Data & Analytics

11:03 AM
David Saul, State Street
David Saul, State Street

Do You Know Where Your Data Is?

Moving from Data Confrontation to Data Collaboration in Financial Services.

My title derives from one of the most successful public service announcements of all time. A written message would appear on your television screen and a sonorous voice would announce – “It is 10 PM, Do you know where your children are?” I believe that attention-getting phrase can be adapted to the increasing data management challenges that all financial services institutions are facing. It sums up the need for effective data governance built on an appropriate technology base.

David Saul, State Street
David Saul, State Street

I am not speaking solely of “big data” which represents only one aspect of the problem. I avoid the term “big data” since it leaves out the most important characteristic of data – its meaning. I believe that by embracing semantic data as an industry we can increase economic value and reduce risk.

Let’s look at four constituencies that have a shared interest in restoring and improving trust in the operation of the global financial services environment. By enhancing trust in the market we increase investment and raise economic standards for everyone. Financial services organizations derive their revenue from their clients while keeping risks at an acceptable level. Product and services companies innovate and sell. Regulators and supervisors ensure that laws are complied with. Standards organizations follow processes to enable simple and effective communication among the parties. When those four constituencies treat one another as adversaries, the financial services marketplace is less efficient leading to loss of overall trust. When the four work together in pairs or as a group they all gain value.

I propose that we move to a new model in which those four groups collaborate to their mutual benefit. To accomplish this goal I posit that we need better data governance built on semantic data standards. When data moves along with its meaning based on standardized definitions it enables transparency. Transparency is at the heart of trust that benefits everyone.

At the recent MIT Chief Data Officer & Information Quality Symposium, four of us, representing a standards organization, a regulator, a data products company and myself from a financial services institution came together to propose just such a collaborative model. Our message to the audience was that they go back to their business and information technology groups to implement and/or enhance data governance.

-- They should answer questions about their data governance, beginning with “do you know where your data is?”

-- They should catalog and monitor their current and future regulatory requirements.

-- They should understand their existing products/services solutions and fill any gaps.

-- They should get involved in and influence relevant semantic data standards.

Just one example of the latter is the Financial Industry Business Ontology (FIBO) from the Enterprise Data Management (EDM) Council and the Object Management Group (OMG).

In future months our core group intends to attract other interested parties. We will be spreading the message of data collaboration through conferences, white papers and a web site that is under construction. In the interim, feel free to contact me directly to show your interest and support.

David Saul is Chief Scientist with State Street Corp.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
User Rank: Strategist
9/4/2013 | 1:47:17 PM
re: Do You Know Where Your Data Is?
We received a positive response at the MIT CDOIQ symposium, both during our presentation and with people coming up to us afterwards. The feedback came from a range of industries, not just financial services.
User Rank: Author
9/3/2013 | 9:18:02 PM
re: Do You Know Where Your Data Is?
Financial institutions can be very shaky about sharing their data, and that seems to be one of the biggest obstacles to this type of standardizing and sharing. You can see it in the mobile wallet discussions where people keep on saying that you want to "own" the data around the mobile wallet transaction. Banks right ly see data as one of their key resources, although they may be overprotective when it comes to sharing it for mutual benefit.
User Rank: Author
9/3/2013 | 7:03:00 PM
re: Do You Know Where Your Data Is?
I wonder to what extent the focus on infrastructure to support advanced analytics and smart/big overlooks the governance aspect that you have outlined. Is there too much focus on the tools and systems and not enough on the practice? I'm also curious as to the reception you received for your presentation at the MIT symposium -- where there nods of recognition, or clueless blank stares?
Register for Bank Systems & Technology Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Bank Systems & Technology
BS&T's 2014 Elite 8 executives are leading their banks to success, whether it involves leveraging the cloud, modernizing core systems, or transforming into digital enterprises.
Bank Systems & Technology Radio
Archived Audio Interviews
Join Bank Systems & Technology Associate Editor Bryan Yurcan, and guests Karen Massey and Jerry Silva from IDC Financial Insights, for a conversation about the firm's 11th annual FinTech rankings.