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Informatica and Exterro have announced a partnership in the market for discovery of electronic data and documents (known as e-discovery). Exterro has made its reputation in e-discovery workflow and legal holds management while Informatica is a leader in data integration that our Value Index finds as the top and Hot rated provider. The partnership is designed to provide users of Exterro’s Fusion E-Discovery software with a single point of control for organizing and managing legal and preservation holds (that is, preventing electronic data from alteration or deletion) of unstructured and structured data that are held in Informatica’s Data Archive. Informatica specializes in the efficient management of information assets, which our benchmark research shows is not easy for most organizations to do because they have data spread across multiple applications and systems: Two-thirds of organizations said that this makes it difficult to manage information. By consolidating in a single repository the storage of information that is likely to be the subject of discovery, companies can simplify and cut the cost of the search process as well as reduce risk. Orchestrating legal and preservation holds can be complex since multiple people or groups within a company may be legally involved with the same data over an extended period of time. Moreover, it’s important to ensure that once the holds are no longer needed, all data that can be eliminated is eliminated.
This situation brings to light an increasingly sensitive predicament for many businesses. Corporations are required by law to retain records for a given period. These times differ from one jurisdiction to the next and vary according to the type of information in the records. For example, retention periods for general business matters tends to be the shortest, while information related to pharmaceuticals and radioactive materials require long retention. Traceability – the ability to determine and verify the history, use or location of an item and its constituent parts across an entire supply chain – is a fixture in some in some businesses such as those providing critical materials used in aerospace parts and to an increasing extent food. Failure to preserve data or to be able to produce it a timely fashion can lead to heavy fines or expensive judgments. The flip side to retention is that corporations must take care to delete records that no longer have business value and are not required to be retained, since even innocent items can pose a needless threat in litigation and add to the cost of maintaining and finding information.
Once mainly an issue in the United States, the increasing volume of litigation worldwide and ever expanding regulation of businesses has expanded the breadth and amount of information that parties may have to produce in the discovery phase of litigation and regulatory actions. Along with this trend, e-discovery has grown exponentially in importance as more and more of everyday business is captured in electronic systems. Hence the need for software to manage the e-discovery process and the underlying data.
A great deal of the information needed for e-discovery is unstructured – documents and email are particularly common. But especially in financial services, information contained in structured databases also is important. Banks, brokers/dealers and insurance companies all generate a considerable amount of structured data related to operations that can be subject to discovery. The volumes of data that are exposed to discovery continue to grow in lockstep with the growth of data created by today’s IT systems.
Law and regulation by the book prescribe processes that must be managed and documented carefully. Workflows handle processes affect the efficiency with which discovery management is executed. Legal holds require tagging of documents that have to be available in the discovery process to ensure that they are not inadvertently removed or deleted from a repository. For example, if a set of transactions and related email messages are germane to a regulatory action, they must be preserved until the issue is resolved, regardless of whether under ordinary circumstances they would be destroyed because their legally defined retention period had expired.
Exterro’s Fusion E-Discovery Suite incorporates the necessary capabilities as well as data mapping and data management to make processing records efficient. Exterro competes with IBM and Hewlett Packard/Autonomy, among others, in the e-discovery market. It positions itself as providing a more open portal than the others, enabling customers to have greater freedom to decide where the data is held. The company will benefit from the new partnership by having tight integration with a key information storage provider. Informatica for its part has acquired another important use case that provides durable value to its existing and prospective customers.
Companies – especially their legal departments – often fail to recognize the negative impact that poor data management has on their ability to execute consistently and efficiently. Usually, they recognize they have a problem only after an expensive or embarrassing failure. It’s important that organizations regularly review their data assets and data management practices to determine where they can be a source of failure or inefficiency and address these issues immediately. They should consider how Exterro and Informatica can help them reduce a potentially dangerous risk exposure that our research confirms that over half (51%) of organizations indicate as their top ranked concern in governance, risk and compliance.
Robert Kugel – SVP Research
Increasingly, global financial markets compete on speed, so much so that high-speed trading capabilities have become a performance differentiator for the largest financial services firms and some investment funds. Transmitting messages with quotes, prices and trade data is a core capability for currency dealers. Informatica recently introduced Ultra Messaging, which is designed to offer global currency traders an efficient, high-throughput, lower-latency (that is, faster) and more secure method of linking their worldwide operations.
Currency trading, like much of the financial services landscape, has been transformed by IT. When I worked on a small currency trading desk in 1978, the two most sophisticated pieces of technology the traders used were the fax machine (in those days, before it became a consumer electronics item, a fax machine cost $10,000, or about $35,000 in current dollars) and a Monroe desktop financial calculator. Back then, a one-day movement of 50 “pips” (0.0050 of any currency unit or a half-cent) was considered a huge move in the market. Today, in an era when currency swings of several cents in a day are common and daily trading volumes are measured in trillions, computers and the networks that connect them are integral components of any dealer’s operation, helping to manage trades, searching for arbitrage opportunities and enabling financial institutions to carefully monitor their risk exposure to their customers. Traders, when they are involved, must have up-to-the-split-second information. Those that are charged with managing counterparty risk must be certain that they have real-time information about their global exposure to individual credits.
The worldwide currency market operates around the clock, and major trading centers (Tokyo, London and New York, for example) have normal working hours that overlap over the course of the day, so it’s important that the individual trading desks around the world have the exact same information simultaneously. If they don’t, they risk having competitors arbitraging their bids or otherwise trading against themselves.
Ultra Messaging is designed to optimize performance across wide area networks (WAN). Managing the flow of quotes and trade information is less difficult on a local area network (LAN) since bandwidth can be enormous, distances are short and messages on the network cross a limited number of nodes. When networks must span the world, though, latency develops because of the sheer distances involved, the sometimes complex routing a message takes between two points and potential bandwidth limitations in the technology that’s employed to handle the message. WANs also pose problems of lost data because of the relatively high number of nodes between the sending and receiving points.
Ultra Messaging optimizes the path across a WAN by continuously monitoring the network topography and using algorithms to select the optimal routing of messages for each specific moment, an approach that seeks to achieve an “as soon as physically possible” (ASAPP) latency. It is designed to offer graceful failover capability because it also has calculated the next best routing if that becomes necessary. Informatica claims it can regularly save tens of microseconds compared to other solutions on the market.
The software is available in three versions to address different optimization requirements. The Persistence Edition focuses on guaranteed messaging with zero-latency failover to address the need for institutions to have an accurate global record of all of its trades. The Queuing Edition is designed for guaranteed “once-and-only-once” delivery with low-latency messaging and automatic load balancing for constrained bandwidth environments. The Streaming Edition is designed to achieve the lowest possible latency by using “nothing in the middle” methods that eliminate daemons and brokers.
Global financial services companies have options when it comes to managing their WAN-based messaging and communications. They should investigate whether Ultra Messaging will improve their network performance.
Robert Kugel – SVP Research