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December 1, 1999

Data Integrator Squares the Circle - Product is Designed to Unite Separate

By Peter Chapman

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  • Data Integrator Squares the Circle - Product is Designed to Unite Separate

The windows on a trader's screen, which display quotes, news, positions and charts, are a harmonious sight. The external and internal distribution channels helping to produce the displays, however, are different - somewhat unwieldly and clunky.

Now two veterans of large market data firms are using open, standardized technology to more effeciently integrate the channels and reduce costs.

Philip Chambadal, formerly of Reuters, and Michael Lang, from Bridge, say they have the low-cost solution at Quadrian, a New York-based software provider they launched in 1997.

The heart of Quadrian's technology is a patent-pending GDD, a global data dictionary.' A data dictionary, according to CMP's TechEncyclopedia, an industry source, is a database which holds the name, type, range of values, source, and authorization for access to each data element in the organization's files and databases. Codes link internal and external data dictionaries to Quadrian's GDD.

The start-up joins the throng of small software companies hoping to exploit the technologies of the Internet, (JavaBeans and XML, for example), which are suddenly in demand by MIS departments.

Quadrian is marketing its product, iMatrix, directly to broker dealers for non-trading room applications. But it is also trying to partner with third-party software integrators to tackle trading floor assignments. A license starts at $50,000 and can go to as high as $250,000.

"Systems integrators want to bite off a big piece of the trading room business that has typically been reserved by the companies who make custom architectures," said Lang, Quadrian's head of sales. "We give them one of the tools they need."

Here's how iMatrix works: If a trader wants all available information about IBM, for example, he simply types IBM' into his screen and receives news, time-series data, corporate events as well as any relevant in-house material about the security. No real-time quotes are provided, however. "It is an industrial-strength content-aggregation system," Lang explained.

"It is possible to do this now through a vast number of adhoc processes," he explained. "But it's not happening through a centralized technology where it becomes easier to administer."

Some software integrators offer encouraging words for Quadrian. One of them, BusinessEdge Solutions in New York, is considering Quadrian's technology, though it has not signed a deal with the firm. "I'm calling on a lot of investment houses and their base architecture standards are founded in CORBA, XML, and Java for the new way of development," said Sharon Gregory, head of financial services e-business practices at BusinessEdge Solutions. "Based on Quadrian's approach, they're going to be an easy fit and a good play within those houses."

Scott Friedland, a project executive in trading floor services with software integrator IBM Global Services, describes a different picture though it augurs well for Quadrian. Friedland sees a new shift to trading room architecture being built by vendors. "That doesn't make it any less proprietary," he said. "But it is a shift from extensive reliance on in-house code to greater reliance on external vendors."