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Change Is Coming to Financial Data Analytics: Pay Attention to the Quiet Ones
By Andrew Lewkowicz

There is a quiet revolution happening in the financial data and intelligence market, as the larger players are being challenged by startups that are pioneering new access and analysis technologies.

There is a quiet revolution happening in the financial data and intelligence market, as the larger players are being challenged by startups that are pioneering new access and analysis technologies. Unbeknownst to the industry Goliaths and their costly data terminals, there are many Davids – firms that are silently creeping in and forever changing how businesses will collect, review and act on financial data.

The rise of this new era in data analytics began in 2008 due to the financial market meltdown and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulations for the sharing of financial and operational data. These two drivers resulted in smaller companies leveraging the Internet to access the standardized data points reported quarterly to the SEC. In finding only the data required for governance, risk and compliance purposes, including net sales and revenues figures, these firms no longer had a need for bulky data sets comprised of extraneous information. Rather, these firms embraced new data access and analytical methods, such as using application programming interfaces (APIs), and they are making expensive data terminals a thing of the past.

Data: Too much of a good thing?

In the past few years, data providers focused on collecting and disseminating data of any shape, size or variety; but it has come to a point where businesses are suffering from information overload. There are reams of paper, overflowing disk drives and storage units containing facts and figures related to competitors, internal operations and the overall market. Executives look at this and are unsure where to start and how to make it useful and meaningful to company operations. It comes down to having the right content at the right time and in the right format.

Instead of being overwhelmed by big data, businesses should only access the data applicable to their needs. Developers and startups are creating agile solutions that not only can access the correct data, but can transform it and present it to executives in a format that compels better decision-making and operational governance. API technologies are the driver by providing a platform from which these forces are building analytical tools and propelling the market forward.

Success from numbers

It is becoming clear that big data can be successfully analyzed and used for business execution. Executives must make informed decisions to strategically grow their businesses, and they require proper information upon which to makes these operational choices. Via API technologies and financial analytics solutions from developers and agile startups, executives can put the data to work for them. Success can come from numbers such as specific sales, business development and operational information by providing deeper insight into market trends and competitors. The insight gained and resulting decisions could propel a company forward that may become a leader in its market.

Those firms using new methods of consuming and analyzing data are transforming their markets through better operational governance and competitive planning. Investors, managers and corporations are looking to key technologies, such as APIs, to get better insight into what data is available and how it can be used to drive daily business operations, and competitive and market analysis.

Those companies that embraced change back in 2008 and have been quietly operating on the fringes of the data analytics market are now becoming today's leaders. Their belief in this new way of working has changed the way that data is collected, analyzed and used by other firms when making investment decisions. In pushing aside the traditional method of standardized datasets provided on costly terminals, they are leading the next revolution in the financial data analytics and technology market.

Andrew Lewkowicz leads RR Donnelley's Global Outsourcing and EDGAR Online's data solutions business development efforts in the U.S.

Dave Gardella
Chief Financial Officer
Donnelley Financial Solutions, Inc.