Witad Awards 2023: EDM professional of the year—Xiaodan Zhang, S&P Global Market Intelligence

In any instance of M&A activity, integration is key. First, there’s the structural integration—knitting the companies, their products and revenues together on paper and in physical offices. Then, perhaps more importantly, there’s the cultural integration: making sure that those companies’ greatest assets—their staff—can work together like a well-oiled machine.

With data companies, one of the most critical elements is something more foundational: integrating the behind-the-scenes formats, standards, and protocols to ensure that different product lineups—usually developed using different languages and running on different technology stacks—can work together and understand each other as intended, and can be used seamlessly together to achieve their full potential.

The data integration required by the merger of S&P and IHS Markit presented a mammoth task. Both organizations had massive amounts of data, but each used their own standards, systems, policies and processes. Xiaodan Zhang, vice president and global head of business performance and strategy at S&P Global Market Intelligence, was tasked with analyzing and organizing the datasets to come up with a single, consistent reporting standard for reporting financial data.

Zhang says the complexities and hurdles to integration ran the gamut from inconsistencies in datasets and definitions to systems, scope, and timing—all of which needed to be resolved to produce “a more singular state of truth to manage our combined businesses.”

Though the full integration is expected to take at least two more years, its immediate 2022 milestones were completed ahead of schedule. “Clean and consistent data assets could be leveraged effectively within the organization, facilitating crisp decision-making and accelerated execution,” she says.

The result was that the company exceeded year-one revenue and cost synergy targets, and the software solutions business was able to secure multi-million-dollar funding allocations to accelerate innovation across its software suite.

For Zhang, the integration effort was in addition to her “day job” on the leadership team that oversees a portfolio of seven products that account for several hundred million dollars in annual revenue: the WSO loan portfolio software; its EDM data management and reporting solutions; the iLevel private markets tools; Notice Manager bank loan holdings data; Debtdomain syndicated loans and private credit workflow platform; the ThinkFolio investment management platform; and the SNL Banker suite of solutions for managing syndication, secondary trading and agency processes. Zhang is one of two women on the seven-person leadership team (currently being expanded to nine)—the other of whom, Natalia Isajenko, won this category last year.

As if that wasn’t enough to keep her busy, Zhang has been instrumental in creating two internal efforts to foster inclusion and diversity: The Belonging Group, set up during Covid-19 to drive “a sense of culture and belonging in the newly virtual environment we were all unexpectedly forced into,” involving remote events such as game nights and newsletters; and “People Spotlight,” monthly Q&A profiles of individuals nominated by the 1,800 employees of the Software Solutions business posted on the company’s intranet.

Only users who have a paid subscription or are part of a corporate subscription are able to print or copy content.

To access these options, along with all other subscription benefits, please contact info@waterstechnology.com or view our subscription options here: http://subscriptions.waterstechnology.com/subscribe

You are currently unable to copy this content. Please contact info@waterstechnology.com to find out more.

S&P Global’s EDM platform continues its evolutionary course

S&P Global Market Intelligence won the Best buy-side data management product category at the Buy-Side Technology Awards 2023 thanks to its successful EDM offering. Neslihan Yegul, Emea head of commercial strategy for software solutions at S&P GMI,…

You need to sign in to use this feature. If you don’t have a WatersTechnology account, please register for a trial.

Sign in
You are currently on corporate access.

To use this feature you will need an individual account. If you have one already please sign in.

Sign in.

Alternatively you can request an individual account here