Thursday, April 12, 2007

'Tapping' into new sources of data

With Ger Rosenkamp having steered the helm of Asset Control, transforming the privately-held company into a leading provider of centralized data management solutions for time series and reference data, what can customers expect from new CEO Phil Lynch?

Rosenkamp announced he was stepping down as CEO and president following his sale of a majority stake in his company to Fidelity Ventures and the appointment of Lynch, ex-CEO Reuters Americas and a Fidelity venture partner, as the new president and CEO of Asset Control.

Lynch says his initial focus will be on integrating the TAP Solutions acquisition with Asset Control, which will see its TAPMaster solution for data accessibility act as a downstream "data mart" to Asset Control's AC Plus data solution framework.

He says that the TAP acquisition will give Asset Control broader operating systems support beyond Unix and Linux as the Vancouver-based company's data accessibility solution leverages Microsoft.Net technology, which is likely to appeal to smaller-to-medium sized firms seeking a "simpler" solution.

Lynch also wants to build what he termed, an "ecosystem" around key product lines within Asset Control and to partner with data providers to build "out-of-the-box" standardised market data feeds from leading providers such as Thomson Data Corporation, S&P, Reuters and Bloomberg, which can be implemented more quickly.

I asked Lynch whether he would maintain Asset Control's focus on its 'hybrid' data management approach combining in-house software with outsourcing of services. His response seemed to indicate that at this stage, outsourced data management is not a top priority.

"Companies have been slow to take up outsourcing. I don't think the market as a whole is ready yet. Distribution of data is highly dispersed and not easy to 'ring-fence', which makes it difficult to outsource."

Having said that, Lynch said Asset Control would continue its partnership with Accenture's Managed Reference Data Service, which leverages AC Plus. "We also want to look at business process outsourcing opportunities as well, but that is more a long-term investment."

One question I was dying to ask, was Asset Control's participation (or lack of) in the Enterprise Data Management Council, a grouping of data management vendors including GoldenSource, Cicada and SunGard, which aims to help firms move to a more horizontal enterprise-wide data management framework.

Asset Control has always touted its centralised data management approach and Lynch appears less than enamoured by the EDM Council. "We are not planning to participate [in the Council]," he said. "We have to understand the benefits of it and how it is going to help 'move the needle'. I am not convinced of that yet. But I am open minded." Outgoing CEO Ger Rosenkamp chipped in saying that while EDM has value, he believes Asset Control's Customer Advisory Board, which influences most of its product development strategy, goes beyond the level achieved by the EDM Council.

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