A poster caught my eye during a recent visit to the Big Bang Data exhibition in London. The poster prompted me to think about this digital age, and was a reminder of my constant, total immersion in a sea of data.
As a result, I began thinking about the work we do here at Kurtosys. One of our challenges is providing clients with the best possible results, while maintaining the qualities we hold dear. Thankfully, we deal with a gentle wave of data on most days, rather than drowning in an overwhelming tsunami of information.
Delivering a positive client experience involves meticulous monitoring of details, right from the beginning. This is a key contributor to our success, and is what we define as “The Discovery Phase.”
However, a strong start is only half of the battle. The foundation for successful delivery is the ability to sift through waves upon waves of business and data requirements effectively, from the get-go. Analyzing these requirements, along with recognizing any potential pitfalls before they occur, help to ensure a satisfied clientele.
So, how does Kurtosys go about doing this? Read more about the three components of the “Discovery Phase,” which enable us to successfully ride the data wave.
#1 Gap analysis and working with clients’ data
One of our PM/BA’s analyze a client’s current offerings compared to what they want done in the project. This information is reviewed in detail against the business requirements and sample data provided. This is done so that it may be determined how the data can be transferred, loaded into our data base, and presented in the new website in a way that best reflects both the clients’ and our company ethos.
The gap analysis includes recommendations for the client in regards to what may be the best way to implement a specific requirement. (It should be noted that this can involve making un-popular choices, but more on that later.)
After the gap analysis, comes the stage where we make suggestions on how data (such as performance charts) can be rendered. Kurtosys shows clients examples from previous implementations to assist the client in visualizing their data. Clientele may choose from a library, or may request Kurtosys come up with a completely original chart design, which is specific to their business.
Often, we are asked questions such as, “Is it advisable to have fund cards displaying basic data that can expand to show full fund details, or do we show all key fund information in the fund page?”
Clients typically display strong opinions on both design and data. Arriving at a stage where development work can commence is a collaborative process.
#2 Development – the agile way
At Kurtosys, we have adopted an agile design and development process. This involves having daily scrums with our clients where we give clients a preview of the fund tools we are building. This in turn enables us to receive useful client feedback as early in the process as possible.
There was once an instant in which a client was adamant about showing investment limits prefixed with the relevant currency for the fund share class, as opposed to showing the currency code in the table header label. We implemented what the client requested and discovered that there was not enough space within the table to properly display the data. As a result, the table design malfunctioned, making the site appear cluttered. In the end, we worked together towards a solution and reverted to the original design recommended by Kurtosys.
Often, we have multiple iterations of the design, as well as input on the layout of tools, before a final agreement on the designs is reached.
#3 Choices and compromise
Sometimes clients are sure of what they want and it works. Other times, it doesn’t.
The key to success is knowing when to comprise and when to give our clients choices. This does not need to be an arduous process. With each new client comes a new opportunity to do things differently. Asset managers, with the ability to filter through an overwhelming tsunami of information, will find that they are able to see their own data in a new (dare we say, beautiful?) light.