The ability to gather and respond to information in real-time is the lifeblood for any firm involved in equities trading. This is how investment firm 3i Group plc used real-time enterprise search to gain greater visibility into deals that were both completed and underway.
Business Opportunity or Challenge Encountered
Brokers and financial specialists need to be able to quickly react to market shifts and act on customer requests as events or circumstances change. The challenge for many financial firms is that, along with real-time data streaming across their terminals, there is even more data backed up within their internal systems that helps provide the proper context for new developments.
That challenge was acute for 3i Group, an investment firm that had a lot of data from various sources on the deals it had facilitated (or for which it had pending). The firm’s files and databases had grown so huge that it was taking a lot of staff time to pull all needed information. What was needed was a way to be able to see deals both completed and underway—in real-time.
3i Group, which focuses on midmarket private equity, infrastructure and debt management, has a staff of 270 employees including 100 investment professionals. Listed on the London Stock Exchange since 1994, with almost £13 billion of assets under management, the company operates out of nine offices across Europe, Asia and North America.
To support its business operations, the company built a sophisticated IT infrastructure anchored by deployments of Microsoft SharePoint and Symantec Enterprise Vault in addition to Microsoft Exchange, file shares, Active Directory and several proprietary databases. These systems contain a wealth of information about past and current deals across the diverse industries, geographies and business lines in which 3i Group operates.
To prepare proposals and research potential deals, 3i Group’s investment professionals regularly access deal sites hosted on SharePoint, email communication residing in Exchange, the company’s vast archived content residing in Enterprise Vault and a wide variety of documents and presentations in 3i Group’s corporate file share. Additionally, team members new to an ongoing deal are expected to leverage these knowledge stores to get quickly up to speed.
Over time, the volume of content in these systems proliferated, becoming challenging for staff members to search across each system. 3i Group staff members found it particularly challenging to search across the company’s expansive digital archive due to the poor user experience (UX) and limited search capabilities.
How This Business Opportunity or Challenge was Met
3i Group decided that it was time to bring all of these information platforms and assets together into a single presentation environment from which professionals could swiftly and securely find the information they needed to successfully do their job and acquire information in real-time. The team selected Coveo and its Coveo Enterprise Search platform to assist in deploying a solution that addressed these requirements.
The company assembled a project team charged with delivering several key capabilities, starting with unified access that provides users with a single point of access to content in all knowledge repositories. This ensures the delivery of a set of unified, highly relevant results. The team also developed an integrated user interface (UI) that would enable user-friendly, role-based interfaces that can be easily integrated into 3i Group’s SharePoint interface—complete with easily configurable facets that allow users to quickly find specific content.
Another feature developed was the ability to develop intelligent mashups, which help provide full text search coupled with deep text analytics, to enrich 3i Group’s unstructured content with appropriate metadata and, hence, make it more findable and sortable. Another feature added was actionable analytics to deliver in-depth search analytics to uncover unmet user needs and identify knowledge gaps. Of course, rock-solid security was a must.
Measurable/Quantifiable and “Soft” Benefits from This Initiative
The new platform quickly became a go-to tool at the company, enabling 3i Group staff members to easily find specific pieces of information among the growing volume of content—especially as file share content and email volume continue to grow at 27 percent and 17 percent per year, respectively.
As a result of the implementation, 3i Group reports 90 percent faster access to deal-related intelligence as well as a 20 percent reduction in staff and resources required to respond to compliance requests. 3i Group’s staff members use the platform to search across 3.66 million file share documents, 6.39 million Exchange emails, 897,000 SharePoint and documents, and 107 million Enterprise Vault records.
For the first time, 3i Group staff members are able to perform a single search across all of the company’s knowledge repositories by using either a browser-based interface or an integrated search interface within SharePoint. 3i Group’s compliance team was provided with a dashboard that enabled them to search and correlate content from across 3i Group’s entire data set, and quickly evaluate permissions and user access rights for every 3i Group record or knowledge asset.
As content is indexed in real-time, users have access to the most up-to-date search results. “The moment you receive an email, it appears in Coveo’s search results almost instantly,” said Jon Page, Global IT Applications Manager at Coveo. To provide users with the most relevant search results, Page employs insights gathered from the system’s usage analytics to continually fine-tune relevance and boost popular content.
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