management teams deliver customized and compliant marketing material to clients and prospects across any channel (print, web, and mobile) – all from a single source of approved content. This allows firms to connect with customers and potential customers more quickly with fewer resources.
Out with the Old, In with the New
Unlike traditional methods for creating content (in static Word documents) and reviewing content (via email or outdated content management systems) Quark Content Automation for Fund Marketing enables analysts and other subject matter experts to create structured content (Smart Content) in a familiar authoring environment. Smart Content can be easily managed, updated, tracked, analyzed and reused across any number of channels.
With the Content Automation for Fund Marketing, fund marketers can:
- Automate the creation of thousands of compliant fund marketing documents in seconds
- Enable sales reps to easily find and share valuable content with clients and prospects
- Understand how internal and external audiences engage with content and iterate based on analytics
- Take advantage powerful authoring tools, PowerPoint Smart Slide decks, rules-driven disclosure insertions, and more
Content Automation for Fund Marketing is just one way Quark’s content automation technology transforms how organizations create and engage with business-critical content. Other applications include standard operating procedures, investment research reporting, product data sheets, marketing and sales collateral, and government legislation. Visit www.quark.com or Contact Us to learn more about the benefits of content automation.
Which Sales Asset Management Solution is Right for You?
Quark recently acquired Docurated, a leader in software solutions for sales asset management. Sales asset management, also known as digital content management for sales, is a booming segment of sales enablement.
Organizations across industries are actively seeking out solutions that will make their sales teams more competitive. Docurated helps by using artificial intelligence (AI) and predictive analytics to arm sales teams with the content they need, when they need it, at any stage of the sales journey.
Need to get up to speed on the ecosystem of solutions for sales enablement? Start with Gartner’s Market Guide for Digital Content Management for Sales (DCMS). You’ll get a snapshot of the market and guidance on making the best investment for your marketing and sales organizations. The report includes:
- Critical capabilities of effective solutions for Digital Content Management for Sales (DCMS)
- The importance of content repository functions, predictive analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) in sales enablement
- Key use cases for DCMS and a list of representative vendors, including Docurated
Download your free copy of Gartner’s Market Guide for Digital Content Management for Sales.
The Next Enterprise Content Revolution: Augmented Reality
If the annual CES expo is anything to go by, 2018 appears to be the year of Augmented Reality (AR). Not only are expectations high for a record year of sales of AR systems, AR-focused startups are receiving a surge of investment. Google Glass, which recently re-emerged after a somewhat disgraceful exit from the general consumer arena, has shaken the controversies that dogged the initial beta release by focusing on industry applications. Glass is joined by a number of other head-mounted displays, such as Vuzix Blade and Microsoft HoloLens.
When thinking about the potential of AR systems in business, it’s easy to understand why Augmented Reality is receiving so much attention these days. While retail may be receiving the greatest amount of press coverage, as with the IKEA Place app that will superimpose an image of a catalog item over your device’s camera-view of your room, it is by no means the only sector taking advantage of the power of augmented reality. Areas where AR is being used in the workforce include assembly of complex systems, such as wire diagrams; construction and building maintenance with digitized blueprints; and management of quality assurance processes using checklists. AR can be useful in almost any situation where a high level of training is required or where employees need quick or hands-free access to a breadth of reference material.
We’re currently still in the early stages of AR adoption, therefore systems are not at the point where it’s easy or cheap to implement overlays of complicated diagrams on live views. However, organizations making AR investments today can start by making the business content they’ve been accruing over the years accessible to AR systems. This involves preparing content to be consumed in small chunks and searched in a way that makes sense for users of the system.
Quark’s Publishing Platform can help with both areas. The content automation offered by Publishing Platform will automate chunking or bursting of sections or regions to accommodate the compact displays of AR systems. Furthermore, Publishing Platform stores a wide variety of information about each content asset, facilitating targeted searches so that the necessary content is available when needed.
Contact us to find out more about how you can prepare for AR adoption in your business with Quark software.
Do You Really Need a Content Automation Platform?
The increasing sophistication of online technologies and the mass adoption of smartphones, tablets, and social media have created more opportunities for organizations to engage with and enable their customers, prospects, partners, and employees.
At the same time, expectations for accessing business-critical, multimedia content at the right time and in the right place have increased exponentially. Traditional approaches to content are failing in this new era of communication.
Enterprise content management (ECM), digital asset management DAM, and other content-related solutions may each play a role in the content lifecycle, but in many cases they are not integrated, frustrating to manage, and don’t do a good enough job enabling collaboration and tracking changes and updates to content. The solution that solves these challenges is content automation.
When content automation is appropriate, the results are extremely valuable. Productivity goes up, time to market is reduced, your company can support more information products without adding resources, and you can improve the quality of your content for better customer engagement. In other words, content automation will have a transformational impact on your business.
Content automation is best deployed when your business or organization creates content that has one or more of the following characteristics:
- A high volume of similar documents
- A high volume of revisions
- Frequently repeated creation processes
- Delivery in multiple formats
- Delivery with multiple presentation styles
- Translation to multiple languages
- Subject to regulation and compliance mandates
Content automation is being applied to a wide range of business-critical content types across many different industries. Here are some examples:
- Standard operating procedures
- Policies and procedures
- Fund fact sheets
- Sales collateral
- Product datasheets
- Investment Research
- Legislation and regulatory documents
- Training and instruction manuals
- Analyst reports
To find out more about content automation and if it’s right for your organization, contact Quark or download the Beginner’s Guide to Content Automation to begin learning how a content automation platform can help your business.
Quark Partners with The Semantic Web Company
Quark is thrilled to announce our partnership with The Semantic Web Company, the leading provider of graph-based metadata, search, and analytic solutions. As part of our new partnership, Quark will integrate The Semanitic Web Company’s PoolParty solution with Quark’s content automation platform.
PoolParty is middleware that helps organizations manage corporate knowledge models, extract useful knowledge from big data sets, and integrate both structured and unstructured content. We’ll integrate PoolParty with the Quark content automation platform through a lightweight API, which will enable global businesses to enrich their content semantically. The integration blends narrative content with data to improve searchability and delivery.
Advanced Metadata Informs Content Delivery
Delivering content to the right consumers at the right time requires discipline and consistency around terms and labeling. Now with PoolParty, Quark’s clients can leverage advanced metadata features to further inform the delivery of information based on consumers’ specific requirements.
“Our collaboration with the Semantic Web Company and PoolParty brings together two best-of-class platforms and unlocks the business value of digital information like nothing else on the market today,” said Dave White, Quark CTO. “The integration of our solutions facilitates the most successful initiatives around content reuse and discoverability, semantic search, machine learning, enterprise data integration, and more.”
Andreas Blumauer, CEO of Semantic Web Company and product architect of PoolParty Semantic Suite added, “PoolParty provides tools for different roles as subject matter experts, information architects, knowledge engineers and developers. It is cross-functional teams that make dynamic content management happen. Quark end users will heavily benefit from semantically enriched content.”
Read coverage of the new partnership in KMWorld.
Sebastian Gabler and Helmut Nagy of The Semantic Web Company (PoolParty) join Quark's Jason Aiken in Washington D.C. for Taxonomy Boot Camp 2017.
Money Laundering Scandal Emphasizes Need for Better Procedure Management
News breaking about the money laundering scandal in South Africa serves as a harsh reminder that even the most sophisticated organizations are susceptible to corruption. As the BBC reports, information has come to light that major global banks “may inadvertently have been conduits for laundered money.” The reports allege that £400M was illegally transferred through the banks by South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma and an affluent Indian-born family.
How is this type of exploitation even possible? While it’s very likely the banks employ Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Software, which is developed to help prevent and/or report money laundering, it may not have been enough to raise flags about suspicious activity.
AML Software can help companies meet compliance and regulatory requirements mandated by global policing organizations, but it’s not enough to manage the thousands of policies and procedures banks must rely on to manage and react to daily activity.
If true that the banks in the scandal in South Africa were “inadvertently” a conduit, the implication is one or more of the following:
- There were missing or out-of-date procedures that address the business being conducted
- These may have been human errors, or possibly transactions without much human oversight – either way there was a gap between the execution of the transactions and proper business management
- If there were appropriate, existing procedures defined, they were not followed
- The procedures may have been difficult to find, access, and/or connect to the business transactions (either via a human, or through financial software management implementation)
- Or because of intentional or possibly unintentional employee negligence
The only path that does not put banks at risk in this situation requires:
- Well-documented procedures that are up-to-date and provided in a timely manner
- Procedures that are easy to find and apply to the correct business transactions
- Consumption of procedures tracked through usage analytics and reporting, as well as frequent content and usage audits
If any of these three critical operating procedures processes cannot be proven by the bank, then the bank will likely be at risk even if there was intentional, individual employee negligence.
Global banking has some of the most complex and dynamic procedures of any business context and this story is yet another proof point that it’s not just about pushing files around a content management system. The content within policy and procedure files, how and when the procedures are used, and how easily the procedures can be associated with the appropriate business transaction is critical to the successful operations of regulated businesses.
But, it doesn’t require an enormous amount of complexity to ensure policies and procedures are effective. It’s time for global banks to adopt smarter and more automated content processes and move beyond simple word processing documents and PDFs. From content analytics, through contextual application of content, to AI and Machine Learning applications in content processing, Content Automation with Smart Content for procedure management is a requirement for modern businesses to be successful and mitigate costly risks.
8 Signs You Need Content Automation
Content automation helps organizations modernize and streamline systems and processes for creating, managing, publishing, and delivering content. And the reality is…to stay competitive and meet customer expectations, most organizations need to go beyond enterprise content management (ECM). How do you know if your company is one?
While there are a variety of issues that drive businesses to implement a content automation platform, you may not appreciate you have a problem with your content process. Here are eight signs that suggest the time has come to leave your traditional content process back in the 90s, where it belongs:
- It takes you so long to publish content that it’s nearly out-of-date by the time it gets to your customers.
- You need to publish more without increasing the size of your team.
- It is harder than ever to track who last updated your content.
- There are too many errors in your regulated documents or they are out of date.
- You need to find a way to reduce the cost of localization (or translation) of your content.
- Your customers are dissatisfied with the inconsistency of content across your web, mobile, PDF, and print collateral.
- Your employees have a hard time finding standard operating procedures.
- You are spending too much time re-creating content that you know already exists.
Sound familiar? It might be time for you to think about a content automation platform for your business.
The Critical Value of Smart Content for Artificial Intelligence (AI)
It’s the Rise of the Machines: Artificial Intelligence is here and our world is getting better every day! Except, not yet, not really, and not without a lot of work. But, hey, that describes all deployments of automation from digital assistants to paint robots.
So…what will it take to make artificial intelligence (AI) a reality? In my whitepaper “The Critical Value of Smart Content for Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning,” I investigate the state of AI today and highlight the one factor that will allow us to move beyond digital assistants to more powerful implementations of AI. In the new whitepaper I cover:
- The different types of AI: Some say there are three types, others say 33 (the lack of agreement is part of the industry challenge). I’ll explain three main types of AI, including Applied AI, General AI, and Super AI.
- The role of Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing in AI: These two concepts are critical components of Applied AI, the most commonly deployed type of AI today.
- How the Semantic Web is one key to AI success: I outline the Semantic Web and the standards developed by W3.org that are most useful in deployments of AI.
- The importance of metadata, complex rules training, and Big Data to AI: These are great starts to informing an AI system, and I explain why – and what’s missing.
Lastly, I’ll define the ideal description of content that should feed an AI system. It’s known as Smart Content, and it will help us all achieve the highest return on investment when implementing Artificial Intelligence.
To learn more, download the whitepaper “The Critical Value of Smart Content for Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.”
About the Author
Dave White is Chief Technology Officer for Quark Software. An engineer by training with over two decades defining standards for content automation, White is on the forefront of technologies shaping the future of content. He works with customers and partners across industries to develop and implement transformative solutions for creating, managing, publishing and delivering business-critical content.
Adopting Content Automation
Now that you’ve conducted a content audit, designed your content strategy, and considered content management options, it’s time to adopt a solution. At Quark we advocate content automation for enterprise organizations that create content that has one or more of the following characteristics:
- A high volume of similar content
- A high volume of revisions
- Frequently repeated creation processes
- High possibility of reuse
- Regulated by the government, industry and/or company
- Translation to multiple languages
- Delivery in multiple formats (PDF, Web, print, mobile, etc.)
- Requires input from databases and other systems
When content automation is appropriate, the results are extremely valuable. Productivity goes up, time to market is reduced, you can support more content products without adding resources, and you improve the quality of your content.
So, how can you identify potential content automation solutions and avoid some common pitfalls? As you get started on your content automation journey and weigh potential solutions you will want to consider the importance of the following aspects. Refer back to the results of your content audit and content strategy to outline the following requirements:
List how many authors, collaborators, and reviewers are a part of your content creation and review processes. Consider how this team may grow in the future.
List the systems your content operations currently interact with and the systems it will need to interact with. This will help determine how extensible your solution must be.
Security and Compliance
Make a list of regulatory mandates that your company must follow, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA), the Sarbanes Oxley Act, and any enterprise privacy policies.
Ability to Create and Deliver Multi-Channel Output
Make a list of the type of content you create today and will need to create in the future to best interact with your customers, partners, and employees. Your content automation solution must support the range of output you list.
Share requirements in these areas with your selected content automation vendors and it will help you short list the software options. While evaluating the content automation solutions that make the cut, it is also important to be cognizant of and escape some common pitfalls. Some hazards to avoid:
- Avoid focusing your search for a content automation solution only to one that will support only current requirements but rather target a solution that can grow with you.
- Do not focus your requirements on one area of content automation – authoring or web content, for example.
- Do not think software will solve all your content problems. In parallel to new software implementations, it is critical to update standard processes and business rules and adhere to formal change management tactics.
- Do not execute a project without executive sponsorship. If you do not have buy-in from the top, securing resources and effecting change will be more difficult.
- Do not be afraid to lean on the experience and knowledge of your content automation platform vendor. Your vendor may be able to offer best practices for transforming your entire content lifecycle from creation to delivery.
Are you taking the next step to advance your content strategy? Contact Quark to schedule a discovery meeting and our team will help determine if content automation is right for you. You can also download your free copy of the Beginner’s Guide to Content Automation today!