Discover our latest report Investment Banking Software 2024: Challenges, Trends and Strategies

Investment banking software: how to choose the right solution and effectively deploy it

Tariq Sinnetamby
Content Specialist
June 11, 2024

Across the investment banking sector, strategic investments in technology are pivotal for driving bottom-line success. As a sector where nearly a third of employees are spending 40 hours a week in Microsoft 365 alone, investment banking software – be it for document generation, reporting automation, or even brand compliance – can have a significant impact when it comes to boosting productivity, and raising the bottom line.

However, 68% of investment banks are wasting up to a quarter of their budget on tools that are not being used. It all comes down to poor training, ineffective change management, and decentralized tech stacks.   

So when it comes to investing in new tech, how do you ensure you choose a solution that will deliver long-term value to your teams?                              

We surveyed over 600 IT and Transformation professionals in global investment banks to find out how they’re approaching strategic tech investments in 2024 and beyond. Read on to find out how to choose a software that best fits your needs, and how to efficiently deploy it across your teams.

Assess your tech requirements

First off, start by assessing the requirements of your team. If you’ve already done this, skip to here: Decide whether to build or buy.

Evaluate your existing processes to identify gaps and areas for improvement. Are there any bottlenecks in your workflows? Are there any inefficient or under-used software that could be replaced?

What investment banking software should I prioritize?

It’s important to consider which area of your processes needs improving. Is it a virtual data room to manage the deal cycle, specialized research tools, or a solution to automate bankers’ workflows in PowerPoint?

Do my bankers need AI or automation?

It’s hard to have a conversation about tech for investment banking without talking about AI; however, ask yourself first, do my bankers need AI or automation?

Amongst IT leaders in the US, for example, over a third feel confident about generative AI’s impact on the bottom line, yet only 24% are willing to invest; most likely due to the potential security and compliance risks it might introduce.

If your teams are hoping to speed up manual tasks like updating market data between Excel and PowerPoint in their pitchbooks, they might consider automation software first. If advanced analytics, internal knowledge sharing, or meeting transcription are on your radar, you may have a stronger case for AI.

Decide whether to build or buy

When it comes to tech solutions for investment banks, the build vs buy question is always top of mind.

Historically, banks would invest considerable resources on building their internal tech stack. However, with the rise of more specialized third-party solutions, we found that more and more investment banks are looking outward instead of building in-house.

Building and maintaining an internal software solution can be a drain on resources. Despite the advantages of being able to customize a tool to your exact needs, building software in-house requires constant testing and maintenance when rolled out to front-line teams.

Not to mention, unanticipated roadblocks can disrupt development and rollout if they catch teams off-guard. Across the board, compliance and regulatory requirements are the main deterrent from building in-house solutions; though the increasing need for scalability and use-case flexibility within bulge bracket firms is also driving them towards third-party providers.

There are some exceptions, such as Blackrock’s portfolio management software, Aladdin, or the GPT-based proprietary AI solutions coming from PwC, Goldman Sachs, or Bloomberg; however, opting to build across a variety of use-cases and teams can spread resources thin and lead to inconsistencies in quality across the board.

In light of this difficulty, we found that close to 60% of digital transformation and IT teams are now sourcing over half of their tech stacks from external providers.

In this next section, we’ll look at how leading investment banks are evaluating these external providers.

Conduct market research and software evaluation

After assessing your needs, it’s time to search for a solution that will fit them. Be as thorough as possible here; any footfalls you identify here will be ones you avoid down the line.

During your software selection process, it’s essential to consider a few key questions:

Are they use-case and industry-specific?

92% of investment banks are using automation solutions tailored to either their industry or team-specific use cases. Assess how much of the tool’s functionality encompasses your team’s workflow. The closer the overlap, the smoother the implementation and the greater the benefits.

Software solutions with a specific industry focus will have features designed to answer some of the industry’s unique problems. If a tech vendor has a lot of client testimonials for investment banking, it’s more likely that their functionality will support your firm’s needs.

Are they an all-in-one solution?

29% of IT and innovation teams are prioritizing consolidating their tech stack with all-in-one solutions, when it comes to searching for new software. If a vendor offers functionality over multiple platforms it will drive smoother adoption and scalability across your whole business.

Will they be responsive to my needs?

Aside from the strength of the product, it’s also important to choose a vendor that offers consistent support and value down the line. That’s why over two-thirds of banks are committing to stricter vendor SLAs and internal due diligence during the buying process, trying to suppress any potential risks as early as possible. Within these SLAs, dedicated adoption and deployment support and clear ROI metrics are top priority for investment banks today.

Getting these right will have a considerable impact on your long-term ROI. As part of your search, consider issuing a RFP where you will be able to define your requirements in full detail to match with the most suitable provider.

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Effectively deploy your software solution

Having chosen your desired investment banking software, it’s now time for the deployment phase. The implementation and adoption phase can make or break the ROI you get from a new tech investment.

Follow the below steps to ensure a smooth deployment of your chosen solution:

Step 1: Establish a project plan

Develop a detailed project plan outlining timelines, milestones, resources, and responsibilities. Establish key performance indicators (KPIs) to monitor beyond the deployment phase so you effectively track your productivity gain.

Step 2: Organize a phased rollout

Implement the software in phases, starting with a pilot group before a full-scale deployment. A strong change management approach can have a considerable impact on long-term success.

Step 3: Create a training and support plan

Organize dedicated training plans to ensure your team is benefitting the most from the tool’s functionality. Some investment banking software providers will do this for you, working with your internal teams to ensure smooth roll-out and implementation.

Step 4: Implement a feedback cycle

Establish a feedback mechanism to collect user experiences and suggestions for improvement. UpSlide relies heavily on the feedback of our users in financial services to continue delivering the best possible support for their workflows. We’ve developed features in partnership with Alvarez & Marsal, KPMG, BNP Paribas, and other key players across financial advisory and investment banking.

Following these steps will ensure the smoothest deployment of your chosen investment banking software.

Ensure success post-deployment

With any investment banking software, your success is not limited to the initial rollout. It’s important to have steps in place to maintain performance and true productivity gain down the line. Here are some steps that investment banking tech teams are taking to ensure long-term ROI on their latest software purchases:

Conduct a performance review

Assess the performance of the new software against the initial objectives and key performance indicators (KPIs). This should collate user feedback and performance data to highlight what areas are going well, along with clear ROI metrics to ease your reporting to senior management down the line.

Plan for regular updates and maintenance

Anticipate regular updates, patches, and ongoing maintenance to ensure the software remains up-to-date and secure. Software providers with a responsive support team, or auto-update functionality, will help make this seamless on your end.

Continue onboarding and training

As your chosen solution develops new functionality, it’s essential to keep your bankers making the most of the software in the long-term. In partnership with your vendor, aim to run regular training sessions to accommodate new users (such as incoming graduates or interns), and update old users on new improvements.

Conclusion

Most banks will have entered 2024 with a reduced budget, making it essential to maximize the value gained from each investment banking software purchase. Whether it’s document automation, AI, or cybersecurity, choosing a vendor that understands and responds to your needs is crucial. The banks that successfully implement their chosen tech solutions will be the ones to see the greatest competitive gains through 2025 and beyond.

TL;DR

  • Strategic tech investments drive productivity: Investment banking heavily relies on technology, with employees spending increasing amounts of time in Microsoft 365. Effective software solutions can boost productivity and improve the bottom line.

  • Avoid tech wastage: 68% of investment banks waste up to a quarter of their budget on unused tools due to poor training, ineffective change management, and decentralized tech stacks. Choosing the right software early on will help avoid this.

  • Thoroughly assess and select software: Conduct a detailed assessment of your tech requirements, decide between building or buying, and rigorously evaluate market options to find a software solution that meets your specific needs.

  • Ensure smooth deployment: Implement the chosen software effectively with a well-structured project plan, phased rollout, comprehensive training, and continuous feedback cycles to maximize ROI.

  • Maintain long-term success: Post-deployment, conduct performance reviews, plan for regular updates, and continue training to ensure sustained productivity and value from the investment.

Tariq Sinnetamby
Tariq is a Content Specialist at UpSlide. A branding enthusiast with a keen interest in emerging technologies, Tariq sits within our Marketing team. He also has over 2+ years of marketing experience across the online food delivery, travel, and technology sectors.

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