Why Implementation is the Key to Unlocking the Potential to any Great Idea

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 Fiona Page started her entrepreneurial journey in 1992, with the establishment of Quadrant Capital, a fixed income asset management business of which she was a founding partner. After a successful sale of Quadrant Capital to The Bank of New York in 2002, Fiona started her own consultancy business focused on system solutions for a number of global financial systems. In 2007, she co-founded PensionsFirst where she is a partner and has held the roles of CTO and CEO. Here, Fiona has been responsible for the design and development of the company’s proprietary web-based platform for measuring and reporting defined benefit pension risk.

PensionsFirst is a is a financial technology business providing intuitive, user-friendly risk analytics and business intelligence solutionsis a financial technology business providing intuitive, user-friendly risk analytics and business intelligence solutionsfinancial technology business providing intuitive, user-friendly risk analytics and business intelligence solutions. Its core product PFaroe was initially targeted to defined benefit pension schemes, where it is now the market leader in the UK with a growing foothold in the US.

Just three years after the launch of PFaroe, PensionsFirst is transforming the way firms look at defined benefit pension risks, and the company continues to expand in line with ambitions to revolutionize pension risk management and financial reporting around the globe.

In order to provide a product capable of helping financial institutions better measure and manage their pension risks via portfolio analysis and scenario testing, PensionsFirst needed to develop an enterprise-level platform from the ground-up. “We had a beta environment,” Fiona explained, “but knew we had to go another level for our commercial offering. We wanted to find a technology partner capable of delivering a powerful environment within a short period of time.”

Fiona knew it was vital to partner from the outset with an experienced solutions provider capable of meeting the company’s unique demands. PensionsFirst wanted to design and deploy secure, high-performing and reliable production and disaster recovery sites within a short four-month time frame. Launching operations in an established industry, such as the financial services industry, can be a daunting task, and so PensionsFirst needed confidence that their technology partner had the expertise and capability to build a datacenter from scratch, delivering the powerful environment the company needed. They also needed a full consulting process and project realization that would be characterized throughout the project by the level of attention and consultancy required to generate maximum success.

Members of the PensionsFirst IT team met with experts on storage, servers, virtualization and networks from the Dell Global Infrastructure Consulting team, to assess PensionFirst’s precise needs and its pensions analysis product, PFaroe.

“To support our technical requirements, we attached great value to establishing a strategic relationship with a tier-one solution provider,” said Fiona. “From the outset we have made tough demands on Dell, but they have always delivered.”

Together the teams decided upon three data center environments: a corporate site at the company’s head office in London, a main production site, and a disaster recovery location. The production site was a priority with just a 12-week window available for execution.

EqualLogic storage and SonicWALL network security, with Dell providing a complete package of consultancy, design, hardware and software. The production site was up and running within the 12 weeks allocated.

Lessons learned

Empires can be built from a single great idea, but it’s the implementation of that idea that makes or breaks an ambitious venture. Beginning operations in any established industry is difficult, but partnering with an experienced solutions provider can help prime companies for success.

Attention to detail and full knowledge of what a company is looking for in an IT partner can make all the difference when building something complex. Thorough research, consultancy, and a demand for excellence from a technology partner ultimately lead to success for PensionsFirst.

“We wouldn’t be without Dell ProSupport for IT,” said Dean Newman, director of Information Technology at PensionsFirst. “It means I can sleep well at night because I know that the customer experience will be maintained. On the occasion that we’ve used the service, Dell has usually resolved our issues much faster than in four hours.”

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