Taking Control of Your Data

Paul McInnis, Data Management Product Manager, Eagle Investment Systems

I recently took part in a panel debate hosted by Buy-Side Technology magazine that centered on “Different approaches to improving data management”.  Much of the debate revolved around what are often seen as competing tensions around enabling quick access to data while maintaining a high quality and level of security around it, against a backdrop of rapid growth in the volume of data available to firms.

The discussion highlighted how dramatically the approaches taken by firms can vary.  One of the client panelists spoke of the benefits of using multiple vendors across several solutions to avoid lapses in the quality of their data, while another provided direct SQL access to their end-users.  Regardless of what approach firms take, they need the ability to manage the entitlement of data because only then can they control it.  It’s also critical to have the business directly involved in their data governance framework.  When things go wrong, because they always will at some point, you need to know who the right people are to make the decisions to remediate the data and get it back out to the organization.

Security goes hand-in-hand with data management and becomes an increasingly important issue as data volumes continue to grow.  Standardizing how an organization consumes data will greatly simplify the operational support model and will have direct benefits when it comes to data quality.  It also provides a scalable platform and greatly reduces risk.  For example, providing direct SQL access to a limited and well-trained user group may satisfy their need for access to the raw data, it is not a viable enterprise-wide solution.   An alternative approach would be to provide a robust application programming interface (API) where the end-users would request or “call” this data by passing the parameters for the required data set.  This approach provides direct access to the raw data, but in a controlled and monitored system environment.

The panel concluded the conversation on the role an investment book of record (IBOR) plays in firms today.  An IBOR has moved from something that’s nice to have, to a necessity.  When you look across today’s global asset managers, they have different geographical locations, different trading platforms and different accounting systems.  The IBOR really is the means by which to standardize a data set across the enterprise so that your performance system is looking at the same data as your compliance system and your risk system.  It’s a necessity in today’s market to be looking at consistent data across the enterprise.

With a greater volume of data available to firms than ever before, maintaining control over it has become both more important and more of a challenge. Standardizing the data sets being used across the enterprise, actively managing users’ entitlement to that data and ensuring the business is involved in the data governance framework, gives investment companies that control and helps ensure that it works as effectively and efficiently as possible.

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