SS&C Black Diamond’s Hack Week Competition
Ken Hall, Brandon Parks, Lauren Payton, Ty Downs – 12/08/2022
Every year, the SS&C Black Diamond® Wealth Platform product development organization hosts a one-week contest event called Hack Week. Hack Week allows the internal product team to flex their creative muscles while exploring new technology ideas in a fun and friendly competition.
Moreover, the contest produces innovative concepts and, in many cases, functioning products within an astonishing timeframe. The team is exceptionally talented, and this event highlights their various skill sets and ability to generate new ideas that can positively impact advisory firms. Plus, the teams’ projects often originate from client ideas or suggestions.
This year, the Hack Week awards were broken into three categories, and the winners are:
The winner of the Most Innovative category was the Alternate Universe team. This group tackled the problem surrounding the heavily manual nature of entering alternative investment performance data for private equity and hedge funds. Although Black Diamond supports an automated alternative investment feed, more than 90% of the data is currently not eligible. So instead, the non-eligible data is manually loaded using the Black Diamond Alternative Investment tool. To streamline this, the Alternate Universe team built a PDF parsing process that leverages a location-based software solution known as IvyPdf. They then paired that software with text parsing via REGEX to create a highly reliable and robust way to make a generic file. Once a generic file exists, the Black Diamond Automated AI workflow could complete the process by populating all alternative investment areas of the platform.
Solves a Real Problem:
Maintaining healthy data to provide our clients with a seamless and accurate experience is a complex task. The Observi team, the winner of the Solves a Real Problem award, aims to make this easier. Black Diamond deals with large amounts of data, and monitoring it is a constant challenge. The team’s goal is to drastically reduce the overhead required to receive real-time feedback for a wide range of data scenarios across the entire platform. In addition, temporary monitoring by an individual or team can be distracting and is prone to human error. More robust monitoring requires development work and can take time away from other meaningful commitments. The solution presented by the Observi team would enable internal users to quickly set up different monitoring scenarios and provide options to receive alerts via internal communication tools.
Most Likely to be Implemented:
The team Let’s Get Shifty took home the Most Likely to be Implemented award. Black Diamond supports several daily processes and features that require T-1 data, such as Dividend Backdating and Smart Look Forward. This data is not readily available in down-level environments, making daily testing processes challenging. To get this raw custodial data into the down-levels, Let’s Get Shifty used a combination of .NET 6, a REST API, and SQL to design a backend service that moves source data into one place for use in daily processes. In addition, the team used React and Tailwind CSS to build a sleek UI that can live within the Internal Tools suite and can accommodate the flexibility of this proposed feature.
Every team participating in Hack Week did a phenomenal job creating unique solutions to address common challenges. While many of these ideas aren’t production-ready, we are looking to add these ideas to our future roadmap.