Across nearly every sector of business, we are seeing an evolution from systems of record toward systems of engagement. As the data that we are dealing with explodes exponentially through use of emerging and disruptive technologies such as social, mobile, and geo-location, the business applications and tools we have on hand are becoming stretched to the extremes.
Systems of record are considered to be the originating “source of truth” when dealing with data-intensive processes. The applications and tools that we are accustomed to using in financial services are built upon systems of record. These systems require that data are stored and maintained in logical, rational and retrievable formats. They are our repositories of “facts”.
Systems of engagement, by contrast, are “messier.” Systems of engagement are driven and organized by the people using them. So instead of a system that enforces constraints around the structure and nature of data that are determined at design time, systems of engagement evolve dynamically as the informational needs of the people using them evolve. Systems of engagement have grown in importance because data are inherently messy – and data coming directly from humans even more so. Systems of engagement are continuing to evolve as a direct response to the vast amount of data that we are exposed to in our personal and professional experiences.
Business intelligence is now about so much more than combing through and sorting through “facts” – it’s becoming more and more about context and inference.
Take, for instance, the concept of an “account.” In a system of record, an account is a series of letters and/or numbers that are linked to a collection of facts. How many times have you been left feeling like you were being treated as a number? It’s a popular advertising tag line – the “we treat you like you are more than just a number” that refers to a brand’s sense of customer service. And this customer service is usually focused on discrete, human interactions as the differentiator.
So what do systems of engagement and contextual data have to do with the evolution of corporate actions? In the world of corporate actions processing, contextual data is the new frontier. We have to cope with the fact that the entire hierarchy of the “single source of truth” is breaking down as more and more people interact with data on an individual level.
The corporate actions data that we typically consume are passed down to us by systems of record, where data has been entered following precise rules and workflows. However, these data touch a great many players as they are communicated and are transformed by applications and networks. The ISO 20022 standard gets us closer to achieving a system of engagement in that it gives us a data model that is hierarchically organized and therefore flexible for extension. Though we are still inherently dealing in systems of record as the originating points of corporate actions, we are evolving the ability to include more and more contextual details around these actions.
In a manual processing scenario, managing the corporate actions lifecycle means gathering all of the additional bits of information and research that are germane to an individual person’s informational and decision-making needs. Managing the corporate actions lifecycle will soon mean gathering all the little things that are said about a particular action, and reflecting those tidbits of information in context with the needs of the individual user – but doing so in an online, ubiquitous environment. The net result is more effective execution, fewer errors, and decreased latency.
Moving the corporate actions process to an automated solution is a step forward for the industry, but in time even these systems will be overwhelmed by the growth of data if that data context is not utilized. If the facts are not transformed into a meaningful exchange that the individual user of that data can apply, corporate actions professionals will be unable to overcome and take advantage of the ever-increasing volume and complexity of data in this space.
Attend CAPCon New York on October 9, 2013 to hear more from SunGard XSP. Leading corporate action experts will discuss corporate actions data, leverage emerging partnerships among corporate actions vendors, and keeping up with the latest pitfalls and benefits to adoption of ISO 20022. SunGard XSP will be featured on the session Look Before You Leap: Moving to ISO 20022 session.