A key component of the plan is the expansion of the bank's installation of Screen Consultants' INFOmatch inventory management software to offices in London, New York and Hong Kong.
"Our idea is to have global insight into market data management, and we aim to have the Hong Kong office live by the end of summer," says Cor Breur, global market data coordinator at Fortis, who will head the new competence center. "In the end, the project will cover around 5,000 market data users globally and 120 data vendors," he adds.
Fortis began its plans to expand the scope of INFOmatch last year, after completing a project to migrate its London offices onto a single market data management system. The original deployment was designed to manage data usage in Fortis' core Benelux markets, Brussels, Amsterdam and Luxembourg, while the London office had used the Market Data Manager (MDM) software from UK-based vendor MDSL. But the bank decided to consolidate onto a single market data management system after Fortis acquired Dryden Wealth Management, which had been using INFOmatch-from Prudential in 2005.
The expansion has already seen the system expanded to capture data from the bank's New York operations. In recent months, Screen sent a team to New York to help migrate data from Fortis' installation of MDSL's MDM software, which the bank was using to support its US market data management operations.
The next phase of the project will see Fortis' Hong Kong office roll out the INFOmatch software in order to serve as a regional market data management hub, collecting and inputting invoice data from the bank's Asia-Pacific offices.
The global INFOmatch deployment will be hosted by Screen in Amsterdam on an application service provider (ASP) model, and accessed by Fortis staff in remote offices via a front-end browser interface.
"To achieve global access, the Benelux database has been migrated to our ASP hosting farm, so it's easy to provide secure access from anywhere," says John Lathouwers, operations director at Screen. Breur adds that deploying an ASP version of the software has simplified the bank's technology requirements for the project and enabled a more rapid rollout.
Screen is providing a team of consultants to help input all relevant invoice and usage data into INFOmatch as part of the project. "We will be on site with a small project team that's analyzing the data, [and] we are doing a large part of the population work for them," Lathouwers says.
Although some of this work is done manually, the software includes a range of automated tools to help reduce the workload in managing invoice reconciliation, Lathouwers says. "We have all kinds of tools to upload data automatically into INFOmatch. Those tools are for uploading data from big vendors like Reuters and Bloomberg, but also for taking data from one database into another," he says.
Once the global inventory database is complete, Fortis will be able to use the information to identify potential cost savings and negotiate improved global agreements with vendors, Breur says.