Opening Cross: The Easiest Way into the Data Party: 'I’m With Him'

Sometimes the best way to target another vendor's audience is to work with that vendor.

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Think you’ve come up with the next big thing in terms of market data, or the next killer app? Good for you! But that’s only half the battle. Now you have to get it out there into the hands of a skeptical, cash-strapped user base already overwhelmed with choices of data products and the burden of managing multiple vendors. So how can you first get a foot in the door, then make a good enough impression that users invite you to stay?

One of the easiest ways is simply to ride the coat-tails of someone who already has their foot in the door—such as by having someone with an existing client base carry your data, getting it in front of a larger audience than you could alone.

For example, Brazilian data and trading systems vendor CMA has become a participant in online content marketplace Airex’s AMP partner program. As such, CMA not only deploys a version of the Airex Marketplace portal to expand the third-party content it can offer its existing clients, but it also becomes a content provider to other instances of Airex’s platform, opening up the vendor to clients beyond its traditional reach, such as firms in North America and Europe.

Going a step further is swap futures market Eris Exchange, which has almost entirely offloaded the heavy lifting of data distribution to others. Not only does it distribute its data via CME Group’s MDP platform; Eris data is also now available via NYSE’s SFTI (Secure Financial Transaction Infrastructure) network, which captures the data from CME. Though driven by demand from SFTI clients, the deal is also a boost for Eris, since it makes it even easier for firms to access its data via existing connections. With CME and SFTI in its corner, Eris can pretty much put its feet up and take the afternoon off, secure in the knowledge that virtually anyone who would want its data can now access it (subject to licenses) via an existing market connection.

The deal also benefits SFTI, by making its service more comprehensive and “sticky”—after all, why go to another connectivity provider when you can get all you need over an existing connection? Similarly, Interactive Data’s agreement to carry aggregated Swap Data Repository information from GTR Analytics is as much a win for IDC as it is for the Ireland-based startup, since—while IDC is one of the biggest data aggregators—this gives it time to market on a new, non-standardized dataset.

And as with the Eris and IDC examples, the easier you can make it for people to access your data, the harder it is for them to say no to trying it out. A case in point: Quantitative trading software vendor Deltix has completed research into the benefits of Wall Street Horizon’s dataset of changes to companies’ earnings announcement dates, and is providing pre-integrated support for the WSH data on its platform so that interested clients can easily start using it. By not just placing the data within clients’ reach, but also basically providing a “how-to” guide to leveraging it, Deltix is virtually eliminating any barriers to using the WSH data.

However, in other cases, eliminating barriers to use actually means separating something from other services. For example, Thomson Reuters is making its Eikon Messenger application available via Apple, Android and Blackberry mobile devices, separate from its Eikon desktop terminal, as a way of expanding takeup of the service not only among financial market participants, but also in industries beyond finance—such as agriculture or auto manufacturing—where executives need to communicate with banks, but don’t need a dedicated trader-grade data terminal. “A barrier for entry to our community isn’t an $18,000-a-year desktop,” Yvette Jackson, global head of collaboration services at Thomson Reuters, tells IMD deputy editor Faye Kilburn.

And that’s the key: in such a competitive industry, to get people off the fence about a service, you have to take away the fence—i.e. remove barriers to usage. Your data or tools may be the next big thing, but you’ve got to gset in the game for them to be a true game-changer. 

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