Techwork 2022: Neil Hendricks, Hg
Hendricks started out as a client services analyst at Accenture. After two years, he moved on to Aviva, where he was a business systems analyst. He then joined Hg in 2002, initially as a senior system analyst before being promoted to his current IT director role after two years.
Since becoming IT director at Hg in 2004, Hendricks has been a driving force behind the firm’s digitalisation. “I developed an IT strategy and roadmap, which we’re now working through and seeing real progress,” he says. As part of this, he moved Hg’s technology to the cloud and developed a strong cyber security programme. “Internally, this focuses on prevent, detect and response technologies, and for external suppliers, we now challenge their own security.”
Hendricks has ensured Hg’s IT function works alongside the business, rather than being considered an afterthought. "We encourage a feedback culture, so people can tell us what is working, what isn’t and what helps with their day jobs. That’s the best way to ensure our technology is constantly fit for purpose.”
Currently, he is focused on improving cyber security as well as simplifying technology at the firm. “We want to have less products and systems, and overall more unity to make our technology easier and more seamless for staff to use,” he says. Alongside this, Hendricks is part of a team finding ways to make it easier for investment teams to find key information and lessons learned. “There is a lot of valuable insight at Hg, in colleagues’ minds and in shared data. We need to find easier ways to access it across the board.”
Speaking about the firm’s current tech stack, Hendricks explains Hg’s core systems include Microsoft, FIS Investran (accounting), DealCloud (CRM) and iLevel (portfolio reporting). “For research and data, we use various providers such as CapIQ, Factset, Pitchbook, Gartner and Mergermarket,” he adds. “And for IT services, we’re well equipped with RFA, CMI, Softcat and Transparity.”
Looking ahead, Hendricks wants to ensure the IT infrastructure responds and scales as the business needs. “The IT function has to have the capability to keep pace with investment teams and the firm’s strategy,” he says. He also wants to provide ongoing education and training to ensure staff work effectively using the technology across the business. “I want to create a simple user-driven experience for the deal teams and operational functions, making it as agile and mobile as possible.” And not forgetting governance and processes, “I’d like to improve and develop a mature approach to data protection, while automating as many manual processes as possible,” he adds.
Well versed in this industry, Hendricks is a member of a private equity technology leaders roundtable of about 30 PE firms. “It’s a great resource to not only bounce ideas with like-minded colleagues across the industry, but to compare technology, strategy and see what others are prioritising. I’m also part of a US-focused network of IT professionals, which gives access to an even wider pool of experts and knowledge.”