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Vertical Spotlight: Financial Services

Vertical Spotlight: Financial Services

We’re excited to share our Vertical Spotlight Blog Series! Our vertical this month is Financial Services.

For this blog, we’re featuring Frank O’Brien, Strategic Account Executive, Private Equity (PE), to discuss our Private Equity Portfolio Engagement Services, which are available at every stage of the investment lifecycle. Thrive’s seasoned leadership team with 120 years of combined experience can help PE firms and PE-backed companies address technology advancements and risk mitigation, ensuring security, compliance, and performance.

At Thrive, Frank works to accelerate the growth of the private equity investment community through relationship management, identification of the customers’ technical needs, and his ability to align services and solutions. He utilizes his deep understanding of the financial industry and current trends to aid his clients in operating proactively and reactively.

Here are his insights on how Thrive’s Private Equity Portfolio Engagement Services can provide a competitive advantage for PE firms and their portfolio companies (portcos), creating enterprise value that will foster future growth.

What are the biggest technology enablement challenges that portcos are facing today?

Many of our portco’s are quite large with hundreds of employees and dozens of sites. Our goal is to get them to migrate to our Financial Operations Platform, so Thrive can provide better and consistent service, both technologically and financially. Right now, we’re looking to create a baseline for all of these portcos. Operationally, they differ greatly from one another (Some with CIO and CTOs at the helm and others do not). So, our interaction with each one varies, but the idea is to service the entire client base and improve that service level.

How does Thrive help these companies overcome obstacles, specifically with product and service uses?  How do you help them achieve technology enablement?

These PE businesses are constantly investing or divesting in new portcos. Therefore, our first action is to conduct an assessment of the portco’s IT environment, and then, we work against that baseline, specifically with regards to cyber security. We want to ensure there are no security gaps and to mitigate any potential breaches that can happen down the road, working closely with either the CFO, COO, CTO, or CIO. Ultimately, our goal is to become a trusted partner and IT advisor to them moving forward.

I understand that Thrive’s PE Portfolio Engagement program has various lifecycle stages, and every client is at a different part of the journey. Can you provide a high-level explanation of what this program looks like?

Working on behalf of our PE customers, Thrive’s first action with all our portcos is to conduct a baseline assessment. With this assessment, we can understand the portco’s current IT environment and make recommendations on how to improve it for the PE firm. Again, our primary focuses are around cyber security and data transformation, both areas in which Thrive excels.

These portcos can specialize in different verticals, but the key is for us to offer our baseline assessment findings and advise on any necessary changes to ensure the portco has a clean scorecard when presented to the PE firm.

What are the benefits for customers utilizing Thrive’s Portfolio Engagement Services? What is the competitive advantage?

The advantage to any company, not only portcos, is the breadth and scope of what an MSP like Thrive can bring to the table. We can provide a variety of disciplines, including our cyber security services, our Security Operations Center (SOC), and our dedicated systems, network operations,24/7 help desk support teams. It’s next to impossible to find another service provider to cover all these disciplines under one roof. Thrive never sleeps. We’re always awake, monitoring, managing, and patching your environment to be ahead of any potential threats.

For example, a company looking to have these offerings in-house, even one on a large scale with 1,600 employees and 100 sites, can find it difficult. To hire and bring on individuals that have this type of technology skillset is next to impossible. However, when you outsource it to a company like Thrive, we already offer all the resources you need and provide immediate access to them. We take care of all the blocking and tackling, allowing more time for the CTO or CIO to focus on strategic business matters. Additionally, we provide detailed reporting, so the PE firm, the investor in the portcos, will know what is happening and when it’s happening.

What are some examples of how Thrive’s Portfolio Engagement Services have helped companies optimize their business?

So, without mentioning names, the PE firm that I’m currently working with has just completed a new acquisition. We’ve done our baseline assessment and found the security gaps within the acquired portco environment. Now, because of our capabilities and manpower, we can access their environment to remediate those gaps, bringing the portco to a secure place for the PE firm. We’ll also ensure all the required regulations are met.

Overall, what I’m seeing so far from these portcos, is that they come to us behind the times in regards to technology. Their environments are outdated and not secure due to the end-of-life operating systems used. We not only conduct the baseline assessments but also present our findings to the PE firm, detailing exactly how to remediate the issues we’ve uncovered. As a result, the PE firm can be comfortable investing in the chosen portco because their environment has been vetted and secured from a technology standpoint. Moreover, the fact that Thrive has an integrated SOC, in addition to our other MSSP offerings, allows us to outshine the other service providers these PE firms can use.

So, if there are portcos that are behind the times and choose to not upgrade their internal operations to secure their environment, what would be the result? What if they decide to not better their technology with Thrive?

Besides profitability and functionality and all of those technology offerings that support the portco in case of an outage or a security breach, I think the reputational value is what the PE firm would be concerned with. For instance, if a portco is breached and investors hear about this happening, it’s going to result in a reputational punch that the business may not be able to recover from. These PE firms would be thinking — if you can’t manage your IT, how are you going to successfully manage my and client’s money. Reputational value is so important that you do not want to be in the news as having been breached if you are a financial firm — period. Portcos need to ensure they make their IT environment a priority to see longevity in the marketplace going forward. This is where Thrive can step in and help with our portfolio engagement services.

Are you interested in learning more about Thrive’s NextGen IT for Financial Services? Click here!

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