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December 19, 2016 Issue

CEOCFO MAGAZINE

 

Asset Manager CRM Software for Buy-Side Investment Professionals focused on Sales, eMarketing, Document Management, Client Reporting and Retention

 


Karen Maguire

President and Chief Executive Officer

 

Satuit Technologies, Inc.

www.satuit.com

 

Interview conducted by:

Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine, Published – December 19, 2016

 

CEOCFO: Ms. Maguire, what was the idea when you founded the company 20 plus years ago? 

Ms. Maguire: I had been working in the investment buy-side industry for a number of years, and I always found myself creating systems and working with early technology to leverage my time and make my job easier. I was eventually approached by a friend from a competitor firm who knew my work with technology for marketing and sales. These were early days in the fintech industry. She kept asking, “Hey, could you help us implement your system with our company?” We talked about this over a period of months and then one day, I was thinking about my next career move so I called her and asked her if she was serious about my helping them develop their marketing technology. When she said yes, I told her I was ready to make the leap to starting a company. She then brought her boss and CEO into the conversation and then the next thing I heard was, “Sounds great!  Send a contract.” This was at six in the evening on a Friday night. On Saturday morning I bought my own Apple Mac (which was still a heavyweight box) and was writing up my first contract. It was an idea, something I loved doing. I like technology; I like solving problems, and I had a live prospect for my idea of providing marketing technology to the buy side.

 

CEOCFO: Clearly with 20 plus years and clients in more than 35 countries you have succeeded. What is the focus of Satuit today? 

Ms. Maguire: The focus today is similar to what it was at the outset. All of our clients are buy-side investment firms. We started out with a customer relationship management (CRM) technology, and we have expanded that as that technology has evolved to cover more and more functions of the business. It used to be just about sales, and now it is sales, e-marketing, document management, client retention, client reporting, and integration with other systems. We have expanded the product to service all of those needs, and we integrate with a lot of other excellent products for the buy-side. We have created a central repository for everything that touches your client. 

 

CEOCFO: How do you know when it is time to add a new feature?

Ms. Maguire: We get constant feedback from clients, for one thing. We solicit ideas through a User Voice Forum, but we also work closely with them during the on-boarding process. There is a very important feedback loop. We are very close to our clients; we have not outsourced our support to a third party or offshore, so the people who engage with the client every day in our support center interact directly with QA, Product Development and Marketing. We have a forum for them. We meet with clients regularly either on-site or virtually. And we are also looking at the technology space - where is it going, what are people doing, how is it changing, how is the regulatory environment changing that might impact our clients. We are taking all of those factors into consideration and turning those into new features and functions in the product. 

 

CEOCFO: Regulatory worldwide? How do you keep ahead of that, let alone keep up with it? 

Ms. Maguire: Again, we are get constant feedback from our clients all over the globe. When, in October of 2015, the European court issued a ruling against Facebook that basically said a user’s data on Facebook was private data and Facebook did not have the right to exploit or use that data, that set off a domino effect within the digital industry. Everybody who was holding anybody’s data had to think about it. We spent time with our clients figuring out how to manage that, what to do about European data and privacy regulations. The previous agreement between the US and Europe (the Safe Harbour Agreement) was completely up in the air, and companies were scrambling to respond. After a period of six months of planning and testing in both Europe and Canada, we decided to move our data centers to Canada which is one of the countries that all other countries trust with their data. Everybody likes the Canadians! The move of all client data was completed in July 2016.  It was a massive undertaking but no client noticed any change. Our IT team worked weekends for 6 months. 

 

CEOCFO: What approach do you take with security? 

Ms. Maguire: The approach you take with security is be paranoid every day, pay attention every day - assume somebody is trying to hack you. If you take any other approach, you are naive. We put our employees through regular training; they are constantly tested with phishing emails and their desks are monitored periodically (unannounced) for any loose paper-based data. Technical security is easy to manage. There are terrific technologies. But “Social Engineering” is the weak spot exploited in most companies. People still do really dumb things like write down their passwords on a sticky note.

 

We have a Chief Security Officer; we just created this new role in response to the growing demands of security. He used to be our Head of IT, he is now full time on security. We brought in somebody else to manage IT. We also have hired outside companies to try attack or hack our systems; we work with third party vendors who provide services to us to make sure our data is as secure as it can possibly can be, but we are vigilant. It is about your people, not just about the technology. Your team has to think about security all the time, and our team is thinking about it because they have to. They are literally getting emails all the time that are testing, and if they get caught, they have to go through another hour of training. You have to be incredibly vigilant. 

 

CEOCFO: Last month you were certified as a WBE company. Why now? 

Ms. Maguire: You are asking me, “Why did it take so long?” That is a really interesting question. When I started the business, WBENC did not exist. It was not my focus. I have always run business on my skill set and on the quality of our product, and I never thought I should get any business because I am a woman.  It just did not enter in to the equation. I have been used to competing in a male dominated environment and winning because we are good at what we do. What changed is that a client approached us last year and asked us if we were a registered minority business. I said, no, we had never done that. And she said, “Well you should really think about doing it, and we would really appreciate it if you would apply because we are talking to clients and prospects who want us to uphold their principles of diversity, and they expect us to hire minority vendors.” So I committed to applying. We looked into it and I have to say, I was flabbergasted by all the paperwork that was required. It was especially challenging because we were not a start-up. Fortunately, we have a fantastic team who pulled together all the information (there was a stack of paperwork two feet high). The funny thing is, because I have been running a business, a very successful business, I do not perform many of the functions that they thought I should be doing, like signing checks or even pulling this data together. I have really good people who do that. So in the beginning there was a little bit of, “Well does she really run this business?” I thought it was interesting because one of the members of my team said, “It is almost like reverse sexism; you are running a technology business, and you have staff who do things, and they think you are not running your business.” It was an interesting process. I am glad we did it; we met with great women in the whole WBE process and the people were really wonderful to work with. So we are very excited that we did it, but I have to say, it was hard work. 

 

CEOCFO: Would you tell us about the range of products? 

Ms. Maguire: Our main product is Satuit CRM, which is customer relationship management (CRM) software for the buy-side investment industry, so it is a very specialized CRM package. We have clients all over the world using the software in giant organizations and boutiques. Buy-side CRM is our bread and butter. Then we added a second product, very complementary and completely integrated with CRM - or you can use it as a standalone - and that is SatuitCRA, which is client report automation. Our clients need to report to their clients; the reporting process is pretty heavy lifting, it is a lot of work, a lot of effort that goes into it, and we have done things to help them automate that and smooth it out and save time. And also, we have added an investor portal because today a lot of people expect to get their reports from a portal that they can log-into 24X7 and get the information they want about their account. So we added a portal for them. Those are our products. It is basically the CRM with document manager, client reporting and a portal. We also have an executive dashboard that can be run from within the CRM or separately (the idea being that management probably won’t log into the CRM, but they want their metrics in an easy to use interface). 

 

CEOCFO: How have you concisely had a user friendly system? 

Ms. Maguire: That is a good question. When I started the company, even though I was CEO of the company, I would actually work closely with end users. I would train them and watch them use the software. I would note where they seemed to want the software to behave differently. My goal was to have software that needed little training. I would come back to my development team and say, “You know, this person expects to click here, and they need a button here.” We would really watch how people used it, and we fully understand the requirements of the buy-side. It is the same today. We continue to ask - how are they using it? We are using our software every day as well, so we are getting feedback all the time. How do we simplify? Is this consistent when you go from screen to screen? Is it doing what you expect it to do? We get it from our employees who use the software, we get it from our clients who use the software, we get it from constantly observing, and we get it because we look at other software we think is well designed and we figure out what we like about this, what makes this easy and intuitive? There is a lot of thinking that goes into taking software that does a very complex job and making sure it is still easy to use. 

 

CEOCFO: You mentioned a lot of feedback from customers. Tell us a little bit about your customer service focus. Did you realize in the beginning that it was so important to really tap in, interact and be available? 

Ms. Maguire: I think that we understood the importance of customer engagement from day one. That may have been a little bit of being a woman run business - I wanted to know the customer, I wanted to make sure the customer was happy, that was always an important principle. Our support team is made up of employees of the company; we have not outsourced. You speak with these employees, you get to know them on a first name basis, they understand your business and completely trained in the asset management business, so they understand how you are working and what you are doing. Our software is very good, but our customer service is head and shoulders above everybody else’s. 

 

CEOCFO: How do you reach out for new customers? Does the industry know you by now? Are there some segments or potential customers that have not adapted to it as well as others? 

Ms. Maguire: For a long time, we were the best kept secret in the industry, and part of that was due to our focus on our clients and we had a very small sales team (of one). About a year and a half ago, we began the process of expanding the sales team, so we have expanded the sales team to Salt Lake and London. We are doing a lot more work with social media, with press releases, we are this year now attending and sponsoring more conferences. We recently won an award in London for Best CRM at Waters Technology Conference. We are doing much more of that so that we are on the radar screen. 

 

CEOCFO: Why the decision at that point in time? 

Ms. Maguire: I understood at long last that we had an incredibly good product that was being undersold, and we needed to get out there, we needed to expand the salesforce. We spent a lot of time getting the product right, and we had to through transitions of technology. We have been around for over 20 years; we had to rewrite all of our technology, things change. We did a lot of the engineering and I think that is something that I feel like we wanted to have a good product out there, a lot of engineering, but it was also a matter of taking time, getting all the right people in place in the last couple of years as I decided to ramp up to grow. 

 

CEOCFO: Community outreach is important to you - where do you focus your efforts and why is it important? 

Ms. Maguire: Personally, I have always been a very large donor to a lot of important organizations, especially educational organizations because it is just the way my husband and I operate - I am fortunate enough to have done well in my life and I really want to share it with other people. We support a number of organizations. We supported the Make a Wish Foundation as a company, we support Toys for Tots, and that is a favorite of the employees, they really love to do that every year - we are one of the largest donors in our region for Toys for Tots. We get involved in a number of other foundations, and I personally, not as a CEO, am involved in a number of educational organizations and have set up scholarships at my alma mater and at a middle school for minority boys. This school has a huge success rate at getting young boys who could have ended up in a gang, on the right track and into college.

 

CEOCFO: How do you spend your time as CEO? What is a typical day? 

Ms. Maguire: I wish there were one. I spend a lot of time managing by moving around - I do not sit still a lot. Part of that moving around is just checking in with people, how some things are going, and making sure that the people I have - who are all terrific - if they are running into an obstacle, I am helping them through the obstacle, I am moving something along and kind of coaching them here and there. I meet with clients still, and I really enjoy that. I spend time in the London office, that is where I am this week, and I certainly enjoy that. I am spending a fair amount of time thinking about where we are going, what is the strategy, where are we going with this product? I have a woman who is in charge of the product and she and I spend a fair amount of time thinking about where the product needs to go. I wish there were a typical day, but what is wonderful about it is there is no typical day - every day is different. 

 

CEOCFO: Put it together for our readers. Why use Satuit? 

Ms. Maguire: That question for me is an easy one. If you are in the asset management business, we provide the CRM software for your business right out of the box that others provide only after months and even years of consulting, jury rigging, customizing and so forth. You spend a lot of money to get what I would call a second tier product when you can, right out of the gate within a month or two months, be up and running on SatuitCRM and have a product that was built for what you do, and work with people who understand what you do. 


 

“I have always run business on my skill set and on the quality of our product, and I never thought I should get any business because I am a woman.  It just did not enter into the equation. I have been used to competing in a male dominated environment and winning because we are good at what we do.”- Karen Maguire


 

Satuit Technologies, Inc.

www.satuit.com



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