XML Offshoot Aims For Accuracy

Stock exchange gathers industry insight into VRXML initiative to simplify vendor reporting.

InformationWeek Staff, Contributor

November 1, 2002

3 Min Read

The NYSE also is moving to inventory-based reporting to simplify the reporting process. Rather than the current system of reporting additions and changes to users and services, the new plan will require customers to report the number of terminals in use at each site every month. "Going to total inventory will greatly reduce errors," Jordan says.

Total-inventory reporting is a more consistent approach, Atkin says. "Now end users report a number by saying they have 50 terminals this month and 47 terminals the next month, as opposed to reporting every single transaction."

By turning to an industry standard, Atkin says, user companies will also be able to minimize internal administrative tasks associated with the data.

"People spend a lot of time and money reconciling their inventory: 'Did we order this? Do we owe this money?'" Atkin says. "And if the bill doesn't match what your inventory is internally, they have to find where the problems are. That's all a manual process with back billing and credits and adjustments and timing-cycle lags that cause the problems."

The VRXML initiative will likely extend beyond use by the NYSE as a tool for market-data vendor reporting. "We're working with the financial information services division to standardize things like billing cycles, units of count, prorating of devices, and I think we've answered a lot of the questions and sort of set industry standards for them," Jordan says. "And hopefully, if it's something the industry wants, we'll offer it up as a standard."

"This is good for the industry as a whole," Atkin says, "because XML technologies are extensible and can be used as the foundation to standardize the meanings of administrative-data elements. If the specification works, we could use it for reporting all around, and that's good news." By standardizing the specific data elements for vendor-reporting requirements, he says, XML would be able to convey more meaning to the process and make it more efficient for the industry.

The financial information services division of the software association has sought industry feedback to make sure the draft version of the VRXML format meets user requirements and to determine if it can be extended for internal inventory management, what kind of conversion-process problems are possible, and what areas might need some work. "We have our finders on a lot of the people who do reporting from all sides--the users, vendors, and exchanges," Atkin says.

Most exchanges around the world want the same result--an accurate report and payment for data. "Anything that makes it easier, all the exchanges would be interested in, so we're coordinating with all the exchanges and having them look at the specification to make sure we can understand any issues they might have with it," Atkin says. He adds that this sort of industry-accepted standard would benefit everyone involved. "If you're an information owner, you want to make sure you get paid for your data, and if you're an information consumer, you want to make sure you only pay for what you use," Atkin says. "This is one good step along the road of making this process as automated and efficient as possible."

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