Complex-Event Processing special report


July 2013 - sponsored by: Apama

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Too Much of a Good Thing

In the capital markets, data is the blood that moves the body. It's essential for the healthy functioning of the markets. Remove data and everything dies. But whereas humans have kidneys that regulate the amount of blood in the body, financial services firms generate and receive ever-increasing data volumes as a way of driving the business. However, as with all things in life, too much of a good thing isn't such a good thing.

Capital markets firms have been grappling with the surge in data volumes and varieties-and crucially, the velocity at which that data is generated and transmitted-for a number of years now. While storing massive data volumes is no walk in the park, it is the most straightforward big-data related task. What's far more challenging is mining that data-making sense of what it all means and deriving critical analysis from it, which, in turn helps to put firms in a position where they can make more judicious business decisions. Nowhere is this more useful than in the mission-critical realms of trading-related decision support and risk management, which increasingly has come to include various compliance and surveillance functions in addition to extrapolating traditional market and credit risk measures.

But help is at hand in the form of complex-event processing (CEP) technology, the first products of which emerged around a decade ago, designed specifically to allow capital markets participants to analyze large volumes of fast-moving data across multiple streams and formats.

In the Q&A section of this special report on page six, we look at the specific business applications of CEP technology across the front and middle offices, delve into the attributes of the ideal CEP framework, and address a number of the pitfalls awaiting unsuspecting capital markets firms taking their first tentative steps down the CEP path. On page 10, James Rundle looks back at two Apama-sponsored CEP webcasts, and focuses on how capital markets firms are being forced to administer their risk management disciplines and techniques in ever-decreasing timeframes in order to stay current with algorithmic and high-frequency trading strategies, now an integral part of many buy-side and sell-side firms. Finally, on page five, Apama's Theo Hildyard looks at the build-versus-buy trade-off in the CEP realm, arguing that any CEP platform worth its salt consists of significantly more than merely a high-performance CEP engine-speed-to-market and the vendor's track record in terms of understanding the nature of its clients' business and delivering effective and user-friendly technologies to underpin those businesses, should never be overlooked.

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