Lord's Tech as Savior: Michael Radziemski's Tech Vision Helps Lord Abbett Weather Hurricane Sandy

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Lord's Tech as Savior: Michael Radziemski's Tech Vision Helps Lord Abbett Weather Hurricane Sandy

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Mobility and cloud-enabled solutions have been major focal points for Radziemski, who defines cloud as renting something over the internet that Lord Abbett would previously have installed and run in its own datacenter.

Radziemski says that his first “Aha!” moment came when the firm was searching for a new human resource management system (HRMS) three years ago.

“Not long before that, I would’ve insisted that it was an in-house, on-premises install,” he says. “But we found that about half-a-dozen cloud offerings met our needs, the pricing was competitive, and we quickly started asking ourselves: ‘Why do we want to run this thing in-house when we don’t need to?’”

To build something like an HRMS, you need four things, Radziemski says: a development environment, a test environment, a production environment, and a disaster recovery (DR) environment. “It’s a lot of work just to maintain the infrastructure of one of these things,” he says.

A Call for Innovation
By Radziemski’s count, his team has implemented half-a-dozen cloud-based platforms. The newest—and perhaps most interesting—implementation was that of a cloud-based call center. The firm has always run its own in-house call center. Radziemski says that for a fraction of the cost of building a million-dollar telephone switch, the firm has outsourced that function where it leases the equivalent of a 10-person call center. This call center cloud environment is currently in the process of going live. The fact that you can have a phone system in the cloud was another “Aha!” moment, he says.

Lord Abbett is also currently conducting a search for a new portfolio accounting system to replace its incumbent platform. When the firm makes that switch, Radziemski says he wants that functionality to come from a cloud-based application. He points to this being another “huge” advancement for cloud technology at an investment manager, since a portfolio accounting system is one of the larger systems and it would be a substantial benefit for Lord Abbett to move that out of the house.

Radziemski says he would love to put Lord Abbett’s email in the cloud, but he first needs to find a solution that meets the firm’s regulatory and record-retention needs.

For 2013, Lord Abbett will continue to roll out its in-house-built fixed-income analytics and order management system (OMS) to support the remainder of the firm’s investments. The platform went live in 2004 and is currently used on approximately 80 percent of the firm’s desktops. It provides fixed-income analytics and supports order management and pre-trade compliance across most of Lord Abbett’s investment space.

“That platform started from just a couple of technologists working with folks in business who knew the business vision of what this should be, and the technologists were there to realize that vision and deploy it to the desks,” Radziemski says. “That was a pretty huge one.”


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