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Product Methodology

Sunsetting Enterprise Support for Novus Legacy

Our new platform provides you with greater autonomy and flexibility, elevating your portfolio analytics experience.

Andrea Gentilini
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We’re incredibly proud of the progress we’ve made on Novus Dashboards this past year and we’re truly excited for what’s to come. With its new functionality, we (and many of you!) feel Dashboards are now undeniably better than the original (aka legacy) Novus Platform. Therefore, on December 15th, Novus will be sunsetting enterprise support for its legacy platform.  

In this article, we’ll recap the “legacy” (previously within the Portfolios tab on the platform) versus the “new” (Dashboards tab on the platform) and discuss the reasons behind the migration, the benefits for you, and the details of the migration plan.

What is “Legacy” vs. “New” Novus?

More than 10 years ago, we pioneered the art of portfolio intelligence and have been perfecting it ever since. We released our legacy platform, one of the first SaaS portfolio intelligence systems available to institutional investors, in a world dominated by Excel and clunky software (aka 2009—almost makes one nostalgic about the dark screens and fluorescent characters of the 80s).

The platform was thoughtful in its design (a novelty for software at the time) and boasted fast processing speeds. When first released, there wasn't a single meeting where it wasn't welcomed with a "wow." Nobody believed that you could run an attribution job for a 100-security portfolio, daily, spanning multiple years, all in just 20 seconds! Our revolutionary platform begged to differ.  

historical category exposure, including long and short exposure, batting average, PnL, and annualized return
Figure 1: Historical Category Exposures in Legacy Novus Platform

With time, however, what was once revolutionary became industry-standard and as investor needs evolved, so did our platform. We recognized that investors required greater flexibility when it came to analysis and reporting, so we built a highly performant API engine and an extensively customizable interface. The two together make up the "new" platform—the future of Novus—while the fixed experience that we started with in 2009 is now “legacy.”

investors require greater flexibility when it comes to analysis and reporting , navigate between dashboards and data tabs
Figure 2: Dashboards and Data Tabs in Novus Platform

There are two main spaces one can navigate to in the new platform:

  1. Dashboards Tab The place to create and store dashboards, ranging from analytical deep-dives to operational workflows. Users can adopt the views recommended by Novus (informed by hundreds of our platform users) in the form of templates, or start from scratch and create their own.
  1. Data Tab The place where users view and manage all their portfolio data and related assets, alongside a vast database for sourcing additional data—like transparency for new funds or purchasable benchmark families. It’s also where users can upload and define their own data (e.g., upload or construct portfolios, set portfolio alerts, develop cash flow projection models).  

Ultimately, no matter where you start your journey, Dashboards are the primary consumption and delivery mechanism for all that Novus has to offer. You can start by accessing a dashboard directly and explore switching out the portfolio, or start by browsing your portfolios first and then applying it to a dashboard of your choice.

Why Are We Doing This?

Our team is relentlessly focused on solving your portfolio intelligence challenges. While revolutionary for its time, the structure of the legacy platform hampered our ability to serve you in a number of ways; let’s explore more concretely what we’re leaving behind and why.

First, the legacy platform is fixed in its appearance and views. You can’t organize information the way you, as a user, want to see things. Most of you have developed set habits for analytics over the course of your careers that the platform ought to support. Suppose your daily routine consists of watching the PnL of your portfolio broken down by positions, along the median exposure of the last seven trading days, 30-days liquidity, grouped by market cap then sector; wouldn’t it be nice to view this on Novus with one click? With our new platform, we can easily configure a dashboard that supports this view, and any view (in theory). Configuring views in the new platform allows you to view your data exactly the way YOU want.  

Second, the architecture of the legacy platform was considerably rigid. We could not innovate or respond to client needs at our desired pace. Say for example that, as an allocator, you want to configure beta calculations using a specific benchmark and a specific look-back window. In the legacy world, that took extensive scoping and designing. The new platform has a more dynamic architecture, which means that fields and properties associated with positions can be added and configured very quickly. Often, features can be made available within hours (as opposed to weeks and months). Our engineering team built this beta feature in two days using the new platform's architecture. Figure 3 depicts how fields are made available to users for selection and rendering within the new platform.

collaboration is a key tenant of today's modern work place
Figure 3: Creating Custom Component in Dashboards

Third, the legacy platform did not allow for collaboration, a key tenant of today’s modern workplace. With the new platform, you can directly grant access to (and share!) your dashboards and your data. We still see many institutional investment managers produce and share content in the form of PDFs (board reports, analytical deep dives, exposure, risk, and attribution tables), which are typically shared as email attachments. The new platform embraces a modern way to share content: links to digital objects which live on the cloud. You can share dashboards, control access rights, and get feedback on who’s seen what and when viewership took place. Figure 4 depicts the Snapshot function, which Novus users are adopting rapidly to share portfolio insights and broad analytical content produced by the platform.

snapshot showing top level sector exposures and top level geography exposures
Figure 4: Taking a Snapshot in Dashboards

Fourth, the legacy platform gave users little control over their data. If you needed to change the default benchmark assigned to the portfolio, you had to call us. If you wanted to label your investment by the analyst’s name covering them to group by the same, you had to call us. If you wanted to associate a new cashflow projection model to a new private equity investment you’re trying to model out, you had to call us. We love our team at Novus, and I am sure you enjoy talking with us, but we both can make better use of our time. In the new platform, users have more control over their data. All the use cases discussed above can be managed by users themselves in a few clicks. For example, Figure 5 depicts how users can configure an alert on the Novus platform that will tell them when a certain portfolio metric has breached a limit set by the user.  

setting exposure alert for long exposure and short exposure conditions
Figure 5: Setting an Alert in Dashboards

How Will the Migration Occur?

We’re not shutting down access to the legacy platform, but we’re effectively sunsetting enterprise support for it by December 15, 2021. What does this mean? Bugs in the legacy platform (yes, there are still a few there) won’t be fixed, and we won’t be answering questions on the underlying methodology. We will help you reconcile any number on the new platform, but we won’t work to explain how a certain metric was calculated on the legacy platform. Take smoothed attribution, for example. Since the legacy and new platform adopt two different approaches for smoothing, the contribution for the same position over the same period will differ depending on whether you inspect it in legacy or the new platform. We won’t be putting together Excel-based proofs to explain the differences in the two methodologies, but we’re happy to help you learn the new methodology. Check out an explanation here.

During the period leading to December 15, 2021, a banner will be visible on legacy platform pages; a single click will re-direct you to the corresponding experience on the new platform.  

How Can I Get Familiar with the New Platform?

Our client management team has already introduced you to the new platform. The looming deadline (once more, December 15, 2021) provides a good opportunity for you to reach out and make sure that you’re ready for the migration. This boils down to two things:

  • Have all users in my firm received a training session on the new platform?
  • Have all analytical reports been migrated in the new environment?

If you prefer working on your own and walking your own path to familiarize yourself, consider spending time at Novus University. As usual, please share your feedback with us; we’re continuously looking for ways to improve.  

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