The progress of LakeFront Data Ventures (LDV), the specialist data management consultancy led by former SunGard EDM man Dale Richards, appears to be gathering pace. Richards reports that the company has “been engaged by a number of players across the whole ecosystem” – including a major Wall Street bank, a large Canadian pension fund, a major data vendor and a leading trade processing player. LakeFront’s “unique” approach – of providing strategic management consultancy to help firms formulate their EDM roadmaps, and also the technical expertise to help them execute their plans – is resonating well in the marketplace, he reckons, as the “higher order” drivers for EDM programmes kick in.
“Firms are realising that it’s not just about efficiency,” he says. “It’s about understanding that this data asset is going to be a core component of being competitive and generating returns. Our clients are good examples. They are redesigning entire data infrastructures to change their orientation to be more competitive – to operate more nimbly like smaller firms; trading new and different complex instruments, aggressively adopting e-trading, hiring new quantitative analysts to boost performance, etc. There’s a realization that to support this, they need a better data machine: one that can be responsive, adaptive and scalable.”
LDV has teamed with its existing technology partner ReferenceDataFactory to launch a new financial enterprise and reference data management consulting practice. Simultaneously, Richards has joined the ReferenceDataFactory board. The new practice seeks to combine ReferenceDataFactory’s service-oriented architecture-based data management technology with a “service-oriented data management structure”, Richards says. “Our concept of a service-oriented data management structure is based on making the data management departments function more as product management groups,” he continues. “Within big firms, the familiar spaghetti structure of the IT systems also often applies to the business model. The same approach that’s required to improve the IT infrastructure is also required to improve the business structure. The aim is to create an agile structure, within which a central data management office can create services to be used throughout the whole company.”
LakeFront is also adding associates to work with Richards and his colleagues (also ex-SunGard) Marc Odho and Rob Ord (Reference Data Review, March 2007). Paul Harrison, yet another former SunGard EDM executive, who also led SunGard’s strategic MiFID data effort, has joined LDV’s Data Management Partner Program. Harrison is currently managing director of Enterprise Data IT Services (EDITS), advising and managing EDM launches for tier one European banks and brokers.
Meanwhile, Carrie Pascal, an expert in operational risk, financial services software product and strategic planning, has also joined the LDV partner program as an associate. Most recently she was vice president of product management for BPS Inc, the operational risk management and compliance systems provider at which Richards did a stint as president last year, having been placed in the role by a venture capitalist investing in the company. LDV reckons Pascal’s experience in operational risk and data will be useful as “the scope of EDM broadens”.