Securities Firm Adopts a Blended Data Approach

The ability to manage data effectively determines whether an organization soars or stumbles. For a firm in the securities business, the stakes are incredibly high. In many cases, investment decisions and order execution opportunities appear and vanish in a matter of seconds.

Rosenblatt Securities, a New York City financial services firm, has invested heavily in the concept of data collection and management. “We are not only an institutional brokerage firm, we also have a fairly sophisticated consulting practice centered on trade execution and market structure analysis,” says Scott Burrill, partner and managing director. The firm’s specialties include macro strategies, derivatives and highly technical analysis.

Like a growing number of firms, Rosenblatt recognized a need to tap into big data and use data blending techniques to take performance to a higher level. But mixing together large volumes of both structured and unstructured data from different formats, including the likes of Hadoop and Omniture, can prove expensive, time-consuming and somewhat vexing. Moreover, it’s often necessary to tap the expertise of data scientists and IT specialists conversant with specific hardware and software requirements.

In 2006, Rosenblatt Securities turned to a data analytics solution, which it upgraded and improved over the years. However, as advanced as the platform had become—including sophisticated visualizations—Burrill notes that “the environment does not operate in real time.” As a result, “We had to build our own real-time visualization suite using a freeware product as the foundation.”

That approach created additional challenges and problems, including stability issues and limitations on working with large data sets. “We needed software that would allow us to blend the data but also get it to more users, especially our subject matter experts,” Burrill recalls. The company turned to Alteryx, which provided tablet data engine extraction and real-time visualizations.

Burrill reports that this step forward was critical to achieving success. The ability to import .CSV files, spreadsheet data, free-form documents, charts and images in a few seconds, while supporting the use of tablet data engine files has proved transformative.

“We are able to conduct rapid-fire analyses and see exactly how a security is performing,” he explains. “We can piece together information from multiple sources and gain insights in a matter of seconds.”

Using macros and other tools, the firm can also grab data from Websites and other sources.

Rosenblatt Securities is now looking to expand the capabilities into an iPad app that connects to the firm’s core database. That, Burrill says, will allow the company to push out data to its team and others. “It’s another step in making the firm more agile and adopting a mindset and business approach based on innovation,” he notes.

In the end, Burrill says that the ability to pull together disparate data sources and focus on creating value is transformative. “We are able to get the right data to domain experts at the right time,” he reports. “It makes us a much more efficient organization and keeps us on the leading edge of analytics.”