When Chris Dawson managed investment funds at JPMorgan, he had to pull together information from 29 different systems. He used different applications for allocating assets, choosing stocks, assessing fixed-income products, overlaying currency effects and looking at increasingly complex derivatives. Oh, and he had to piece together price and index data from Bloomberg and Barclays Capital, as well as other tools for creating benchmarks or managing risks.

That showed him how fragmented-you might say, messy-a fund manager's desktop can be, as digital services proliferate.

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