Data Management Review (DMR) Interview With Adam Saunders
This week Curium Data Systems launches CuriumEDM (Enterprise Data Management). Data Management Review (DMR) interviews Adam Saunders, Director of Curium Data Systems about the new platform.
DMR: Why did you decide to build out the enterprise data management capability on top of the existing Data Quality Management and Business Intelligence modules?
Adam Saunders: We always had a long term plan for the development of Curium and in many ways the launch of CuriumEDM is the culmination of that plan.
Prior to Curium, most of the data management solutions being implemented by financial services firms were technical data architecture products that focussed on the physical gathering and processing of data often combined with the incorporation of a data hub or data store of some description. While these solutions suited some firms they were often large undertakings and did not suit the budget or requirements of others.
Curium set out to give financial services firms more options, and in most cases easier and cheaper options, for improving their data management capabilities and with a primary objective of making data management a more business-led function. Curium does this by separating the physical data architecture from the business process through the incorporation of powerful abstract data models. This means that if a firm already has a functioning data architecture or does not have an appetite to make wholesale changes to that architecture, it can still radically improve its data management functions through the Curium business process tools that work in conjunction with the firm’s existing data architecture.
One of the most pressing areas of concern for many firms was, and still is, the active management of data quality across the organisation regardless of the data architecture employed. CuriumDQM provides a business process that puts the control and management of data quality in the hands of the Operations and ‘run the firm’ groups but with a very low impact on the IT and technical architecture of the firm
Using this same concept of separating the business process from the underlying data architecture, Curium set about tackling other core data management functions that were traditionally complex to implement and maintain. In 2015, the Curium team launched CuriumMDM – the Master Data Management component of the Curium platform. Again, the difference was that you didn’t need to make big changes to the firm’s data architecture to introduce or gain control, maintenance and easy understanding over your data matching and master data construction process.
With Curium’s business process modules now firmly established, the final step was to complete the journey by giving firms the option of using Curium to gather, process, store and distribute data and thus become an end to end platform for the management of data. And now in Autumn 2017 we’re launching CuriumEDM – Integrated Enterprise Data Management and Data Governance for financial service firms. So while at Curium we believe we can now fulfil the entire data management function it still maintains some key differences that, we believe, set it apart from the more traditional data management technology solutions.
DMR: So what are the main features of the EDM platform and why will firms consider CuriumEDM over other technology solutions?
Adam Saunders: CuriumEDM is a big product in terms of its scope but there are a lot of options in the way that firms can implement Curium using just the components that they need to improve their data management operations.
CuriumEDM persists all the concepts of the earlier versions and incorporates all the functions of these solutions. Included in CuriumEDM are the great business process features of the DQM and MDM modules along with a very powerful Business Intelligence module (CuriumBI) which provides great visibility and analytical functions over data for Operations, Analysts and Management, without the need for specialist IT resource.
CuriumEDM also includes an integrated connectivity layer (essentially an ETL and scheduler capability). This layer provides many options for pulling data from inside and outside the architecture, in whatever format it is available, and also for distributing master data sets to downstream consumer systems.
The core component of CuriumEDM is the proven Master Data Management module with its ease of use in the construction of master data as well as its full audit and data provenance history.
However, with the latest release, a firm has the added option to adopt the Curium pre-canned data model for the construction and time series storage of the main asset management data sets. This removes the need to reinvent the wheel for the most commonly constructed data sets as well as speeding up the overall implementation of the platform. The Curium data model is not a fixed schema. Rather it is an industry-based template which can be expanded, extended or altered as required – thus removing the limitations of ‘fixed model’ platforms.
The final major component of CuriumEDM is the integrated Data Governance module. The set up and maintenance of a Data Governance framework can be a fairly arduous task and is often difficult to maintain and keep up to date. For many, it seems to become a mammoth documentation exercise. Data Governance in CuriumEDM is a window into every aspect of the data process as it is performed by Curium. Essentially, it answers the most fundamental questions about the company’s business data: Who owns it? How is it defined? How do we use the data in constructing our master data sets? What validation and quality controls do we apply over it? Where is this data consumed within our main business applications, data stores and outputs? Active data governance and data lineage exposed over the entire data process – directly from your EDM solution.
DMR: What do you consider to be the key differences and USPs to other vendor solutions?
Adam Saunders: Aside from the comprehensive scope of CuriumEDM, we believe it is also the ease with which firms can apply and maintain Curium that makes it different to other vendor solutions.
Curium is a data management application not a toolset – so the business process is delivered ‘out of the box’. So whether you are using Curium as a full EDM platform or just the business process components against your existing architecture, you can be sure that the business users can set up the rules and workflow to run their business operations and have the cross architecture transparency to know exactly how data is used within the firm.
From experience, Curium implementation projects are generally shorter and less resource intensive than for ‘equivalent’ systems. Ongoing maintenance and ease of understanding over data processes is transparent so anyone in the business, operations and management of the firm can see how key data sets are processed – good for the firm, and good for both governance and regulatory oversight of that data.
DMR: Which financial institutions are you targeting with CuriumEDM?
Adam Saunders: Historically the target for Curium has been the ‘buy side’ financial firms. They tend to work less in silos than some of the sell side firms and have, therefore, been able to adopt Curium more easily across their business operations and data management functions. However, there is absolutely no limitations and no reason why a broader set of financial institutions could not adopt Curium including the sell side.
DMR: How would you go about a proof of concept?
Adam Saunders: Because of the rigorous separation of data and business processes Curium is relatively easy to configure to test out core business cases. If a firm has a good understanding of its data and the core outputs and business processes it needs, then the skills to implement Curium can usually be taught through a short proof of concept. We tend to use POCs almost as the first phase of an implementation, meaning our clients tend to get very early benefit from Curium and can often be live within the first 90 days of deployment.
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