The Challenge of Managing Online Information Services

As we discussed in our last blog How to track usage of your online information subscriptionsthe need amongst information and data service managers to understand true usage and better management of information services is growing.

For market data managers, the majority of services are now web-based, such as S&P Global Market Intelligence, Factiva, Markit, Moody’s, Opus Global and more. For legal firms almost all services are web-based, such as the Financial Times, SNL, Lexis Nexis and more.

Here are some of the challenges that they might be facing in managing the sourcing and use of such information services:

  • Not armed with enough information about actual usage of services when negotiating contracts with vendors
  • Unable to identify underutilized services in order to cancel them and save money
  • Lack of control over access to premium content services through a lack of policy knowledge by their end users
  • Not able to allocate cost for service usage accurately on to clients – this is particularly challenging right now around research services, given the requirement under MiFID II to unbundle of research costs
  • Users are drowning in a sea of multiple vendor logins and passwords, or worse are sharing logins, which puts the firm at risk of non-compliance with vendor policies
  • Risk of falling foul of vendor compliance in the use of data and incurring penalties as a result

The best way to combat these challenges is to automatically collect detailed data down to the individual user and service level so you can identify actual usage.

Once you have that data you can then analyse it in order to easily identify services that are unused, block premium-priced content where necessary to control costs, ensure you are in compliance with vendor contracts and therefore not liable to potential fines, and better allocate costs to the relevant groups within your organisation.

This ability is exactly what led us at TRG to acquire the Research Monitor and Quest products. Existing clients using Research Monitor include Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Nomura, Skadden, Linklaters, , Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance and many more.

In the past few months since integrating the Research Monitor service with our FITS market data inventory management platform, we’ve been discussing this ability with our financial markets clients. We’re finding that we have created a unique and compelling value proposition. By providing detailed insights into both their spend and usage across a broad spectrum of subscription services, TRG clients now have the ability to truly optimize their spend.

Delving into the Usage Tracking Details

To delve a little deeper into how Research Monitor works, the usage tracking records the time and date of any session and duration, search strings used, content downloaded. You can drill into any of this data via an interactive dashboard and web-reporting interface.

The client validation and cost recovery capability enables you to validate client or project codes for any online service, implement workflow rules including warnings and blocking if necessary. Usage data can then be tracked back to clients or projects.

For administrators, they can also include their own reminders and recommendations to their users to inform them of the most cost-effective ways to access various services or to block certain aspects of a service in order to better control costs and compliance.

Something that makes the lives of end users much easier is the ability to leverage a single sign on password across all information services. Those passwords can be centrally administered, access can be controlled to firm-only PCs, laptops or VPN users.

To find out more about how we can help you get up and running quickly with usage monitoring, get in touch.