How Technology is Driving Market Data Consumption

By Lynn Martin, President & COO, ICE Data Services

When it comes to the global financial marketplace, technology continues to drive the dynamics of our industry. When markets were more manual and intermediated by people alone, the flow of information was limited to the distribution capacity of human networks. Today’s electronic markets, coupled with the proliferation of markets due to fragmentation, have multiplied the volume of market data exponentially. This is a trend that is playing out across industries, and it’s shaping changes that, as the use of data dictates new strategies (for example, the rise of passive investing), continue to gain in popularity.

Importantly, in response to the increased amount of information available, the way we use technology to consume data has evolved in the same way that data generation has evolved.

5 Ways Tech is Driving Data Consumption

1. Multi-device consumption

Today’s connected world means users are consuming data almost around the clock. As a result, market participants are continuously transitioning between desktop, mobile and tablet devices to access information at various points throughout their day. Mobile technology has advanced to the point where it, in some cases, evolves far quicker than desktop technology. In the financial sector specifically, this evolution is driving the creation and use of secure, robust mobile apps that enable us to read and evaluate information, trade, and do pretty much everything else we’d do on a desktop while we’re on the go. In my role leading ICE Data Services, I’ve seen mobile usage on our own technologies, such as mobile trading and similar apps, increase 161% in the last three years; transaction activity generated by mobile devices increased by almost 25% in the last year alone.

2. Increased Content Over a Growing Range of Delivery Mechanisms

In addition to desktop, mobile and tablet apps, the new generation of data users needs flexible delivery mechanisms, such as feeds and APIs that help facilitate customized solution development. Market participants want the ability to customize the information they consume so they can zero in on relevant data and respond quickly to market changes. While reliance on the internet is a given, for mission critical applications such as trading systems and data feeds, the use of private networks and redundant lines is an increasingly critical part of data infrastructure.

3. Security & Compliance are Paramount

As financial regulation and oversight has grown, we’ve had to evolve (a) the technology used to deliver data and (b) the data that’s delivered to help clients with their increased regulatory obligations. We’re now developing secure data delivery mechanisms with built-in compliance controls, and we’re designing tailored data solutions to help businesses comply with their regulatory obligations (for example, SEC Liquidity Risk Management, MIFID II, FRTB and others). And, importantly, we’re applying strong, tested cybersecurity measures to our new products to help strengthen both the physical and digital security of our markets and data through leading-edge security technology and processes.

4. Market Data Meets Other Digital Intelligence

As we provide tools to market participants in the form of traditional data (i.e., bids, asks, volume, etc.), we’re also evaluating additional digital intelligence (i.e., indications of sentiment shown through social media, peer announcements and expert commentary, etc.) - sometime referred to as ‘alternative data’. Comingling social and digital content with market data can help sophisticated investors to perform predictive analysis previously never imagined. This is why my team at ICE Data Services evaluates a wide range of types of information, and develops tools and delivery mechanisms that enable analysis of that data.

5. Hyper Focus on The User (and User Interfaces)

Knowing your customer is more important than ever in the digital age. Since communication is occurring largely through digital channels, the visual presentation and user experience provided by data delivery mechanisms are often as important as the data itself. One of the focuses for my team at ICE Data Services is building user interfaces that help participants contextualize, evaluate and respond to market information quickly. To be successful in this effort, customer-centricity is a must – whether that takes the form of user roundtables, 1:1 conversations, A/B testing and trial periods for new tools, or any other method to help us design and develop tools that align with our customers’ emerging needs.

In today’s digital world, technology and data are inextricably linked. As our ability to consume information continues to evolve and become increasingly sophisticated in response to the growing amount of information available, technology will remain the core driver of market data consumption. Lynn Martin, President & COO, ICE Data Services