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16 July 2020

Adaptation Strategies: SS&C Advent “Homeshows” Foster Client Interaction

By Heidi Cheema

In this extraordinary year, SS&C Advent’s Client Success team canceled our popular roadshows in various cities in the interest of safety. These client gatherings provided attendees the opportunity to see the latest product developments, provided a platform for networking and sharing best practices, and allowed us to collect valuable feedback. We know our clients placed high value on the peer-to-peer roundtable discussions to learn how firms are managing operations, collective business issues, and mitigating compliance.

In conversations with clients during quarantine, it is abundantly clear we were all missing peer interaction. It only made sense to replace our roadshows with “homeshows” – virtual gatherings of clients logging in from their personal spaces across the country.

Based on pre-event survey results, we learned attendees were naturally eager to speak with their peers about strategies for adapting to the pause. Questions around how the stay-at-home order affected business; what the transition to working remotely entailed; managing security and privacy; and plans for returning to some semblance of normal.

Despite the initial sense of dislocation, homeshow attendees reported they made the transition from the office to work-from-home fairly quickly and most agreed their productivity had not been adversely affected.  Firms using Advent Outsourcing Services specifically affirmed they moved smoothly to the “new normal,” and saw no material changes in service. As one person put it, having AOS made operations “the least of my concerns, so I could sweat everything else.” The transition also provided firms with the opportunity to test their business continuity plans and identify gaps that might otherwise have remained hidden.

Cybersecurity consistently ranked among the top concerns voiced during the homeshows. Some client firms asked employees to have home internet security protocols in place and consciously limit the number of devices accessing their networks. Many firms also had to add VPN licenses to ensure necessary system access. Noting an uptick in fraudulent and phishing emails, select firms contracted worked with compliance consultants to review practices and procedures with their teams. And some went so far as to switch IT providers for more robust security controls. 

Recognizing the obvious challenges of working from home, many firms found creative solutions to support dispersed teams – from regular “quaranteam” meetings to daily one-to-one check-ins, after-hours informal gatherings and team games. Overall, our homeshow attendees leveraged the opportunity and experiences of the past few months, in a positive light. Teams have proven resilient in their ability to serve clients and sustain relationships.

At the time of the homeshows, none of the firms represented had definitive plans for returning to their offices. We are all envisioning a vastly reshaped workplace when the time comes. What is clear is this experience has elevated the need for more agile and flexible work-from-home policies, as remote work and staggered office schedules may be the norm.

Convening these virtual gatherings is just one way we are helping clients manage through this event. If your firm is rethinking its operations in light of lessons learned from the quarantine, check out our blog or recorded webinar on "Key Technology and Compliance Considerations" addressing building a resilience during and after COVID-19. You might also be interested in a case study showing how one firm leveraged Advent Outsourcing Services to position itself for this changing work environment.