About a-team Marketing Services
The knowledge platform for the financial technology industry
The knowledge platform for the financial technology industry

A-Team Insight Blogs

Data Management Summit: Building a Flexible Enterprise Architecture

Subscribe to our newsletter

Flexible data architecture has become essential to financial institutions seeking to respond quickly to both market opportunities and challenges, but it can be difficult to build. Experts on the subject convened at A-Team Group’s Data Management Summit for a panel discussion covering the problems inherent to developing flexible enterprise data infrastructure, as well some solutions.

Andrew Delaney, editor-in-chief at A-Team Group, opened the discussion asking why flexibility in data architecture is important and how it can be achieved. Neill Vanlint, managing director, EMEA and Asia at GoldenSource, said: “Flexibility is important because firms have to start development from where they are and most have legacy systems. Getting applications to talk to each other is like putting lipstick on a pig, but we do have tools such as application programming interfaces that can help by plugging applications into an enterprise data platform.”

Amir Halfon, chief technologist, financial services at MarkLogic, added: “We need flexible data architecture to be able to respond to business drivers, such as the need to trade more complex instruments, and to support the changing needs of reference data consumers in areas such as compliance and risk.”

Building a flexible data architecture that transcends structured relational data models can be difficult and often requires change. Rupert Brown, lead architect in the office of the CTO at UBS Investment Bank, explained: “Change is driven by circumstance, fashion and what people believe in, but in a regulated world we need to think about process and the evidence of process that is required by auditors and regulators. We also need to think about function, but first we need to sort out how data will support process and function in a flexible and efficient way.”

Responding to a question from Delaney about what is driving the take-up of more flexible data infrastructure, Peter Glerup Ericson, an IT analyst at Nordea, said: “Regulation demanding risk data aggregation and the principles of data quality are driving the need for flexible data infrastructure. In turn, this is driving banks to get together on standards such as Fibo – Financial Industry Business Ontology – but these standards need to gain more traction if they are to satisfy regulators and drive internal development.”

In terms of tools for building flexible data architecture, Ericson suggested the Unified Modelling Language. He also favoured semantic technologies that encode the meaning of words separately from data, explaining: “The Fibo initiative is trying to define one meaning for terms used across the financial industry. If the resulting ontology was used in house and by regulators, both would understand data in the same way.” Interest in semantics, particularly semantic web, was noted by a number of panellists, but they agreed that the technology has yet to become mainstream and needs drivers, perhaps a regulatory requirement, to accelerate adoption.

Questioning the characteristics of a flexible data architecture, Delaney turned to Brown, who answered: “Flexible architecture should stand the test of time and support whatever focus there is in the market. The architecture needs an underlying architecture that describes it and the data model must be sufficiently semantic to make it flexible.”

On the issue of trade-offs between data management flexibility and performance, Halfon commented: “Flexibility does have performance implications as moving data into a less structured environment becomes more taxing for systems. But a much bigger impediment to performance and success is the lack of a champion who understands new generation data management technologies.”

Subscribe to our newsletter

Related content

WEBINAR

Recorded Webinar: The roles of cloud and managed services in optimising enterprise data management

Cloud and managed services go hand-in-hand when it comes to modern enterprise data management (EDM), but how can the best solutions for the business be selected and implemented to ensure optimal data management based on accurate, consistent, and high-quality data, and delivering improved efficiency, better decisions and competitive advantage? This webinar will answer these questions,...

BLOG

Snowflake Acquisition of Samooha Enhances Secure Data Collaboration

Snowflake is enhancing its ability to offer secure data collaboration backed by governance, privacy and data security following its recent acquisition of data clean room specialist Samooha. Built exclusively on Snowflake, Samooha offers both technical and business users product environments with industry specific workflows, as well as an intuitive product experience and interface that make...

EVENT

TradingTech Briefing New York

Our TradingTech Briefing in New York is aimed at senior-level decision makers in trading technology, electronic execution, trading architecture and offers a day packed with insight from practitioners and from innovative suppliers happy to share their experiences in dealing with the enterprise challenges facing our marketplace.

GUIDE

Enterprise Data Management

The current financial crisis has highlighted that financial institutions do not have a sufficient handle on their data and has prompted many of these institutions to re-evaluate their approaches to data management. Moreover, the increased regulatory scrutiny of the financial services community during the past year has meant that data management has become a key...