How Blackstone CTO Bill Murphy Drives Innovation

September 17, 2018
BY Peter High Founder and President of Metis Strategy
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By Peter High. Published on Forbes

Blackstone Chief Technology Officer Bill Murphy has been a CTO multiple times, but he personifies the diversity of the role. At Capital IQ, he was a co-founder and CTO, where his responsibilities included overseeing all product design, development, infrastructure, and technology support and was involved with all operations of the business. That entrepreneurial experience has served him well now that he works with so many businesses across the Blackstone portfolio, on top of running the technology portfolio within the company. He brings a consultants mindset, as well, having spent the early part of his career with Sapient.

Murphy believes that his role today is to embrace and dream ahead of the broader business with technology, to assemble a team to enable innovation, and to develop and integrate technologies that are, to the greatest extent possible, future proof.

He covers all of the above and more in this conversation.

(To listen to a podcast version of this interview, please visit this link. To read future stories like this one, please follow me on Twitter @PeterAHigh.)

Peter High: Could you describe your current purview as the Chief Technology Officer of Blackstone?

Bill Murphy: Blackstone is an Alternative Asset Manager with over $400 billion in assets under management [AUM] for pension funds and other types of institutional investors across different segments. We invest in a variety of areas, such as private equity where we buy companies, and real estate where we buy buildings. We also invest in a hedge fund called GSO Capital Partners, which manages corporate credit and other types of debt instruments.

I had an interesting migration coming over from Capital IQ, where I was part of the founding team. At Capital IQ, I was responsible for building a product for our customer base, which was made up of hundreds of thousands of financial services employees. We were focused on meeting one need exceptionally well, and while over time we built many use cases, they were inwardly focused. On the flip side, Blackstone must meet the needs of our 2,300 employees, which is a relatively small number given the impact that we have across all of our different businesses. Unlike at Capital IQ where we investigated a few deep use cases, Blackstone is focused on a coordination of many small use cases across an extremely broad spectrum of what we are trying to accomplish as a business. Furthermore, I lead a strategic venture effort that works with our vendors by occasionally investing money off Blackstone’s balance sheet, which has been successful on multiple occasions. Blackstone’s belief is that the better we understand the business, the more likely we are to make the right types of investments in small companies. By doing so, we are able to help them shepherd through such that not only Blackstone gets a great product, but the market does as well. Lastly, across our portfolio, I advise and help create a community across many companies, and we have some specific disciplines of that in our portfolio operations group. We are continually tweaking this to try to make it better because the needs of technology are rapidly evolving. It gives an interesting perspective, and there is never a dull moment with variety.

To read the full article, please visit Forbes.

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