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Using XML Glue to Solve Big Integration Problems : Page 3

You know that enterprise application integration is a big problem that has various possible solutions, including packaged applications, software adapters, and EDI. But none of those technologies has the flexibility of XML. Find out why IT has pinned all its hopes on XML and industry-specific XML extensions for enterprise data integration.




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XML Variants for Industry-specific Problems
Financial firms are one example of an industry that is drowning in data, and one that has turned to the XML family of technologies for an integration solution. Mutual funds are managed by teams of portfolio managers who must sift through massive amounts of information, including research reports, news clips, financial statements, e-mails, and voice mail messages, every day to make informed investment decisions. Every manager must also assimilate company press releases, information from conference calls and phone conversations, and new SEC filings.

IT departments at financial firms are looking for ways to organize financial research so it can be analyzed efficiently and intuitively. Some of the roadblocks include the lack of a single source to collect and store stock research information, the sheer magnitude of research information sent each day, and the cost to store and manage paper reports. Because the research data is handled in various ways by individual companies, attempts to categorize, aggregate, or distribute financial research have not been successful.

Organizations started to envision a system that would present the research data to their employees and customers in a single view. Before the vision could work, everyone needed to speak a common language; a common information model and a centralized Web resource for presenting the research were necessary. The industry designed and proposed an XML schema specifically for these purposes.

Figure 1. Handling Source Data Before and After RIXML: With RIXML, data goes directly from source to portal, regardless of its format.

The Research Information Exchange Markup Language (RIXML) describes how buy- and sell-side financial firms will exchange investment and financial research. RIXML provides an open, extensible, and flexible standard to process, aggregate, and distribute the growing body of research information. If it is well implemented, it can access and aggregate data, eliminating the time-consuming task of manually tagging an entire database.

Typically, brokerage houses and research firms deliver research information and data using e-mail and FTP. In some cases, the content level can be as high as tens of thousands of messages each day. As new research is received, by e-mail or FTP for example, RIXML can tag and incorporate the data into the available research. Once RIXML is applied to the data, the old solution of writing hundreds of custom applications to convert the incoming content is eliminated.

After RIXML is applied to the stored legacy data and the incoming data, it can be presented in an aggregated view. This collected view can be presented in many ways, but a Web portal is one method. The collected data can also be published to a PDF and distributed to both analysts and clients.

<Issuer issuerType="Corporate" domicileCountryCode="us" sequence="3" primaryIndicator="Yes"> <SectorIndustry code="25" level="1" classificationType="GICS" primaryIndicator="Yes" focusLevel="No"> <SectorIndustry code="2510" level="2" classificationType="GICS" primaryIndicator="Yes" focusLevel="No"> <SectorIndustry code="251010" level="3" classificationType="GICS" primaryIndicator="Yes" focusLevel="No"> <SectorIndustry code="25101010" level="4" classificationType="GICS" primaryIndicator="Yes" focusLevel="Yes"> <Name>Auto Parts & Equipment</Name> </SectorIndustry> <Name>Auto Components</Name> </SectorIndustry> <Name>Automobiles & Components</Name> </SectorIndustry> <Name>Consumer Discretionary</Name> </SectorIndustry> <SectorIndustry code="Autos, Auto Parts & Tires" level="3" classificationType="PublisherDefined" primaryIndicator="Yes" focusLevel="Yes"> <Name>Autos, Auto Parts & Tires</Name> </SectorIndustry> <IssuerID idType="CUSIP" idValue="559222401" /> <IssuerName nameType="Legal"> <NameValue>Magna International</NameValue> </IssuerName> <PublisherRecommendation rixmlRecommendation="2" priorCurrent="Current"> <PublisherDefinedRecommendation>Outperform </PublisherDefinedRecommendation> </PublisherRecommendation> <PublisherRecommendation rixmlRecommendation="3" priorCurrent="Prior"> <PublisherDefinedRecommendation>Neutral </PublisherDefinedRecommendation> </PublisherRecommendation> </Issuer>

The beauty of the RIXML solution is that companies can create a system that organizes and collates the information so that employees can avoid irrelevant data and sift through the meaningful information in an efficient manner. Data coming from multiple sources in multiple formats is no longer cause for writing custom code to ensure that the data is stored and then presented to its intended audience.

Because the data can be collected and stored efficiently, a company's analysts can be presented with new data each morning. When analysts want to inform their clients about a buy or sell recommendation, they can present to their clients the same information they used to reach their recommendation. The analysts and their clients are then on the same page, can see the same data, and make informed decisions.

Rohit Mital is the the founder and vice president of engineering at XAware. He has been instrumental in developing XAware's Java/XML-based product suite and is responsible for all activities related to XAware's product development and implementation. He has over 14 years of software development experience in enterprise client-server environments. He has spent the last four years implementing XML and related technologies such as SOAP and Web services. Reach him at rmital@xaware.com.
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