Why On-Demand Data Reporting is a Must in Finance

By: Ernest Sampera on August 12, 2020

Speed is incredibly important in today’s competitive business landscape. Decisions need to be made quickly in order to navigate uncertainty and take advantage of unexpected opportunities. Before they can make those decisions, however, organizations need to know what’s actually happening out in the real world. They need actionable data that provides them with insight into trends and emerging patterns.

The Value of Real-time Data Reporting Tools

While business intelligence tools have long been able to gather financial data for reporting purposes, that data typically suffered from a substantial lag. Various market transactions or conditions could be tracked and compiled into a comprehensive data set, but the utility of that information was limited by how quickly it could make its way into the hands of key decision-makers within an organization. Identifying a great investment opportunity or a worrying trendline wouldn’t be worth very much if it took weeks, days, or even hours to learn about it.

In the financial services industry, even the smallest lag in information could translate into substantial losses. That’s why organizations have developed more robust business intelligence platforms that can deliver data in real-time, allowing decision-makers to find out what’s going on down in the trenches in a matter of seconds or even milliseconds. Problems can be identified and addressed more quickly, and fewer opportunities are likely to slip by.

Reporting and Analytics: Understanding the Difference

Given every industry’s focus on big data and machine learning analytics, there is an understandable tendency to confuse reporting with analytics. Generally speaking, the core difference between the two is the way in which they handle and present data.

Reports consist of data drawn from a specific system that is designed to be transactional. In other words, the system performs a set task or records defined data points when they occur. Reporting systems are highly specialized and tend to be siloed from one another for performance-related reasons. If a single database gathered ALL relevant data about financial transactions, for instance, it would grind to a halt every time it was accessed because there would be too many cross-dependent records that would need to be tracked.

Multiple reports, then, are often necessary to provide a comprehensive picture of what’s happening with a business at any given time. Real-time reporting makes it possible to see that raw data (almost) instantly, which can be tremendously valuable for someone who knows what they’re looking for.

But decision-makers often don’t know what they’re looking for in the data. That’s where analytics brings value to the table. Big data analytics software takes data spread across multiple reporting systems and processes it to identify trends and irregularities. If reporting provides data, analytics delivers insights drawn from that data. Analytics filters the noise out of the data to hone in on the most important trend lines and identify connections between seemingly disparate data points. These insights can be incredibly valuable to decision-makers, both for bringing heretofore unknown patterns to their attention and for helping them to identify what reporting data is most closely associated with business success.

Unfortunately, processing all of that data is time-consuming and resource-intensive. For many years, the computing resources necessary to support analytics software was only available to select enterprises. Today, however, scalable cloud computing platforms have greatly expanded access to analytics tools. Despite this, it still takes time for analytics software to process data and generate results. That’s why real-time reporting remains important for the financial services industry, where companies need to make rapid, data-driven decisions.

Combating Network Latency in Data Reporting

Network latency is always a challenge in any kind of network, but it’s even more important when it comes to financial data reporting. Many investment firms have exploited latency arbitrage to undercut competitors, but even in less time-sensitive fields, latency can create substantial problems for real-time reporting.

In most cases, latency is a byproduct of distance. Even in a high-bandwidth network, data is still constrained by the laws of physics and cannot travel instantaneously from one point to another. In a poorly optimized network where key processing and storage functions are located far from where the data is being gathered, there can be a significant lag in performance.

For instance, if data is being gathered from customers by Internet of Things (IoT) devices on the network edge, that data will need to travel all the way back to centralized servers before it can be accessed or used for processing. That means that a report generated at any given moment might not actually reflect real-time data because some of that data is still making its way back to wherever it’s being stored.

By locating key storage and processing functions closer to the edge of the network where data is being generated, organizations can reduce latency and minimize the discrepancies between their reports and what’s actually happening on the ground.

Why Colocation is Driving Digital Financial Services

Colocation services have become essential for financial services companies seeking to minimize latency when it comes to their network systems. By placing their servers in edge data centers located much closer to their end-users, they can push their reporting data much closer to real-time. When combined with connectivity access to leading analytics platforms, edge computing gives financial organizations the flexibility and insight they need to make faster, better-informed decisions.

With multiple edge data centers located in key growth markets across the US, vXchnge is helping to transform digital financial services. Our data centers are engineered for perfection and backed by 100% uptime SLAs to ensure that organizations always have access to their mission-critical data and network systems. To learn more about how vXchnge is driving digital transformation for the financial industry, talk to one of our colocation experts today.

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