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Guest blog by Eric Stine, Senior Vice President & General Manager, Financial Services, SAP Americas

At the SAPPHIRE NOW 2013 Financial Services Forum, Interactive Data Corp discussed how they saw the need to make its descriptive and other data assets available on an event-driven basis as a top priority and therefore launched a new set of services called “Apex”.

The increasing pace of globalization in the capital markets is having the effect of demanding timelier and more sophisticated analysis across multiple asset types, their derivatives, and the markets on which they trade. Customers were finding it increasingly difficult to keep up with the data, let alone expand their capabilities. IDC’s customers typically are looking to perform a lookup and verification function such as finding the security information related to a specific holding, who the issuer is and what other instruments and derivatives are associated with it. Next, they typically want to extend that analysis across the whole corporate group and then resolve for relationships – such as correlation and covariance – based on empirical and statistical measures on a real-time basis.

With Apex, the focus has been on developing a comprehensive cross asset, multi-data type logical data model that allows IDC to market content as three separate products in line with their customer’s workflows. Central to this effort has been to define a set of managed primary keys to their content universe that allows them to isolate the data content from the dynamic and volatile world of industry symbology and cross referencing. It also provides the means by which they can easily integrate other sources via either that very same industry symbology or other common criteria such as ratings, alternate names, markets, etc.

Real Time Message Business Environment

Over the past 2 years IDC migrated all its data content – real time streams AND reference data – to a real time message business environment. They also built out the Logical Data Model to normalize and standardize the content into a single, integrated view across asset classes and data types. As a result, IDC created a service delivery framework consisting of

  • Data Transfer Services – including file based and message based delivery options
  • Hosted application interfaces – in particular, they are investing in web services and other API’s
  • Managed Database Services – which they have been working on extensively with SAP

This architecture allows IDC to work with our customers across their existing operations while maintaining semantic integrity – whether it is to populated existing databases and cubes or support turnkey access to high performance query and interrogation infrastructure. When it comes to powering analytics, their Managed Database Service provides customers with a pre-built environment, fully populated and maintained by Interactive Data Corp. They have been working with SAP/Sybase to deploy an architecture built on the RAP platform.

Apex Architecture

In terms of the Apex architecture, firstly, all the interfaces are box-standard, widely used technologies (such as ODBC/JDC) to provide direct connectivity to the user’s desktop. Users can simply log on and use their preferred tools to interrogate the full universe of interactive data content. Secondly, it allows IDC to maintain the data in the environment in real time as it is produced from their data collection and management environment.  RAP in particular provides the management and scalability to add to the environment as and when needed – it also provides a very powerful command and administration interface to control the service. Finally, it is an open environment – the configuration they are working on with SAP allows customers to upload their data to IDC for integration on the server side.