In this modern era of computers and software, the accumulation of information has created a new phenomenon called “Big Data.”

In essence, big data is incredibly large amounts of data that requires substantial storage space. But even more important than just storing the data is knowing what to do with it. In the financial services world, handling large amounts of data involves security concerns as well as the efficiency of that information. Having a large amount of information on computers poses more problems than just storage and security, though. One of the issues that firms large and small grapple with is integrating data across divergent systems or platforms.

The issue of data integration goes beyond the systems themselves. It is an operational efficiency issue in that firms need to find solutions and then train staff in how to use those solutions, given whatever roadblocks they may encounter along the way. Often firms find they must use a patchwork of programs to link or share data, especially if the various software programs in use do not directly integrate their data with each other. There have been several projects attempting to address this issue, with varying degrees of success.

One of the first serious attempts was the “Your Silver Bullet” project ( However, lacking a uniform policy on the software partners’ integration, it fell short of some people’s expectations. Two of the largest custodians, Schwab and TD Ameritrade, followed with programs intended to address the integration problem, with TDA’s VEO project having more success thus far than Schwab’s Intelligent Integration project.

There has also been an effort on the part of individual software companies to forge integration deals with select software vendors. A financial planning software company, as an example, might wish to selectively integrate with a particular CRM software product where common interests can be identified. However, this effort, though laudable, has been far from universal. Redtail Technology, makers of Redtail CRM software, has, for example, created integrations with vendors such as MoneyGuidePro (which offers financial planning software). While such aligned programs may cut down on a financial advisory firm’s staff having to retype information such as names, addresses, phone numbers, Social Security numbers and birthdates, the programs may not include investment data, etc.

Junxure recently announced that they can build custom reports for users of their Junxure CRM software. Presumably, this would include any and all fields available in their CRM database.
However, it was not clear at this writing whether this could also include outside data sources. And not all CRMs are willing to do what Redtail, Junxure and others have undertaken in the way of integrations.

The problem seems to stem from the reluctance of some software makers to open their application programming interfaces (or APIs) to outside companies for fear that the outsiders might use the information to somehow clone or replicate the software.

Whether or not this is a valid fear, more software companies are coming around to the concept of universal data integration.

However, there are still large gaps for those companies dealing with large amounts of data from divergent sources that they wish to combine. For example, say a firm wishes to create a custom report that includes data from a CRM with detailed investment performance data, which is typically not integrated with such programs. The concept might be to combine the data into a report for clients: both highly detailed performance data and historical information taken from the CRM, as well as any other data. For many firms, this involves pulling data from several sources and then either retyping the information or simply combining reports in a folder.

The problem with the latter is the lack of uniformity: pages with different fonts and repagination that can look unprofessional. There is also the risk of errors in cases where that information was manually retyped into the report. Besides that, having to retype the same data is inherently inefficient and costly to the firm.

There may be an answer to this, however. There is a new software product that could change the landscape in handling and integrating large amounts of data. Offered through a company called 4DIQ (, the software is called Tesseract Analytics. The purpose of the software is to integrate data from any source with any other source. It does so fast and efficiently without data errors, according to 4DIQ’s director of sales and marketing, Christopher Blakely.

Blakely says, “Unlike traditional business intelligence software, 4DIQ’ s Tesseract Analytics allows you to quickly load and manipulate disparate data, irrespective of source or format. Once loaded, scrubbing your data is as easy as the click of a button. Our service also allows you to visualize the data in charts and reports to help see trends, patterns and outliers, to derive meaning from data with unprecedented speed and adaptability—in collaboration with others in your organization.”

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