Asset Control (booth #3127), a Netherlands-based provider of investment-data-integration solutions, will be demonstrating its newest AC Business Suite applications on a live feed from its ACDEX outsourced data-management service.
Asset Control software, including the in-house AC Plus version and the outsourced ACDEX service, is used to gather, consolidate and cleanse investment data from multiple sources, turning it into "golden copy." The AC Business Suite is a group of business applications, user interfaces and development tools that enable users to leverage their golden-copy data for additional uses. The suite is compatible with ACDEX or AC Plus. Its latest applications, AC Explorer and AC Surveyor, will be introduced at today's conference. AC Contour was released earlier this year.
AC Explorer is a desktop application that enables users to research, analyze and create graphical visualizations of selected data sets from their data universe in the Asset Control system.
"Its Java-based graphical-research environment provides a broad selection of analytics that can be customized to a user's specific data requirements, processing functions and security access," says Ger Rosenkamp, Asset Control's chief executive officer. It also serves as a development environment, enabling users to customize its templates and methodologies used to display market data and economic data, he says.
The advantage of AC Explorer is that it allows users to work with heavier graphics - including optional four-dimensional visualizations - than Asset Control's AC Surveyor, a similar application and assembly environment developed for Web-based research and analytics. Like AC Explorer, AC Surveyor provides database access with security and authorization management. Its menus, search parameters, tables and charts, as well as the type and location of components on the Web page, can be assembled rapidly without programming knowledge, says Rosenkamp.
"Because we have a stable, proven data-management platform, we are very interested now in providing our customers with a second generation of solutions that will enable them to gain more business value from the data they have," says Rosenkamp. "These tools for research and analysis can be customized for any part of the organization where consolidated data is needed for response to business opportunities and risks."
AC Surveyor will include an application template based on a customized version developed for Abbey National, a U.K.-based financial institution, which is currently implementing the product. "Abbey National, a long-time user of Asset Control, identified an opportunity to replace approximately one-third of its vendor-supplied-research terminals with Web-based applications that leveraged the market data maintained in its in-house system," says Rosenkamp. Because the application is browser-based, it can be made available to users throughout its global operations, he notes.
And finally, Asset Control will also demonstrate its AC Contour, a curve-management application, which includes a library of curves and algorithms, 3D-viewing capability, and a development environment for new curves. AC Contour is primarily used for trading and risk-management applications.
While Asset Control describes all the AC Business Suite solutions as "thin applications," the desktop versions include more ability to handle very dense or complex graphics, such as four-dimensional visualizations. This is due to bandwidth issues on the Web-based analytical systems, says Rosenkamp.
An advantage of browser-based applications, however, is said to be that they require virtually no maintenance because the version control and application upgrades are all handled at the server, rather than at the desktop PC.
"The system is unique because it allows financial institutions to integrate their investment, trading and financial-research data in an all-encompassing data-management environment. This eliminates huge inefficiencies that exist in most financial firms today. It also opens the door to rapid development of thin, but fully integrated, applications. Within five years, there will only be thin applications. The trend has started," says Rosenkamp.
There are economic advantages to using an integrated system as well, says Rosenkamp. "Data management currently represents approximately 60-70 percent of any application-development and maintenance effort. Because these first AC Business Suite applications are essentially data retrieval, display, analysis or processing through algorithms for graphing and reporting, it is possible to build most of the business rules right on the data layer," he says.