TECHWORK 23: Robert Sciaraffo, The Riverside Company
Sciaraffo began his current role at The Riverside Company in 2020. He had returned to the firm in 2015 as a director of information systems after spending a year as senior systems engineer at Lord, Abbett & Co. following almost three years at Riverside in a similar role.
He worked for almost six years at Dynamic Data, first as a technical applications consultant and then as a senior technical consultant. Both roles saw him placed full-time at Riverside, where he started out dedicating a quarter of his time to infrastructure and support. However, this division inverted over the years until he was brought in officially with Riverside in 2012 as a senior systems engineer.
He holds a Bachelor of Science in computer science from Saint Joseph’s University, and during his studies he interned at a credit union, predominantly supporting the company’s IT operations functions including end-user support and IT infrastructure.
From 2011 to 2014, he additionally obtained an MBA in information systems from Fordham Gabelli School of Business.
As one of his main achievements, Sciaraffo was responsible for the firm’s full transition to the cloud. Previously, Riverside had infrastructure worldwide, which was costly and required substantial time and energy efforts. The transition to the cloud took an intermediate step after Hurricane Sandy, with infrastructure first moved to co-located data centres and then into a permanent cloud-native environment.
Additionally, he highlights having built a right-sized team armed with efficient and mature operational procedures to accommodate the changing needs of the firm over time. Especially as it is geographically diverse, sitting in both the US and Europe. Another achievement on the personnel level is the creation of a dedicated security function. Riverside previously engaged an external consultancy, meaning every member of the team was responsible for security. With a new individual appointment, the security function is now fully integrated.
Finally, the firm works closely with the tech leaders of its portfolio companies. Following acquisition, Riverside acts as a sounding board for its portfolio, particularly where its technical leaders face similar challenges. Additionally, the firm provides a curated network of vendor relationships that the portfolio companies can tap into.
On Sciaraffo’s agenda in the future is an initiative to extract data from custom applications and a number of SaaS applications the firm uses into a centralised warehouse and enable reporting.
The firm has a homegrown portfolio management system, which is undergoing a modernisation of the tech stack in order to democratise the data to inform decision making and reporting.
Riverside relies on an industry-standard cloud service provider for its collaboration and email communication needs. Further, it uses an enterprise identity and access management platform as well as an enterprise file collaboration and data governance platform. For a unified communications-as-a-service platform, Riverside leverages a best-in-breed solution to round out the suite of productivity services/platforms.
For data warehousing, integration for pipeline management and data pipeline integration, Riverside is using a suite of solutions that will allow the company to grow and flex over time. This includes an integration platform as a service provider of low-code/no-code automation solutions.
Sciaraffo is a member of two IT peer networks – one is focused on the VC/PE space, the other more generally on the alternative investment landscape. He is regularly in touch with both, on conferences and webinars.