Ensuring the Delivery of New Products
Product Development is multi-disciplinary; requiring a knowledge of product and investment strategy, an understanding of the end-to-end investment management process, effective stakeholder management and disciplined project management.
Delivery of a new product requires the participation of multiple business teams and external providers, each responsible for one or more deliverables. Successful delivery is dependent on successful project management, enabling the Product Development Team to focus on specialist high value activities of strategy and design. The management of these projects should seek to augment product specialists with flexible resources to avoid capacity constraints ensuring delivery. Every new product creates a sizeable 'tail' of activity that follows the strategy and design. It is this 'tail' that requires additional resource.
Every product launch requires five distinct activities, each engaging many different teams across an Investment Manager. The five stages are; product design, product build, operational capability (readiness), product launch and post launch activities.
Product design includes an impact assessment and feasibility study against the high-level product specification; Does the business have the skills and capability to launch and run the product? The design stage reviews the structure of the product, performs some market research and regulatory screening. The Target Operating Model (TOM) should be reviewed and changes to the existing operating model highlighted during the design stage. A business case should be prepared, reviewed and signed off.
Product build completes the exact definition of the product and involves staff from across the business. Involvement from legal, regulatory and compliance is required together with effort from the sales and marketing team. The project board should be established to complete the project build stage and to ensure the relevant third parties are appointed. The project team will coordinate an important set of tasks during this stage. These will include; creating the prospectus, gaining regulatory approval, registration, preparing contracts and ISDAs. The sales and marketing team will be tasked with the marketing plan and complementary PR activities. RFPs will be written and issued, leading to subsequent due diligence checks and contract negotiations.
Operational readiness ensures the investment manager is 'scaled up' and prepared for the product launch. All affected functions, both internal and external, will assess their readiness in terms of people, process and technology. They should agree how they will prepare for the launch and sign off their readiness. The operating model itself will also be checked to ensure it is capable of supporting the launch.
The product launch involves the management of client applications and the transfer of assets. These investment administration activities will be complemented by further PR and sales driven activities. The project plan will include these tasks, identify the many dependencies and accurately schedule the timing and resources required.
The following diagram provides an overview of the high-level tasks and functions that need to be coordinated into a robust project plan to ensure successful product delivery.
ISC's consultants have many years' experience of providing 'hands on' project management and advisory services to investment management organisations. Our skill set and experience places us in a unique position to assist a Product Development Team to deliver its product strategy.
ISC provides a credible, flexible resourcing option that augments the Product Development Team allowing, its product specialists to focus on the high value add activities of product strategy and design. ISC has an experienced pool of product delivery consultants with the skills to 'hit the ground running.' These consultants are first and foremost business change professionals proficient in helping Investment Managers to successfully deliver projects of all types and scale. We bring a wealth of experience and a disciplined project management approach to each new product delivery. This ensures certainty of delivery against launch dates with certainty over quality and cost. Stakeholder confidence is enhanced in the capability of the Product Development Team to engage and deliver in a structured way. Our framework is founded on core project management disciplines and helps develop the Product Development Team's own change skills.
The need to react quickly to new market opportunities can lead to the Product Development Team becoming a 'bottleneck' that slows up the launch of commercially attractive products, or results in the use of expensive legal resources to bridge the gap. ISC offers a cost effective resource solution to resolving capacity shortfalls.