Opening Cross: In Data, as in Baseball, a Great Captain Unites His Team

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Whether you’re a Yankee or Red Sox supporter, you have to take your hat off to Yankees captain Derek Jeter: in his last game at Yankee Stadium, he not only made a respectful exit in front of a sold-out crowd of home fans, but also saved the day with a game-winning lead-off hit against the Baltimore Orioles in the ninth inning. Yet despite a 20-year career filled with almost every success imaginable, Jeter has always professed humility, and has always deflected praise towards his team as a whole, rather than him as an individual. And if any parallel can be drawn with the world of market data, it’s that no individual or technology exists in a vacuum, and must always work as part of a team of people or components.

Take, for example, some of the stories in this week’s IMD: Thomson Reutersintegration of Markit’s Directory component of its Collaboration Services messaging platform is a validation of this idea. For Markit to be successful in the initiative, it needs to attract as broad a base of users as possible, including those that use other vendors’ messaging platforms as their primary communication tools, with Markit providing the glue that binds them together and makes them interoperable.

Performing a similar role for different vendors’ datasets in its charting application is UK-based technical analysis software vendor Updata, which has integrated real-time prices, news, research and estimates data from Thomson Reuters’ Eikon and Datastream products in addition to Bloomberg data, allowing users of its charts to view and compare different datasets from different providers alongside one another. In this instance, it’s the different data providers that represent different team members and must function as a cohesive whole for the good of the users that want multiple data sources.

Equally, Morningstar’s ongoing efforts to revamp the vendor’s historical tick data product depend not just on its ability to create more flexible licensing options that allow users to download what they want when they want, but also more flexible delivery options—potentially including via third-party providers of tools that the vendor doesn’t already have in-house. For example, if someone wants to use the data for a specific type of analysis in a certain front-end platform, Morningstar will (subject to agreements) make its data available via another vendor’s platform.

Meanwhile, startup consensus credit ratings provider Credit Benchmark, which is gearing up for its first round of publishing data, couldn’t exist without a spirit of teamwork and cooperation—specifically, support for the crowd-sourcing model that the vendor is using to collect ratings from banks, much in the same way that vendors in the past have created consensus estimates and priced illiquid instruments by polling end-user firms. Though getting such a venture off the ground is far from easy, chief executive Elly Hardwick says existing participants have played a key role in enlisting and sponsoring other participants, adding momentum—not to mention value—to the service as it grows.

Even Windy Apple Technologies, a low-latency microwave network operator that’s planning to create the first transatlantic low-latency wireless network for high-frequency traders, and whose plan is so top-secret that its CEO won’t even tell us how it will carry the data, must appreciate the value of different components working together: any such network—whether it involves boats, balloons, drones, or a combination of these and other vehicles—depends on a number of (literally) moving parts that must work together with the precision of a smoothly-turned double play in order to achieve results.

So in the spirit of Derek Jeter’s commitment to teamwork and success, here’s an early heads-up that you should start thinking about your submissions in the call-for-entry categories for next year’s Inside Market Data and Inside Reference Data Awards. And in the meantime, check out the categories in the American Financial Technology Awards being run by our stablemate Waters magazine to get your team the recognition it deserves.

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