Fear about losing competitive advantage is the impetus behind big data, which mutual fund and ETF managers consistently rank as a top technology trend in the years ahead. The general consensus among managers: "We'll be comparatively less productive and innovative if we don't invest in big data."

Technologies around data analytics, tracking, and reporting are critical to enable fund managers to service their shareowners and advisors effectively while being able to take advantage of the plethora of information that many money management firms already collect for selling, retention, and sales growth, explains Chuck Gallant, managing director at BNY Mellon. Big data is not just about collecting more information. It's about using information more effectively, which comes at the cost of hiring additional staff to handle more complicated analysis. "But fund managers are increasingly making this a priority," says NICSA President Theresa Hamacher.

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