December 01, 2020

Fintech company reduces reporting from weeks to seconds with Stratus Data’s custom data pipelines

For years, Institutional Cash Distributors (ICD) managed reporting using analysts and spreadsheets. The process, while vetted, was slow and laborious, and took many heads to ensure accuracy. Working side-by-side with Stratus, ICD’s team was able to generate instantaneous, accurate reporting to bring into client, sales, and internal meetings. The reports cut decision-making from days to minutes.

Institutional Cash Distributors (ICD) is an independent portal provider of money market funds and other short-term investments. Over 400 treasury departments, across 43 countries and 65 industries, use the ICD Portal to trade, monitor, and analyze their cash investments.

 

Challenge

With hundreds of clients moving billions of dollars, ICD looks to automate spreadsheet-based internal reporting and establish single source of truth.

ICD provides treasury organizations an online portal for trade execution, compliance, risk management, and on-demand reporting. Since their inception in 2003, they’ve amassed several hundred clients accessing over 300 funds and 30 providers across the globe. Reporting is a crucial aspect of keeping track of revenue generated, as well as money owed to partners and technology providers.

Traditionally, ICD’s analysts manually pulled and evaluated spreadsheets from the investment portal. Data came from different companies in inconsistent formats. Analyses were published as SQL reports by different people with differing logic. Simply put, the numbers were hard to tie—ICD had outgrown its reporting methodology.

ICD struggled with this challenge for months, hiring two different teams before they came across Stratus Data. They were instantly impressed by the thoughtful approach and detailed, iterative process Stratus demonstrated in the proposal of the initial solution alone. The solution itself was bulletproof and backed by Stratus’s in-depth expertise in analytical-platform development.

“Stratus asked a lot of questions and tried to truly understand what we were looking for. They had a good vision for what the project needed to look like and their plan of attack for delivering results. The proposal was impressive. The team’s track record and credentials were impressive.” (Dave Roach, CFO at ICD)

“Stratus asked a lot of questions and tried to truly understand what we were looking for. They had a good vision for what the project needed to look like and their plan of attack for delivering results. The proposal was impressive. The team’s track record was impressive. The team’s credentials were impressive.”
– CFO, International Cash Distributors

Solution

Careful listening and thoughtful questions yield comprehensive, robust data architecture.

Stratus built ICD a system that pulls data from tens of disparate sources, including fund company statements, portal transaction tables, and customer and investment metadata. It ingests, enhances, performs complex calculations with, and runs error checks on the data to create an authoritative system of record for the company.

What made the project a true success was the process. The Stratus team’s agile approach meant regular check-ins and communication; navigating fluidly between the big picture and detailed technical troubleshooting.

“Stratus’s partnership style was extremely collaborative and flexible. They never said you need to change the data to make the app work. Instead it was ‘how do I make the application fit your workflow?’”

Results

“Instead of waiting days or weeks for reports to make decisions, I have the information at my fingertips to make live decisions on the fly.” 

Having implemented the Stratus system, ICD can now confidently make instantaneous decisions, without having to double-check the numbers. Further, ICD can access a single source of truth, rather than waste time converging silos of differing data. Lastly, they have space to grow, as the system is highly flexible, with room to adjust for edge cases with non-standard calculations.

The value to leadership is substantial: “I have this application open on my machine all day long. When we’re meeting with a customer or a fund partner, I can pull up data at any level of detail, in the moment, whether it’s in the US or international. When I meet with our CEO, I can answer high-level questions without any preparation. When I go into product meetings, I can tell you in near-realtime whether or not we should invest in a feature.”
– Dave Roach, CFO at ICD