How to Solve Challenges of Technology Implementation in Capital Markets Firms

January 16, 2024
6 min

Even though capital markets technology delivers tangible results for the industry, for many firms it is still not easy to start the implementation process nor realize those elusive results at the end of the journey.

In partnership with Revel Stark, Director of Business Development at Innovative Capital Commercial, we took the opportunity to talk about the benefits of leveraging Salesforce for Capital Markets, the challenges in implementing technology for capital markets firms and some creative ways of how those can be solved.



Challenges of Digital Transformation in Capital Markets

From bureaucratic approaches towards handling data to traditionally messy system architectures, there are numerous factors that have contributed to slowing down digital transformation in capital markets for years.

When it comes to integrating capital markets CRM software, the main difficulty lies in understanding and determining how to make changes to these, often ageing, legacy systems. But this is just the tip of the iceberg.

To more acutely define some of the fundamental concerns around digital transformation in capital markets, we have talked to Revel Stark, who had worked hand in hand with the Ascendix team to implement a new CRM system to allow their loan offices to take on more clients, do more loans, and ultimately drive more revenue.

Here is his personal perspective on why capital markets have been reluctant to change.

Data Security

Capital Markets firms operate with various data: on the trading side, they have all sorts of trading and price data regarding equities, rates, credit, derivatives, etc. But more importantly, they host data on payments, credit cards, lending and mortgages, default rates on industrial loans, trade finance, etc.

Such data is very sensible and must be stored securely. And if safety precautions are overlooked in the earliest planning stages, the organization will be exposed to some real cybersecurity risks, which will obviously wipe out all the positive changes previously introduced by digital transformation.

Thus, the only viable option for capital markets firms wanting to upgrade their legacy systems seems to be implementing a solution with high data security adaptation and/or partnering with a responsible CRM consultant who would be able to spot system vulnerabilities right off the bat.



Problems of Integrating New Technology with Existing Applications

Capital markets processes are usually torn between tightly coupled applications, databases and devices, which creates close dependencies that are difficult to untangle. While many of these disparate tools can be legitimately replaced by a single CRM solution or software with industry-oriented features, others cannot be simply abandoned.

Instead, organizations sometimes must find ways of modernizing legacy systems to allow newer digital platforms and technologies to integrate with them more seamlessly.

This can be as simple as creating new interfaces in existing systems to feed them with the necessary data or linking all existing systems into an integrated ecosystem that automatically captures data and prepopulates forms and documents with it.

Either way, such modifications create substantial implementation costs at the beginning and profound maintenance expenses on an ongoing basis, leaving almost no chance for firms to support this internally. So even if capital market firms were to get the software for free, integrating new technology without sufficient technical resources would still be a headache.

Regulatory Constraints

Whatever their merits, regulations are costly for firms to comply with. And since digital technologies tend to develop faster than the regulation or social structures governing them, uncertainty about regulatory enforcement presents even greater concerns.

Even though 14% of Capital Market firms believe that more automated regulatory compliance drives profitability, regulatory constraints still slow down Capital Markets tech advancement.

In the video below Revel Stark talks about the challenges of capital markets tech adoption more specifically.

How to Maximize Capital Markets Technology ROI?

When businesses are planning to leverage technology, in addition to the listed-above challenges, there’s always the measurement stick of return on investment (ROI). What needs to be in place in order to maximize the chances of getting a solid ROI on this technology?

Firstly, when leveraging technology, you must set up clear goals this technology has to achieve. Secondly, you need to enhance your team to adopt the tech, so that they can ultimately achieve that ROI that you're looking for.

-Revel Stark, Director of Business Development at Innovative Capital Commercial

In other words, it’s adopting new strategies and marrying them with your team that drives ultimate ROI, rather than simply installing or configuring/customizing a new system and telling your employees to switch from the apps they’ve used for years.

If you conceptualize technology implementation in that way, capital markets leaders have to do much more from the change management perspective: they need to alter processes, add or eliminate jobs or entire departments, and more importantly, educate their employees about the ultimate benefits for each of them to ensure they will leverage the new platform to contribute to that ROI that you’re looking for.

Get Success with Capital Markets CRM

AscendixRE for Capital Markets is designed specifically to cover the needs of industry players. Book a demo to see how it works.

Solutions to Capital Markets Technology Implementation Challenges

Here is what Revel Stark advises to those struggling to overcome the challenges of Capital Markets tech implementation.

It’s a Journey, Not a Sprint

The process of technology implementation in capital markets is illustrated by comparing it with driving down the freeway – you can only see so far ahead of yourself. And as you get to the top of the next hill, you see all the new challenges and hurdles in front of you.

The same goes for improvement opportunities. For many of our customers who haven’t used a mature CRM system, creative ideas start to become clearer only after they have experienced some of the simple benefits of a CRM tool. For example, not having been exposed to advanced CRM features before, they often struggle to define what a meaningful dashboard should contain or how interfaces should be designed in order to glean business intelligence.

So, whether you are dealing with capital markets tech challenges or trying to define opportunities for Improvement, having patience is key.

Get Your Team to Understand That It’s Going to Be a Difficult but Worthwhile Change

To make digital transformation in your firm seamless, you must set the right expectation with your team, be patient and make sure everyone has a growth mindset. An innovation must offer an obvious advantage over whatever it replaces, or potential users will have little incentive to use it.

It is also imperative to create a safe environment for people to freely and willingly share their perspectives on organizational changes. And although it is patently impossible to involve all users in the choice and/or development of an innovation, that is no excuse not to involve their feedback on the new system performance.

I listen to the pain points of my team, and I create solutions around those pain points and then introduce it to them saying: “These are the ways that we're looking to speed up your process and remove administrative you don't really like doing through automation."

-Revel Stark, Director of Business Development at Innovative Capital Commercial

Measure Twice and Cut Once

Think through what you want to build and then build to that. You can always make changes in adaptations but get ready for a domino effect.

For example, in the middle of the development process we made some changes that ultimately changed about 30% of the logic of the system and it derailed us for a good 6 to 8 months of having to reconstruct the software to make a better solution.

It was a painful lesson to learn for sure.

Setting expectations is key. Also setting very clear goals of what you want to accomplish and getting alignment all up and down the organization that there will be challenges. And if you're not aligned and you don't have that clear vision of what you're trying to accomplish, those ebbs and flows, those valleys can end up becoming skirmish points that end up stalling, if not killing the project.

- Wesley D. Snow, Co-Founder and President of Ascendix Technologies

Let Technology Transform Your Capital Markets Firm

The capital markets digital transformation is paving the way for a more productive, transparent, and streamlined future for dealmakers. Implementing and transferring to purpose-built technology helps successfully tackle multilayered goals and workstreams.

Stay on top of the innovation and let the Capital Markets technology empower your firm with the tools you need to enhance productivity and gain a competitive edge for the future of dealmaking.

Ready to transfer to an industry-centered capital markets CRM? Schedule AscendixRE for Capital Markets demo today.


What is Capital Markets Technology?

Capital markets technology is a set of apps/software/services designed specifically to support the technology needs of capital firms. There are 3 types of capital markets technology according to financial services operations:

  • Front-office: exchange/trading platform, portfolio management, hedge fund tech
  • Middle-office: business intelligence, market data platform, alternative data
  • Back-office: clearance & settlement, AML/KYC, risk & compliance.

Why Invest in Capital Markets Technology?

Investment in Capital Market technology pays off as:

  • AI driven results that give capital markets a data first approach to decision making.
  • Digital Asset management and visibility so you can see across all lines of capital market business
  • Improved security and regulatory compliance that reduces overall risks
  • Automation of administrative workflows
  • Flexible and cost-saving tools

But, seeing is believing. If you want to explore how Capital Markets CRM operates and why investing in it is a great decision, book a demo of AscendixRE.


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Liked the content, especially video recording. Participants discussed the TRUE challenges in a so elaquent way, that I didn’t notice how 30 minutes passed. Thanks a lot, that was helpful.

Valeria Kokina

Annabelle, I am glad you liked it. Thank you for sharing your feedback.