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March 1, 2002

Where Is Indata?

By Editorial Staff

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Indata is not easy to place in the bifurcated world of buyside trade order management.

Is it a soup-to-nuts vendor, such as Advent and SS&C with their comprehensive offerings for every facet of the small money manager's business? Or does it inhabit the high-end with Charles River, Eze Castle and Macgregor, with their single-minded devotion to robust and elaborate order management systems?

Dave Csiki, a managing director with Greenwich, Conn.-based Indata, says the firm straddles both worlds. It makes the short list when a buyside shop wants a top-of-the-line OMS, but is also determined to sell systems to other parts of the organization.

These days, Csiki's on the road promoting a new customer relationship module. It's for anyone within the money management firm with client contact. That leaves out most traders, but reflects the vendor's belief that the trading room is just one part of the front office.'

It also reflects Indata's belief that most order management systems are functionally similar. It is broadening its offering to stand out from the pack. That pack consists of some ten vendors. The new module brings to three the number of systems Indata sells to the money manager's front office.

Its Precision Trading OMS has been around since 1993 while its performance measurement system was the basis for the company's inception in 1968.

Csiki, who has been with Indata for five years, works out of the firm's San Diego office. Traders Magazine technology editor Peter Chapman put these questions to him about INDATA.

Traders: Why buy OMS technology from Indata? What makes you different?

Csiki: That's a good point. Among the top OMS vendors, the functionality is roughly equivalent. People buy our system because they are looking down the line at more seamless integration by using Indata for other functions.

Traders: That's what you call internal straight-through processing?'

Csiki: Right. The seamless sharing of data among the systems that money management firms use to run their business.

Traders: And you do that differently than your competitors?

Csiki: Yes. To the best of our knowledge, we are the only vendor with one common [Microsoft] SQL Server database that is updated by various application modules. For example, once a trader executes a trade in the OMS, it is updated to the same table in the database that is used by the INDATA portfolio accounting system.

Traders: The two systems share the same database?

Csiki: Yes.

Traders: How is that better than what's out there?

Csiki: Most systems that pass data back and forth use the batch' method or expensive middleware. After a trade is done, the information travels to a directory somewhere as a batch file. Then the back-office person imports it. The problem with batch files and data-sharing is that errors kick out because of differences between the way the accounting system and the OMS work. With Indata, we have one database which virtually eliminates the potential for errors.

Traders: Batch processing is the industry standard?

Csiki: Right. Most money managers have more than one application and database for accounting, portfolio management and trading. They pass batch files back and forth.

Traders: In order for this scheme to work, then, the buyside shop needs to purchase your accounting system as well.