Xignite changed the way market data is stored, structured, priced, and distributed, in the same way that Spotify changed the way that music files are stored, structured, priced, and distributed. Consumer demand drives change, and for financial market data, the change was overdue. Despite incredible progress in how all types of complex data are shared in this era, financial market data (not overly complex by any stretch of the imagination) has remained predominantly stagnant. In fact, the industry has risen in unison to create friction for the customer, introducing restrictive licensing, unnecessary complexity, and new add-ons only in so much as they commercialize established intellectual property and distribution channels.
Apple led music industry disruption with the launch of iTunes on January 9, 2001. Digital music began slightly earlier, in the late 1990s, with a peer to peer network model allowing for the free exchange of music files. Today, we stream the music we want, when we want it on Spotify and other streaming channels. By 2006, a mere 5 years after the launch of iTunes, Tower Records filed for bankruptcy and liquidation. An undying commitment to improving the customer experience fueled this unbelievably rapid evolution. Spotify has made consuming music easier than ever before. The ease-of-use that Xignite delivers to financial market data consumers may be mapped to what the music industry has delivered for over a decade.
For starters, Xignite eliminated the need for data replication across the industry. It’s amazing to think that it was only a few years ago that you and all of your best friends bought the same albums at the store. How many of you physically owned The Joshua Tree? Thriller? The Dark Side of the Moon? When you had enough CDs, tapes, records, or even 8-tracks, you needed a storage unit. Some of the storage units looked pretty snazzy. Retail stores held all of this hardware in one single place - think co-lo perhaps? How many of those flimsy plastic CD and tape covers broke? How many of your CDs got scratched? Entire industries sprouted to fix the scratches on CDs! Soon enough, we realized that iPods could hold thousands of songs and fit right in our pockets. Storage has become so insignificant that it has ceased to be a concern for consumers. Today, streaming provided by services like Spotify eliminates it entirely. Thanks to Xignite, market data is now hosted in the Cloud and can be consumed on demand. It can also be streamed easily to your device. The era to store and replicate market data has come to an end. The snazzy storage units you own may still be required to support some of your critical business applications, but not for market data. The time has come to move on, and embrace the loud.
Xignite introduced flexibility, to acquire only the data you need. How many albums did you buy for only one or two songs? The music industry was forced into a model supporting flexibility for customers to choose only the data files they wanted. Market data is no different here either. Xignite’s true innovation is the work it has done on the back end to parse, normalize, organize, and deliver only the data customers demand - down to the field level. The days of receiving in massive quantities of unorganized, unnecessary data are behind us - in music as in market data.
Apple brilliantly commercialized their customer-friendly, flexible iTunes consumption model with a consistent and simple pricing model. Spotify went even further to create differentiated, low and no-cost subscription models. I remember the one music store that I used to frequent that did not have the best selection, and frequently sold out of popular albums, but they were the most competitively priced. I often found myself trolling the clearance racks, looking for albums that I might be willing to listen to for $5. There were absolutely times when I felt buyers remorse, thinking I was buying the yet-undiscovered Pearl Jam...and then learning that the album I sunk money into was more like a Vanilla Ice wanna-be. Market data does not have to be tricky. You want the right coverage and quality, and you are willing to pay for what you need to run your business, but you don’t want complexity. Xignite’s pricing model offers you a straightforward approach that eliminates the uncertainty and surprise invoices. With Xignite you pay only for the financial data you need.
To be sure - there are legacy enthusiasts that enjoy listening to records on vintage LP players. There will also be those that feel a sense of familiarity, comfort, and nostalgia when they type on a specially formulated colorful keyboard. Go ahead and listen to that record - maybe keep that keyboard in a special place on your desk. As it relates to running your business in this generation of fast-paced change and data-at-your-fingertips, stay abreast of what is now available. Market data consumption has changed, it is more Spotify than you may realize. Talk to the team building your latest applications, the one focused on fintech integration, or the project team targeting your cloud strategy. They may have heard of Xignite... and if not, ask them to check us out. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in a new market data experience or email@example.com if you want to deliver that new experience to your existing clients.
About the Author
Marla Sofer, Xignite’s Head of Business Development, launched the company’s Channel Partner Program to drive growth with enterprise clients. She joined from Lending Club where she was Head of Third-Party Monitoring and Oversight. Prior to Lending Club, she was a founding member of the team that launched the Global Provider Strategy function at BlackRock responsible for developing and executing the firm’s global operating strategy for selecting, managing, and partnering with global banks, index licensors, and market data providers. Previously she was at J.P. Morgan responsible for servicing asset management and institutional clients. She holds an MBA in Business Strategy and International Business from Rutgers University and a BA in Sociology and Hebrew from the University of Texas at Austin.