R.J. O’Brien is a privately owned, diversified Futures Commission Merchant with client assets exceeding $2 billion. It services a nationwide network of more than 270 introducing brokers and some of the world’s largest financial, industrial, and agricultural institutions. It offers clients a trading platform that facilitates futures trading on all electronic and pit-traded markets.
Responding to new reporting needs.
R.J. O’Brien, formerly a family-owned business, was acquired by a private equity firm in July 2007. The new holding company’s reporting requirements were different and more substantial than those R.J. O’Brien utilized as an independent business. For example, the private equity firm required new metrics related to areas such as:
- Profitability by client
- Up and down trends by client
- Day-to-day volume by commodity
- Growth by market segment
Compiling data from R.J. O’Brien’s mainframe and other transactional systems and preparing the necessary reports required substantial manual effort. For assistance with aggregating data and key metrics, R.J. O’Brien turned to West Monroe Partners. In addition to its knowledge of R.J. O’Brien’s operations, West Monroe Partners offered substantial experience with data warehouses and performance reporting.
Gaining insight for effective decision making.
The project team first brought together an executive team representing the chief executive officer, president and the heads of every major business unit to define data and reporting needs, key metrics, and common nomenclature.
From these discussions, the project team:
- Worked with data “owners” to locate and establish access to the required information
- Modeled a data warehouse solution that offers both high-level and detailed views of key information
- Implemented a Microsoft-based data warehouse solution
- Refined key data management and reporting processes
- Validated key business data with the business owners and trained users to access, use, and manipulate the data for their specific reporting needs
Executives now can review and analyze the data they need to plan; make proactive business decisions; and report key metrics to the private equity stakeholders. They can:
- Deliver an accurate view of income and revenue, top clients, highest traded projects, and trends
- Plan account service based on activity and trends
- Reallocate resources among products or platforms
- Understand trends in pit versus electronic trading in order to staff key floors and trading-desk operations
R.J. O’Brien also gained an important historical perspective that its previous reporting processes did not provide. Finally, the company improved efficiency in its data gathering processes, improved documentation of critical data sources, and added internal skills and flexibility for adapting reporting as its needs evolve.