As part of DRW’s Speaker Series, our Chicago office hosted four thought leaders from across the data space. Led by Kim Trautmann, Head of DRW Venture Capital, panelists discussed data management and how the data space is evolving.

In recent years, the data space has seen a huge influx in new technology, and not only a much higher amount of data but also a higher quality. That’s how Rachel Carpenter, CEO of Intrinio, sees the data space evolving. As new types of users are popping up, teams of developers and programmers have started to build tools to use and analyze data on their own – and financial institutions are starting to take the same cues.

Elizabeth Pritchard, Head of Go-To-Market at Crux, echoed Rachel’s thought and added how she thinks the space has evolved from the angle of the investment process. “The technology available in the cloud, coupled with growth in sources of data has begun to change the research process,” she pointed out. With her clients, she sees more data through the front office, and a need for more agile frameworks. Developers, data scientists and quants who have been constrained by historic data management processes can use this more accessible data and bring it into their organizations more smoothly.

Currently, one of the most talked about aspects of the space is location data, and how the general supply of it has decreased. CEO of Cuebiq Antonio Tomarchio brings up that this is due to two reasons – data companies have shut down because of controversial data collection, and new regulation. Even with things like GDPR and the California Consumer Privacy Act, consumers still care about three main things: transparency, control and value. Tomarchio points out, if you can guarantee your data is anonymous and the application provides value, consumers will opt in to sharing their data.

For data traveling from origin to use case, the space is changing in how analysts find sources of alpha. Until a few years ago, most data analysts spent a majority of their time trying to source, clean and normalize unstructured data. David Riehl, Executive Director of Equities, Data and Analytics at IHS Markit, says many of these frictions are starting to go away – giving analysts more time to focus on the process of analyzing data to generate alpha. This leads to the ultimate question: how does one find actionable information from data? As Carpenter chimed in, “A science and an art.”

As for the next five years, Carpenter emphasizes the increased effort of companies like Crux and Intrinio to democratize access to data, and with that comes an explosion of innovation. The future consists of data scientists and programmers, who are building their own tools and platforms to make data easier to use than ever. “Once the data starts flowing, those are the tools that will drive the industry.”