Aberdeen Asset Management - ClusterSeven
Aberdeen Asset Management

Helping Aberdeen to disentangle SWIP from Lloyds Banking Group and upgrade from Microsoft Excel 2003 to 2010.

Aberdeen Asset Management is one of Europe’s largest asset management groups, serving institutional investors such as insurance companies, pension funds, treasuries, banks, sovereign wealth funds etc. Formed in 1983 and listed on the London Stock Exchange since 1991, the firm operates in 25 countries.

Utilizing our technology, Aberdeen Asset Management were able to manage and de-risk the disentangling of the Scottish Widows Investment Partnership from Lloyds Bank. Following this, our solution was used to help the smooth implementation of an upgrade from Excel 2003 to 2010.

Case Study

The Challenge

The Scottish Widows Investment Partnership (SWIP) was sold by Lloyds Banking Group to Aberdeen Asset Management in 2014. Following this acquisition, SWIP needed to separate its business from Lloyds. In order to disentangle the business, identifying which processes needed to be migrated was required. For instance, where certain processes relied on market data feeds that were owned by Lloyds, or had linkages to systems owned by Lloyds.

Thereafter, as part of SWIP’s integration with Aberdeen Asset Management, the business unit needed to upgrade from Microsoft Office 2003 to 2010. Some of the more complex spreadsheets utilised functions and had complex Visual Basic Applications (VBA) code that is deprecated in 2010 and thus required some remediation.

The Solution

Due to the number of spreadsheets and EUC applications as well as the complexities of the business processes involved, understanding the lay of the land was extremely difficult. SWIP decided to leverage our solution to shed light on the situation and to understand, identify and migrate the files to the new Excel platform.

Utilizing the ‘discovery’ capability, SWIP was able to scan and inventory all the spreadsheets and EUCs based on defined complexity rules. The ‘spider’ functionality then helped expose the data lineage for the individual files, revealing their data sources and relationships with other EUC files. SWIP was then able to migrate the relevant business processes to Aberdeen Asset Management ensuring that no files were left behind.

By using the Discovery functionality in ClusterSeven solution, the firm under took a process of scanning to gain visibility of their EUC landscape. This involved creating customized rules to identify the spreadsheets that needed remediation. At the end of this process, Aberdeen Asset Management remediated 1,500 spreadsheets and converted the functions and VBAs and connected the external links to the new Aberdeen Asset Management systems.

“Prior to deploying ClusterSeven we did look at other solutions, but none of them were anywhere near as mature as this offering,” Alasdair Callan, Global Head of Reporting Services at Aberdeen Asset Management commented.

The Benefits

“The out of the box functionality in the ClusterSeven solution is excellent,” explain Alasdair Callan. “The beauty of the solution is that it runs in the background and isn’t at all disruptive to the business. Consequently, we were very easily able to identify the spreadsheets that required remediation, almost entirely eliminating the enormous manual effort that would have otherwise been needed.

Alex Subba Row, Sales Manager at ClusterSeven, explained, “With every merger and acquisition there is a huge piece of work to ensure that the all spreadsheets are migrated and any dependencies on external systems are understood. This challenge around spreadsheets is often under-estimated by businesses in terms of the potential disturbance it can cause to the day-to-day operations.

Without a rules-based, automated processes, discovering spreadsheets and EUCs is a time and resource-intensive operation. Not only is manual identification of files typically error-prone, the approach makes it impossible to establish the data linkages between spreadsheets, which is usually widespread.

Utilizing ClusterSeven’s technology is the only effective, efficient and near fool-proof way of undertaking this activity. The solution provides assurance that the complexities of the
spreadsheets and EUCs are understood, which is an invaluable to a M&A project team.”

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