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Talking Reference Data with Andrew Delaney: The Jewel in the Reference Data Crown

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How is your knowledge of India’s geography? By which I mean: Do you know where Pune and Chennai are? And how long does it take to get to Bangalore from Mumbai?

Mine’s appalling. So I’m going to brush up on what’s where in relation to where. It’s a big place, so this could take a while.

Why? Because if you’re into reference data, chances are you’ll be spending some time in the Sub-Continent in the not-too-distant future.

It’s been striking how many of my recent conversations about town have ultimately led back to India. And this is no longer about straight offshoring of expensive data validation processes. Such has been the immersion of reference data management by India’s work force, that management of reference data – setting of strategy, deployment of resource, and on – is shifting from local financial centres like New York, London, Boston and Frankfurt, to the vast campuses of India.

Our friend Chris Bannocks, in the process of moving from Nomura to Barclays to manage global reference data, first turned me onto the importance of India to the reference data fraternity at the beginning of the year, when he told me he’d be spending a month there talking to his several thousand data analysts. Turns out he may go the whole hog and relocate there himself.

Meanwhile, at a seminar on LEIs last week sponsored by Informatica and (India’s) Wipro, it transpired that a lot of serious thinking around data management of the emerging entity identification standard is being conducted in India. Indeed, much of the development of Wipro’s Legal Entity Hub – based on Informatica technology, natch – has been spearheaded out of Bangalore, where the giant firm has a major campus.

Other contacts have been spending time in their chosen parts of India. And therein lies the rub: as far as I can tell, the Indian reference data community is widely dispersed across several key cities. Hence the need for the geography lesson: it’s not enough to assume you’ll have India ‘covered’ by a trip to Bangalore. If you want to get a handle on what’s really going on, plan a multi-city trip – and that may take a while.

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