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Insider’s Guide to Data Visualization for Financial Services
How Top Organizations Stay Ahead of the Pack:

by Leslie Proctor, www.corda.comThursday, March 20, 2008

Why Data Visualization is Critical for Financial Services Providers – By Corda Technologies

The adoption of data visualization solutions is critical for Financial Services Providers (FSP). The daunting task of sorting and comprehending massive quantities of data is fundamental to the very existence of any successful FSP. The challenge of meeting perpetually changing regulatory requirements, coupled with the basic business need to make strategic sound judgments from all available information will make dynamic, interactive data visualization solutions more and more critical during the next several years.

In the past, FSPs were doomed to read and try to digest stacks of paper. Today, they are almost literally watching reams of paper disappear from their desks and reappear in digital formats on their PCs, cell phones and PDAs. To deploy a successful data visualization solution, members of the Financial Services industry will need products that are fast, flexible, robust and easy to use.

This solution white paper discusses how decision makers at financial services organizations can use data visualization technology to explore relationships, perform analysis and more easily understand their data. By implementing PopChart™ by Corda Technologies, FSPs have the ability to improve decision-making by delivering up-to-the-second critical data in an interactive graphical representation that is easy to understand.

Corda Technologies believes that integrated data visualization solutions are key in allowing financial institutions to fully leverage their resources to generate new revenues while lowering costs.

Making sense of a mass of data

Financial Services Providers need to reliably handle massive amounts of data from a variety of sources and turn this into meaningful information for real-time decision-making and meet the corporate client needs for powerful analytical capability.

FSPs have become experts at collecting data. The problems occur when they want to view the data in an intuitive format that makes sense to decision makers. In the past, the standard way for people to view data has been in the form of tabular reports that resulted in stacks of paper. Such reports were ineffectual due to sheer volume. These days, no one has time to sift through mountains of paper. And by the time a manager, analyst, or other decision maker had these reports in their hands, the information was two or more weeks old. Such delayed reporting is dangerous in today’s volatile markets. That is why most of today’s FSPs have moved to a digital format. But without graphical representations of the data, decision makers are still faced with the challenge of sifting through tabular reports and spreadsheets to get to the bottom line.

What technologies are currently available to solve this problem?

The spreadsheet has been a long-time companion of FSPs. Programs such as Microsoft Excel have proven very helpful in moving spreadsheets from a hard copy to a digital format, but if the person (or team) compiling a report wants to display the data graphically, such as in a chart or graph, they have to construct them manually in Excel. This process involves several hours (or days) worth of work to crunch the data and feed it into appropriate formulas that would produce a static graph. The effort necessary to update a graph in Excel is generally time-consuming and very expensive. To update a graph in Excel, someone needs to access and obtain new data, open the worksheet, enter the new data, adjust the graph range to cover the new data, copy the new graph, insert the new graph into a Web page, and then finally, publish the Web page. This manual process also opens the door for errors that could allow outdated or incorrect information to be distributed throughout a company and beyond.

Again, this process can be a very expensive endeavor, even with a “free” program such as Excel. If five employees in an organization each update 10 graphs per day using Excel, (taking into account salary and time spent) the total cost of Excel for one year will be over $161,000.00. In comparison, the total cost of doing the same thing with PopChart, including the cost of purchasing PopChart’s most expensive graphing product, would be about $15,600.00.

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