Cloud technology for distribution and processing of market and reference data is disrupting financial data management. According to a comprehensive research report by Market Research Future, the financial cloud market size is expected to reach US$ 52 billion by 2028, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 24% between 2018 and 2028.
by Mark Hermeling, CTO, Alveo
The migration of market and reference data to the cloud has been an ongoing process for several years. Shifting to the cloud has not only reduced infrastructure and maintenance costs by moving off on-premise infrastructure to increase scalability and elasticity, and therefore ensure an element of future-proofing, it has also helped reduce the cost of market data management through appropriate-sized infrastructure, centralised licensing and more easily sharing data sets.
The use of cloud-native technology can make the approach more easily scalable depending on the intensity or volume of the data. Using cloud-based platforms can also give firms a more flexible way of paying for the resources they use, including driving an organisation-wide standardisation of data charging and consumption. In addition to this, an improved data lineage ensures that source data and any transformation in the data’s lifecycle can be clearly captured. This transparency not only helps firms optimise and share their data assets internally where appropriate but reduces the cost of change.
Shifting the ecosystem to the cloud
All the above show the benefits of moving to the cloud. Today, we are witnessing a seismic shift in the market and reference data management process, with the whole data ecosystem now migrating to the cloud, where financial services firms can move away from slow manual processes and fragmented on-premise systems and start reaping the rewards of improved efficiency and lower costs that the cloud can bring.
Data vendors are starting to push their products directly onto cloud platforms like AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform. Added to that, we are witnessing providers of applications like portfolio management systems, trading solutions and risk and settlement systems, moving there also. Again, they are being attracted by the enhanced security and scalability, increased efficiencies and reduced cost cloud deployment can bring. So, rather than it being a case of companies placing individual applications in the cloud or using specific software as service providers to host their data management platforms, the entire data ecosystem is now moving to the cloud.
The implications are that data management systems need to be both cloud-agnostic and cloud-native to optimally source, integrate, quality-control and distribute market data. In other words, systems used need to be designed and built to run in the cloud and to work effectively in that environment but at the same time, they should not rely on a single cloud provider’s proprietary services or in any way be locked into a single cloud vendor.
With this shift accelerating, firms need to find new ways of provisioning data onto the cloud and into their applications that also reside there – and it is increasingly urgent that they do if they want to keep up with the competition and retain their edge over their rivals.
Every firm will need to consider everything: from building in more robust information security to keep data safe in the cloud right through to enhanced permissions management, usage monitoring, and of course, data quality, which is always a topic. That’s important. After all, if organisations automate more, put more applications in the cloud, or simply more directly connect them, then data quality becomes even more critical because the process of change removes what is typically a manual step in between cloud and on-premise, which could potentially act as a safety net to prevent mistakes escalating quickly into significant issues.
Achieving all this can be made easier through the partial or full utilisation of vendor-managed solutions with a ‘one-stop-shop’ for the end-to-end provision of market data from vendor feeds all the way to distribution to their customers. It is, after all, essential that cloud environments are optimised to achieve maximum efficiency. To be truly effective, these solutions need to be cloud-neutral: part of which involves being capable of interacting with data on any public cloud platform.
Starting the move today
Given all the above, while the ongoing migration of financial services market reference data to the cloud is nothing new, the migration process is now gathering pace. It is now longer just data management solutions and processes that are moving over to the approach. Upstream, data vendors are putting data on public cloud platforms and, downstream, application providers are doing so also.
There is therefore a growing imperative for financial services firms to shift their market and reference data to the cloud. They can’t afford to wait if they want to remain competitive. However, in migrating their approach, they will need to opt for cloud-native solutions that support ease of use and ease of management. These solutions will also need to be cloud-neutral and cloud-agnostic to deliver the scalability that firms will need moving forwards.
Moreover, in rolling out their approach, financial services businesses will also benefit from opting for a managed services approach to data management which allows them to tap into all the benefits of the cloud while eliminating the day-to-day burden of data processing and platform maintenance. With all that in place, they will be well placed to maximise the benefits of having their financial data in the cloud.