BEST PRACTICES
SEAMLESS INTEGRATED WORKFLOWS

IT managers are working hard to maintain high performance while reducing cost and risk. Inefficient connectivity can cause performance issues and increase support and maintenance costs. Bloomberg Trading Solutions Connectivity & Integration (TSCI) provides Best Practices to help firms address these issues and establish more seamless, fully integrated workflow.

BATCH SIMULATION OF REAL-TIME DATA

Some clients set up batch feeds that run every 10 to 30 minutes to receive a “snapshot” of incremental transactional and positional data into their downstream systems. This happens because receiving systems can’t connect in a real-time manner. Firms attempt to simulate a real-time connection by repeatedly scheduling files created from batch jobs, which leads to:

  • Untimely information that compromises trading opportunities and investment decisions
  • Errors caused by batch data
  • Perceived latency due to dependency on batch file schedules
  • Long processing time due to multiple points of failure in batch processing
  • High operational costs to maintain multiple batch sets and multiple destinations
  • Monitoring, tracking, synchronizing, reconciling, documenting and training costs

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If there are multiple destinations, operational costs run even higher. There are also adverse effects on scalability, such as the rising cost of upgrades, changes and support.

Enterprise Gateway: With the Gateway, firms can use real-time transactional feeds even if target systems only support batch files. The visually based Gateway can convert real-time feed messages and data, triggered by real-time events, into flat files. It also can provide a powerful, efficient mechanism for receiving real-time feeds without needing to implement other costly real-time software systems.

Trading Solutions Applications Development Framework (TS-ADF): With TS-ADF, firms can programmatically subscribe to real-time position and P&L changes as well as real-time transactions as they occur in Bloomberg OMS (AIM and TOMS). This allows firms to use the same applications that normally “wait” for scheduled files to front-end real-time data changes in AIM and TOMS with either desktop dashboards and/or system-to-system applications running in the background.

MULTIPLE REAL-TIME FEED VERSIONS

Some firms set up new versions of real-time trade feeds when they need new data on their feeds, instead of adding new fields to existing real-time connectivity. This happens because third-party systems and proprietary systems often require data changes to support new industry practices, data requirements and asset classes. These changes to existing production feeds, however, may break previously established connectivity. This creates numerous issues:

  • Implementation costs to configure and certify the new feed
  • High maintenance and support costs
  • Non-centralized administration and more operational overhead
  • Decreased performance because every version of the feed requires separate data acquisition routines to run at the point of feed execution
  • Slower trade feeds throughout due to increased latency and processing time for the whole firm
  • More points of failure
  • Difficulty in isolating and debugging data discrepancy issues across a variety of feeds

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Bloomberg offers two ways to solve this issue:

Enterprise Gateway: Bloomberg has invested in tools to simplify system flow by taking one comprehensive feed with all data points needed by all downstream systems. By leveraging the Gateway to transform this superset of data into all versions of feeds required downstream, firms can do this more efficiently and scale to much higher levels of performance than separate, multiple versions of direct feeds. The Gateway can act as a single centralized middleware that is capable of integrating and maintaining all downstream connections through a single feed of data from Bloomberg.

Trading Solutions Application Development Framework (TS-ADF): The TS-ADF offers a complete repository and SDK into all of the Bloomberg Trading Solutions data elements that pertain to positions, transactions and appropriate Security Master data for holdings in a position. This gives firms an alternative way to access the exact data downstream systems require without the need to compile, deliver and parse a feed. As such, firms can now surgically program a multitude of applications to pull the exact data they each individually require without the overhead associated with configuring and maintaining feeds.

REDUNDANT ANALYTIC FEEDS INTERFACES

Some firms set up separate custom analytic feeds that contain much of the same data as other feeds, producing duplicate data multiple times daily. This occurs because different downstream systems use different interface formats and specifications. For example, one system may take a csv file format while another takes a database connection or positional format. Firms may also create a new feed for a new field requirement rather than risk breaking an existing process. Some may lack the time to learn a new feed setup due to tight implementation schedules. Others may have an accumulation of old feeds that are no longer relevant but have not been cleaned up.

Regardless of the reason, redundant analytic feeds can raise serious issues:

  • Pressure on overall system performance and elongated back-end timings
  • Slower batch and end-of-day processes, putting all downstream systems at risk
  • High costs of implementation, operational complexity and increased support
  • Complexity of interfaces raises the risk of incorrect settlement and end of day process, potentially affecting all downstream systems, including: accounting, reporting, cash and position management systems

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Bloomberg offers two ways to solve this problem:

Enterprise Gateway: The Gateway allows firms to schedule one comprehensive analytic feed that contains all of the data points that downstream systems need. The Gateway can then take this data set and create multiple versions of analytic feeds needed by separate downstream systems, users and reports. By collapsing all of these direct analytic feeds into a single data set into the Gateway, customers can dramatically improve their overall feeds performance and back-end times.

Trading Solutions Application Development Framework (TS-ADF): The TS-ADF lets firms query Trading Solutions data directly using a programmatic API. By using TS-ADF, firms can eliminate the need for separate batch files and schedules, and consolidate all redundant batch feed set ups. TS- ADF can provide on-demand queries from customer applications to positional, transactional and security data. For example, an in-house position management system can query directly into the firm’s positions or transactions, and subscribe to position changes without the need to take and store a scheduled feed of data.

MULTIPLE COMPLEX DATA TRANSFERS

When firms grow, changes to workflow are inevitable. These changes must be implemented quickly to maintain productivity and performance. As a result, new processes are introduced to transfer data among downstream systems, each of which has its own naming conventions and/or loading location requirements for data synchronization. Over time, the changes in scripting logic used to rename and distribute data begin to accumulate. This creates numerous issues:

  • Compromised support for enterprise changes that require updates in multiple areas
  • Difficulty in audit trail creation due to extensive file renaming and translation
  • General lack of knowledge of actual system flow across the firm
  • Poor performance caused by large file transfers and unnecessary checks for new data
  • Increased delivery time for transferring data between systems
  • Higher costs due to maintaining multiple data files with multiple destinations
  • Increased technology costs to synchronize data
  • Cost of monitoring, synchronizing, reconciling and documenting data transfers

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Bloomberg offers two potential solutions:

Enterprise Gateway: The Gateway enables firms to transform and deliver data to downstream systems without complex intermediate processing. The graphical user interface allows users to configure the file name as required and arrange delivery to any destination in the network via GNET thin-client software. By reducing the need for additional processing, the Gateway makes maintenance and support much easier. The GNET thin-client software supports direct connections to internal databases, enabling seamless synchronization between downstream systems and Bloomberg Order Management Systems (AIM and TOMS).

Trading Solutions Application Development Framework (TS-ADF): With the TS-ADF, firms can programmatically subscribe to real-time position and P&L changes, as well as real-time transactions occurring in AIM and TOMS. This allows firms to front-end real-time data changes (via desktop dashboards and/or system-to-system applications running in the background) using the same applications that normally have to “wait” for scheduled files. With TS-ADF, firms can swiftly adapt to workflow changes by updating only the affected systems and eliminating the need for middleware to manipulate and transfer files.

FAULT-TOLERANT CONNECTIVITY

To ensure seamless connectivity and application availability for customers, Bloomberg uses multiple host destinations. Unfortunately, firms still experience connectivity failures because the applications they are using are not configured to support multiple hosts. Firms may avoid using multiple host destinations to connect to markets faster. Or legacy applications may not support this capability. Either way, the results can be serious:

  • Unnecessary challenges for trade settlement
  • Difficulty synchronizing position and trade data across enterprise systems
  • Failure to comply with financial redundancy regulations
  • Data loss, missed market information and unrealized trade opportunities
  • Time lost to manual processing, confirmation and reconciliation of transactions
  • Inability to maintain service level agreements for the firm’s clients
  • Resources expended on outage resolution
  • Cost of monitoring systems due to unreliability

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Bloomberg offers two ways to solve this problem:

Enterprise Gateway: The Gateway is hosted and managed middleware that transforms, enriches and delivers data to downstream systems. Built with performance, scalability, fault tolerance and extensibility in mind, the Gateway controls failover to the Bloomberg global private network so firms can be assured of continuous connectivity and application availability.

Trading Solutions Application Development Framework (TS-ADF): With the TS-ADF, firms can programmatically subscribe or request data from AIM and TOMS. The TS-ADF infrastructure gives firms both visibility and control over connectivity with built-in automatic failover.

DUAL DATA ENTRY

Firms often use separate systems to manage decision making, execution, position keeping, risk, compliance and back-office functions throughout the trade life cycle. Each of these systems needs to consume the same trade details, but not all of them are integrated. Some lack the ability while others have not been connected due to a lack of resources. Either way, this results in more manual processing because firms need to re-key trade data multiple times.

  • Higher risk of human error and poor data synchronization
  • Incorrect decisions and unwanted exposures caused by inconsistent data
  • Lower productivity due to manual updates
  • Slower decision making and execution
  • Higher overall maintenance costs
  • Opportunity cost of redundant manual labor
  • Slower trade performance due to manual processing

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Bloomberg offers three ways to solve this issue:

Workflow Extensions – Order Staging: This allows orders from an existing decision support system to flow directly into Bloomberg Order Management Systems and execution platforms. Order staging eliminates the need for redundant data entry and all of its associated operational risks. Automating this process also speeds trade data updates to enhance overall efficiency.

Workflow Extensions – Order Placement: This enables orders from AIM and TOMS to flow directly into a firm’s execution systems. Managing orders and executions automatically across systems allows firms to seamlessly automate previously manual workflows.

Enterprise Gateway: The Gateway is middleware that allows data from AIM and TOMS to flow directly into downstream middle or back office systems, providing straight-through processing (STP) with no manual interaction. Bloomberg can adapt messaging to match downstream systems, minimizing external resource requirements and enabling smooth integration with AIM and TOMS.