|BST Expanding Its FinOffice Suite|
|Monday, 15 March 2004 16:20|
The current version of FinOffice offers market data and telecoms inventory management functionality. But BST America, whose main expertise is in market data expense management consulting and services, is turning the product into a suite called FinOffice 5.
Four new standalone modules will be added: exchange auditing (FinExchange), vendor auditing (FinOperations), contract management (FinContract) and workflow (FinFlow). FinOffice already offers some of these abilities but for the first time they will be available as separate components within a suite rather than as customized services for specific clients. The two other modules are FinMarketData and FinTelecom.
FinOperations was originally developed for specific vendor customers, which officials decline to name. Now it will be available to any vendor for auditing the distribution of its data to third parties or their clients. The module can also act as an entitlement system.
Willem Noorlander, partner at BST America, says the company is talking to two vendors that would use FinOperations to interface their back-office operational systems. "We’re talking to one vendor that has bought several other entities in the past two years and is having a difficult time merging and integrating the back offices," he says. "We see our tool as a way to help them do that."
FinExchange, which sits between the exchange and its vendors and other third parties, is designed to reduce the amount of manual auditing of vendors’ usage reports. "The manual process is intense and reduces amount [of payment] that exchanges get," says Sara Crowe, managing partner of BST America. This product will identify usage of exchange data on both Web-based and direct delivery platforms and is compatible with VRXML, the protocol for reporting exchange data usage.
FinContract can be used for market data services, telecoms or any other technology contracts. "We did have contract management within the context of market data inventory [on FinOffice], but it was not a fully developed, contract-specific directed system," Crowe says. "We consider this new because it addresses contract management in a whole new way."
Finally, for the first time FinOffice will offer workflow functionality. FinFlow automates the ordering and approval of market data services and allows the client to see where the order is in the process. If used in conjunction with any of the other components, it can also automatically update inventory as orders are entered.
Customers license the software based on the number of administrators. FinOffice can be installed onsite or used on an outsourced basis.
BST America has 35 to 40 customers for FinOffice. It has the rights to sell FinOffice in the Americas, while parent company BST AG has rights to the product in Europe and Asia. However, the two will share opportunities in the UK.
Crowe says the market data area still needs attention. "Market data has long been one of the mismanaged areas. Clients continue to get confused by the way vendors make different decisions, from changing rate cards to merging with other organizations."
Noorlander adds, "As large users are becoming aware that, in some cases, market data is becoming the second largest cost and they begin to size the box, it’s getting very complex. I believe there’s more focus on it now than there has been in the past."
BST America’s current projects include performing a complete inventory analysis, assessing worldwide spend, advising on cost reductions and centralizing administrative tasks for an undisclosed global bank. BSTAmerica also performs benchmarking studies.