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Financial Firms Fear Their Data, Analytics Systems Can't Handle Rising Data Volumes

More than half of large firms surveyed plan to add cluster, grid and cloud resources to improve analytical processing needs.

Two-thirds of financial services firms fear their analytics programs and infrastructures will not be able to handle increasing analytical complexity and data volume, according to a just-released research report, featuring a survey of financial services professionals conducted by Wall Street & Technology in conjunction with Platform Computing, SAS and The TABB Group. Completed in July 2010, the survey indicates that firms are hampered by a lack of scalability, inflexible architectures and inefficient use of existing computing capacity.

According to the survey, data proliferation and the need to better manage it are at the root of many of the challenges being faced by financial institutions of all sizes. More than half of all firms are grappling with siloed data sources. The silo problem is being exacerbated by organizational constraints, including policies prohibiting data sharing and access, network bandwidth issues and input/output (I/O) bottlenecks. Ever-increasing data growth is also cause for concern, with firms reporting that they are dealing with too much market data. Sixty-six percent of respondents were not confident that their analytics infrastructures would be able to keep pace with demand over time.

"Siloed data sources have particularly impacted firms in the area of risk management as was evident during the recent financial crisis," noted David M. Wallace, global financial services marketing manager at SAS. "The improved liquidity and counterparty risk management needed by both the buy and sell side, as reported in the survey, requires greater enterprise data integration across the firm."

Surveyed firms say they plan to increase their focus on liquidity and counterparty risk in the next twelve months. Counterparty risk management was ranked as the highest priority for the sell side (45 percent) with liquidity risk following at 43 percent. Liquidity risk and counterparty risk scored high for the buy side with 36 percent and 33 percent, respectively.

"We found that mid-sized firms are particularly affected by resource constrictions, where one in four respondents reported challenges around limited computing capacity, frequent contention for compute resources and the inability to complete calculations during peak demand periods," said Jeff Hong, head of financial services industry marketing at Platform Computing.

To counter these challenges, financial institutions plan to turn to a combination of technologies including cloud computing and grid technologies. Within the next two years, 51 percent of all respondents are considering or likely to invest in cluster technology, 53 percent are considering or likely to buy grid technology, and 57 percent are considering or likely to purchase cloud technology.

The Wall Street and Technology report entitled "The State of Business Analytics in Financial Services: Examining Current Preparedness for Future Demands" can be downloaded here.

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