London
15 March 2017
Reporter: Stephanie Palmer

Quest for ‘warehouses of truth’


Increased data quality is the main benefit of data warehousing for asset managers, according to a discussion at TSAM London.

In a data management forum session, audience members were asked: “What is the biggest advantage you gain from a data warehouse?”

A significant majority, 43 percent, answered that the main benefit is increased quality and a single version of the data

Increased utilisation of data within the firm was named as the biggest benefit by 29 percent, while 18 percent noted that a warehouse can provide flexibility to meet new data challenges and 11 percent selected lineage and data governance.

A speaker in the session said that with regards to data warehouses, often a lot of words are used to describe something that is “not that complicated”. He agreed with the audience poll, saying that the main goal is “one truth and one understanding of the data”.

If two areas of an organisation are working with the same piece of data, they don’t have to waste time making sure their versions match up. And, if they don’t match up, they don’t have to spend more time reconciling them.

If there is a single source of data that both businesses can access, they can immediately start discussing what they are going to do with it.

The speaker also noted challenges in the adoption of ‘data lakes’, which are stores of raw data that are set aside until they are needed.

The main challenge is getting senior management on board, persuading them to spend money on data—something they perceive that they already have.

Another speaker also noted another set of challenges that arise from trying to store everything in one place. Asset managers should have a clear definition between the middle- and back-office data and the front-office analytical data, which he called “less mission-critical”.

He added that data warehouses should be built to support the business in the future, with capabilities to encompass new products or programmes, and this requires some internal overheads.

While the data in the warehouse should be a ‘golden source’, the speaker noted that, in the case of a discrepancy, data must be fixed at its source, and not in the warehouse, otherwise the business will end up with inherent quality issues.

He concluded that a data warehouse can provide operational efficiency and flexibility, offering the ability for asset managers to “report off of something that you would inherently want to”.

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