The financial markets and technology have been linked together since the inception of the ticker in the 1920s. In an industry where time truly is money, technology has always played a vital role.
But what separates private equity firms from other financial service firms, such as banking and insurance, is the need for instantaneous delivery and retrieval of data and transactional information. In a deal-driven environment where investment professionals are seeking out underperforming companies to assess and strengthen their value, sub-second lapses in technology can affect critical time-based decisions on which companies to fund and help grow into the future. And that means the way technology is used internally can provide a competitive advantage.
For smaller firms - like Atlanta-based Sneed Investment Advisors - where information technology (IT) isn't a core competency, sustaining an internal IT department can be inefficient, costly, and distracting. Initially, in attempt to fulfill its requirements, this emerging business turned to an outsourced IT provider to cover everything from computers and network infrastructure, to deciding what equipment they'd require in the future.
But with SIA growing quickly and its IT provider lagging behind, CEO Mark Sneed knew it was time to make a tough decision. With IT issues on the rise and a planned office move around the corner, he needed to take control of the situation and find a new solution.
Hiring an internal IT resource didn't make sense for the 25-person firm, and solo consultants couldn't offer the services or round-the-clock coverage that SIA required. Mark knew that outsourcing was still the right solution, but in order to prevent the challenges he and SIA faced with their previous provider, he needed to find a solution that offered more than just technical expertise.
That's when he bet big on Qanta to manage everything the firm needed to keep its IT infrastructure safe, accessible, and operational. And today, Mark's choice is paying off.
Today, SIA no longer worries about lack of communication, slow issue resolution, or unfamiliar engineers due to turnover. By using Qanta's Online Client Portal, anyone at SIA can log service requests and monitor their resolution progress in real time. And because of Qanta's unique team-based engineering structure, Mark is assured that if anything were to happen to his primary on-site engineer, he would receive a secondary engineer who is familiar with both SIA's network and people.
For me, says Mark, "the biggest benefit is that Qanta has taken ownership for the network. They've identified problems we hadn't noticed and opened our eyes to possibilities we hadn't considered. And they've done it with great competence and professionalism. Add to that, they're very responsive and detailed. That's a big difference from the way things used to be. Qanta has effectively relieved me - a numbers guy- from my IT management duties, and I couldn't be happier."
All 25 of us rely on Qanta's expertise and prompt response. Now, the weight is off my shoulders and I can give my undivided attention to my core job responsibilities.
Qanta has also helped SIA improve its network in a variety of other ways:
- Single point-of-management proactively monitors disk and drive space on individual machines, preventing untimely machine failures;
- Patches managed, approved, and deployed from Qanta's Network Operations Center;
- Spam and viruses filtered before they enter the SIA environment;
- Blocking and filtering of e-mail in real time; and
- Planning for future enhancements and investments, including laptop and software upgrades.
The decision to switch from one outsourced IT provider to another carried a substantial amount of uncertainty. But for Mark it's a decision he's not looking back on.
The chase for attractive deals is creating competition. As a result, getting a head start on the competition by leveraging technology has become critical in allowing investment professionals to focus on creating value and deal flow. And that means technology is too critical to leave to anyone but the experts.
Sneed Investment Advisors (SIA)