Oracle is working with a number of vendor clients, including data management solution vendors GoldenSource, Asset Control and Polarlake, on joint implementation projects to build out reference data management capabilities. Ambreesh Khanna, vice president of technology and systems at Oracle Financial Services’ Global Business Unit, explains to Reference Data Review that the main driver behind these projects is adapting systems to meet regulatory requirements.
“All of these projects are being run independently of each other, and each one is happening because we’ve been asked by customers to work with one of these three partners in the reference data space,” explains Khanna of the GoldenSource, Asset Control and Polarlake projects.
Khanna, who is responsible for incorporating Oracle’s technology into its own and partner financial services industry (FSI) products, as well as focusing on the vendor’s capital markets strategy, continues: “Once we start working with a partner though, we’re obviously keen to expand the range of work we do with them so that it becomes relevant to a larger customer base. The more benchmarking exercises, white papers and joint implementation projects we can do with each, the more we will be able to work with other customers who have similar requirements in the reference data arena.”
He notes that the main driver behind these projects is preparation for the regulation that has sprung out of the financial crisis. To this end, he reckons the capital markets industry is moving the way of the banking industry in terms of high levels of regulation and pressure for compliance. “This is specifically relevant to the reference data area, as our customers are trying to find a single source of truth for their reference data to help with this compliance,” he adds; a common refrain amongst many vendors in the data management business of late.
Khanna indicates that customers are looking to build centralised data repositories that can then feed downstream pricing and risk systems as a result of this regulatory focus on data quality. “We don’t see this pattern changing – regulation will remain the largest driver for this sort of large scale data management project, that we didn’t really see before now in the capital markets industry,” he contends.
Given that many of Oracle’s partner firms compete with each other in the data management space, an argument could be established that the first to complete their respective projects would have an advantage over the others. On this note, Khanna says: “While customers will pick the software vendor based on their approach this space, we are sure that enterprise customers will give preference to software vendors that can show enterprise class scale, resilience and performance. Anything that will help a customer shorten their deployment cycle, and give them confidence that the software vendor and the underlying technology vendor have worked together to make the application ready for the enterprise, will obviously have the upper hand.”
He indicates that some of these partners are deep adopters of Oracle technologies, and some are “getting there”. If you look online you’ll see Oracle has already published benchmarking papers with the former set (a full list of Oracle’s data warehousing partners is available on its website here).
“Oracle’s responsibility in such partnerships is to do all the hard work in terms of deploying these vendors’ applications on top of our technologies – saving customers from having to do it themselves,” explains Khanna. “We do all the architecture, sizing, scaling and reliability testing on Oracle premises, and it simply means that the choice of technology platform for customers to run their reference data management applications on becomes pretty easy, because we have it all ready to go.”
Khanna reckons that there has been such interest in Oracle’s offering from this community in particular because it is well known for large scale data management. “This is a complex area, where lots of data needs to be looked at, brought in from various different sources both internal and external, and then needs to be cleansed, manipulated, stored and pushed out. Given Oracle’s pedigree in managing large data (and not only in databases – we also have technologies such as Oracle GoldenGate, Oracle Data Integrator, and the in-memory database technologies, which can seriously accelerate some of the data manipulation that needs to be carried out), this is an area where customers who are facing new business challenges know that Oracle has been tried, tested and trusted,” he elaborates.
In addition, while a number of vendors are looking at next generation technology like semantic databases, Khanna reckons Oracle has a unique take on this, and it’s another reason why people are comfortable working with the vendor on this. “While we offer full compliance with semantic technologies and relevant industry standards, our technology means that all data is completely backed up by Oracle Database. This means that when deploying semantic technology into a large enterprise (which is still quite new, although it’s becoming seen as a relevant technology), companies look at Oracle’s approach and feel that it makes sense for them,” he says.
“Working with us, customers have the benefits of semantic technology at the front end, but the familiar and reliable relational database at the back end. This means that disaster recovery and data backup is already covered, and customers know how to use it without making any additional investments or deploying new mechanisms. Other vendors do offer semantic databases, but they are standalone and will come with associated implementation and training costs,” he continues.
Oracle is also working with risk management focused solution vendors such as Murex and Calypso, but Khanna notes that he is unable to provide a full list of the vendors that the vendor works with at this stage. However, he says that Oracle is absolutely working with vendors in the risk, pricing and analytics space, for similar reasons as those previously outlined. “The aim is to make sure that Oracle’s relevant technologies are fully understood by these vendors, so that it becomes easier and more attractive for them to make their application products available on top of the Oracle technology stack. Once we’ve got to that stage, it’s the same story – a customer will look to run – for example – Murex, see that Oracle has done all the work in terms of architecture and testing the application running on our platform, and choose to work with us because we, in partnership with the vendor, are able to run fully incorporated solutions with minimal fuss,” he explains.
In terms of the benefits the clients of these various vendors will see, post-implementation, Khanna indicates that the main benefit is less work for the customer. He says that implementations will be much quicker, as there’s no need to go through the typical cycle of sizing and scaling; Oracle has already done all the hard work. He adds: “In addition, because Oracle has now picked up some of the expertise of these vendor partners thanks to working with them, if there is a problem faced by the customer tomorrow, Oracle has the experience to get to the bottom of that problem much more quickly, making life for the customer more simple and more efficient.”
On the subject of more potential interest in the Oracle partnership approach this year from the vendor community, he is confident that there will absolutely be more deals signed. “Since we started talking to our capital markets and banking partners about how Oracle does large scale data management, we’ve found interest to be quite overwhelming,” he says. “We expect it to increase because of solutions like the ‘extreme Java platform’, where we can help any vendor or customer with applications written in Java to accelerate their performance.”
With the Oracle technology stack including Exadata boxes, SPARC, Fusion Middleware and the drive to constantly evolve to offer more functionality, Oracle also expects interest from vendors to increase.
Khanna concludes: “We are doing all this work to set up solutions for customers. A strong solution from the Oracle perspective is an amalgamation of Oracle technologies and applications that solve business problems for customers. This could be an Oracle application or – as in the case of what we’ve discussed today – a partner application; from a technology perspective, we don’t distinguish. Obviously with Oracle applications such as Oracle Reveleus and Oracle Mantas we can do even more because we have 100% access, but we position the same technology to our partners as we do internally, to benefit us, the partners, and of course the customers.”