The changing Data Landscape – Identifying where to invest in data projects at Asset Managers
IT are asking for funding to improve the data processing capability. Operations are requesting additional resources to manage data quality. The Data Analysts want new tools to track data provenance. All the while the fund managers are complaining about ‘bad data’.
In today’s world, data is a resource for every business and particularly so in the financial sector where it is key to driving efficiency, accuracy and, ultimately, profits. Inefficient or ineffective use of data and poor data governance increases running cost, increases the risk of trading losses and the reputational risk of the business in the eyes of its clients, investors and regulators.
When senior management is asked to fund investments into fixing ‘bad data’ how do they know that this investment is being made where it is most needed and perhaps more importantly where it will deliver the greatest ‘bang for their buck’ ?
One way to bring clarity to the debate is to consider the ‘data landscape’ through which information flows around the business. The technical and operational support for data within the firm involves a wide range of capabilities from basic networks and systems infrastructure through data transport and data stores, all the way up to data quality analysis and data governance best practices – all of which need to work effectively to avoid ‘bad data’ and drive efficiency.
On one side of the data landscape lie the core technical platforms and processes which exist to support the loading, storage and distribution of data around the business – this might be best described as the data processing side of the landscape. The technology tools and practices for managing data at the data processing end of the landscape, typically within IT, have been around for many years and some have achieved a good level of maturity. These capabilities are required to make the business work and, whilst there may be some efficiencies still to be made, every business has by now achieved a level of capability in this area as evidenced by the fact they are still in business.
At the other end of the landscape we have capabilities that unlock the value of this data to the business. This part of the landscape is about the tools and processes that allow a business to monitor its data quality and providing group-wide access and visibility to data along with usable management information and robust data governance practices. In other words, the ability to make the firm’s use of data more effective and reliable. These data centric capabilities make the business efficient.
This idea of the data landscape – i.e. identifying the full range of data functions and capabilities, both current and desired, across the business – can be developed into a model that can help to target further investments into the overall data platform. Functional capabilities are mapped out to describe the systems support for data. The model can then be ‘heat mapped’ to provide a very visual steer for where further investment should be made to upgrade the support for good data within the business. Typically, these areas of ‘heat’ will show those capabilities that make the business work are well supported whilst those that make the business efficient are not.
Faced with the above conclusion from a data landscape evaluation, the firm’s management needs to assess whether they should continue investment in the data architecture/processing tools in the hope that these will deliver some further efficiency or perhaps look at tools that are specifically designed to drive data efficiency and reduce costs and risk.
What is often observed is that in most asset management businesses the core data architecture and processes are in place and there is little need to replace what is performing well already. In these budget conscious times, investment in distinct data control and data quality technology which can be attached to the current architecture will often deliver a much bigger ‘bang for your buck’ across the business.
At Sun Street we have focused our investment into servicing these key areas of added value within the data landscape. Our flagship product, Curium, provides a complementary set of capabilities that can be deployed to enhance the existing landscape within a business without the need to replace those functions that are performing well already.
Curium unlocks the data hidden within systems, providing access to the business and giving group-wide visibility and control across the current architecture. By reducing the burden on IT and empowering the subject matter experts within Operations to take on the management of data quality Curium drives data efficiency, ultimately delivering a better overall service to the business and finally quieting those fund managers! To discover more about the Curium approach please get in touch.
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