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DST Global Solutions’ Gallacher Discusses Blueprinting Approach to Data with Anova Platform, New Client Win

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DST Global Solutions launched its middle office data management and analytics platform Anova towards the end of last year and has since been working on the migration of its client base onto the new platform and has bagged its first client, according to Des Gallacher, global head of data management and analytics solutions for the vendor. Gallacher, who is a long-time employee of DST and is based out of its Boston operations, reckons the vendor’s “blueprinting” approach to modelling data from other systems in order to expedite systems integration of Anova differentiates it from the crowd.

The vendor launched the platform back in November with the intention of providing asset management firms with a holistic view of their data from across their organisation, including data that resides within in-house and other vendor supplied solutions. “We use a platform approach to take the data output from other systems and consolidate that data and deliver it to the client for risk and analytics purposes,” explains Gallacher.

This was therefore quite a new direction for DST to take, when it made the decision to develop the platform at the end of 2009. Up until that point, the focus was seemingly on more of a product-based approach to the market with solutions such as DST’s HiPortfolio offering. Gallacher indicates that the decision to develop Anova was prompted by client requests from firms seeking to get a better handle on their data for purposes such as enterprise risk management (a trend that other vendors have also been focused on).

Gallacher talks up the “blueprinting” aspect of the platform, which means that it can connect to and model the data within other systems without requiring an application programming interface (API) to be created. Hence it can take the data sets from a risk system, for example, and allow the user to model that data directly, without the involvement of DST in the middle. Gallacher reckons this metadata layer makes the solution much more flexible and lightweight than others in the market. In fact, this resembles the functions of a business intelligence tool by taking data and allowing it to be represented back to the user in a much more visual way.

The solution was developed in cooperation with one of DST’s large clients, he explains, and used the core architecture of the vendor’s performance attribution system on which to develop the platform. The focus is now on migrating the rest of DST’s clients onto the platform using a staggered implementation; provided they opt for it, of course. Gallacher indicates that initial functionality can be available within a “matter of weeks” and firms are advised to begin with the data items that are of most value to their business, such as for market risk analytics.

As well as existing clients, the vendor has also bagged its first new client for the platform, who Gallacher indicates is based in Australia and is expected to go live in two months. Five more clients are also lined up to get on board at the beginning of the second quarter of this year, he adds.

Gallacher is also very hopeful about the success of the platform this year, noting that he expects around 15 clients to be on board by the end of 2011 and another 40 on the cards for the next couple of years. This investment is likely to be driven by institutional asset managers and pension funds looking to boost their compliance and risk management capabilities ahead of the introduction of Solvency II, he says.

“This year has seen a serious uptick in interest in the US state pension funds sector, for example, as many are looking at performance attribution and data aggregation solutions,” explains Gallacher. “We have seen a lot more budgets being put in place for this and a lot more request for proposals as a result.”

Solvency II is certainly something of a buzzword for the vendor community at the moment and many data management solution vendors are tuning their sales pitches to this particular area (just look at SunGard, Cadis and GoldenSource’s recent wins and product development for example).

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