Lessons Learned from the 2018 PRISM Conference
One of the most interesting things that happens each year at the PRISM conference is the Member Roundtable and Sponsor Introductions. It’s hands-down the best way to learn about what pension funds have been working on in the last year and what they want to learn more about. This three-hour meeting where more than 100 funds spoke about their IT situations, can be boiled down into 10 themes. Without further ado, here’s what IT staff at pension funds care about:
- Security – With the amount of conversation at PRISM around identity theft, hackers, penetration testing, security awareness training, and cybersecurity insurance, it’s clear that security is top of mind for IT professionals at pension funds — and, that’s no surprise.
- Modernizing Applications – There’s also no surprise that lots of funds have just finished, are in the middle of, or are planning pension administration modernization — with the major theme being that “modernization” is continuous. Once looked at as a one-time project, many funds now think of modernizing as a continuous evolution in order to keep up with the rate of exponential change in technology today. Pension funds who weren’t focused on new line-of-business applications were focused on upgrading their existing pension administration solutions to newer versions.
- Automated Testing – With an eye on continuous innovation, lots of funds are strapped for testing resources and looking for or implementing ways to automate testing. Of course, with the more changes that pension technical environments face, the need for testing has also been exponentially increasing. Pension funds are looking at both more effective and more efficient testing.
- Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity – Gone seem to be the days where DR and business continuity planning were only for the largest funds. Lots of funds spoke about upgrades to their DR sites and continuity plans.
- Enhancing Self Service – Within the last five years, almost every pension fund has brought self-service through online portals to their membership. But, now funds are turning an eye to adding functionality online. While additional self service functionality empowers members, increases data accuracy, and allows for fewer staff touch points, balancing the pros with security is a challenged for most funds.
- Responsive Designs and Mobile Applications – Many pension funds have gotten good at tracking how members are accessing their online applications. Pension funds quotes anywhere from 30% to 80% of members accessing their portals and websites through mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets. With numbers like that, pension IT shops are moving toward responsive screen designs and mobile applications — making it as easy as possible for stakeholder interaction.
- Technology Assessments – With the focus on continuous improvement, many pension funds spoke about assessing the health and maturity of their technology and technical department. Technology maturity assessments seemed to be a popular way for pension IT departments to determine how they measure up against other IT departments and how they should prioritize their next set of projects.
- Intranet Sites – Intranet sites were a hot topic as IT departments are trying to meet the needs of internal employees dealing with constant evolutionary change. Discussions revolved around tools pension funds use, as well as intranet strategy.
- Infrastructure Changes – It was impressive how many funds have spent the last year upgrading their infrastructure. The most popular infrastructure changes in the last year was a move to Windows 10, VOIP, MS 365, Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, and DocuWare.
- An Eye Toward the Future – One of the questions pensions funds answered was “what do you want to learn more about?” The most popular topics people were thinking about for the future include Artificial Intelligence, Business Intelligence, Interactive Intelligence, and Social Engineering.
Sagitec appreciated all of the sharing and collaboration at the Member Roundtable event and throughout the conference. As we continue to evolve our technology roadmap to best meet our client’s needs, it’s great to keep our thumb on the pulse of the pension industry, identify common problems, and join the discussion on the future of IT at pension funds.