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Reuters Will Leverage RMDS Installed Base, Software Partners, to Secure Growth of New EDM Platform

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Reuters has set some aggressive growth targets for the Reuters Enterprise Platform (REP) – launched officially at Sibos in Boston earlier this month, and envisaged as a complete enterprise data management solution. According to Gary Barr, its global head of EDM, one client is live already, and a second is expected to be live by the end of this year. “We aim to have 20-25 clients by December 2008,” he told Reference Data Review in Boston. Reuters is also considering launching – possibly next year – an ASP version of the solution (currently it is a managed service, with the software at the client site and maintenance done by Reuters). This could help it to generate real scale on the buy side and among tier two and three firms, the vendor believes – and take the number of users up to the 1000 mark.

The REP is described as “a fully managed service for the creation and distribution of verified data across the enterprise”. It comprises three components: the already widely implemented Reuters Market Data System (RMDS); the Reuters Reference Data System (RRDS) – the warehouse component for golden copy creation (based on technology bought from Worldwide Information Network Systems earlier this year); and the Reuters Enterprise Integration Engine (REIE) for orchestration and downstream data distribution. This latter component is a piece of software to which Reuters has exclusive rights, developed for it by integration specialist m35.

Barr says one of the existing clients is using the warehouse component of the platform (RRDS) only, and another is taking the whole stack as part of a market risk solution. Pressed on whether the REP vision – of uniting real-time and reference data in a single infrastructure for true enterprise data management – is finding favour in the marketplace so far, Barr said: “The notion of tying together real-time and reference data has resonated from a vision perspective, although there is not so much demand for this out there right now.” The trigger for implementing a true enterprise approach will likely be those aspects of data – such as corporate actions – that are clearly needed by both front and back offices, he reckons.

Reuters’ entry into the EDM space was unsurprisingly a topic of some discussion at the Boston event – at which most if not all the existing EDM vendors were exhibiting. Some observers expressed the view that a company of the size and reputation of Reuters setting out its EDM stall is good news for all the providers in the space, as it endorses the validity of the EDM concept. Barr also echoed this view, saying: “We think the scale and footprint and the brand name can offer value to other EDM vendors, and we are open and keen to see how we could work with them.” Important here is that Reuters sees its real strength as being on the integration side, rather than the data warehousing side. “We’d be open to putting anyone’s data warehouse in our platform,” Barr continued. “I see the warehouse as an application, rather than a concrete part of data management. If firms already have data warehouse applications in place, then we can provide the distribution and integration. Our strength is in the integration and the knitting together.”

Other sources questioned whether Reuters hadn’t already tried its hand at EDM, through the ill-fated joint venture with Capco, Synetix. Barr dismissed the comparison, saying Synetix was based around a “reconciliation solution”.

What is certain is that Reuters has at least two key strengths to play to when it comes to growing the client base for REP. One is the installed base of RMDS users – Barr says during the next 12 months the vendor will be talking to them all with a view to migrating them over to the broader platform. The other is the 600 software partners already writing applications to RMDS. “Clearly, we are working with them to encourage them to extend that connectivity to the other components as well,” he adds. “This will lead to many off-the-shelf applications around the industry having native connectivity to the Reuters Enterprise Platform in the broadest sense.”

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