Financial data intelligence company EDGAR Online is overhauling its services to enable developers to access financial data via APIs. While already offering some API products, financial data services need a fundamental reinvention to enable a new wave of innovation, EDGAR Online President Dave Frankel told ProgrammableWeb.
"Anybody who is looking at public companies and financial disclosures in the United States knows EDGAR Online, we are well known to both institutional and retail investors. Just about anyone who has looked at finance data in the U.S. is familiar with us," EDGAR Online President Dave Frankel said. He pointed to the data used by Yahoo Finance as an example of how EDGAR Online data services are being used by customers. Frankel spoke with ProgrammableWeb to share insights into why the financial data intelligence service is overhauling its API service delivery framework.
"We have been providing financial data content via APIs for years, but the problem has been we have had antiquated systems. There is no understanding of who is using the data and we have lacked the ability to adapt our business models and delivery methods to address new trends like mobile usage," Frankel said. "Our new relationship with API management provider Intel Mashery gives us new ways to do exciting analysis and will change the way people consume financial information."
"What we are doing is modernizing our APIs, moving them all to a REST API. That entails taking a lot of different financial data and getting it all converted to a REST API. We're also working on an initial implementation reporting layer and leveraging Mashery's API services to create a new beta version. We hope to show people how it works at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas in March, with a full launch in June."
At present, while EDGAR Online offers data access via API, end users need to sign up for paid access to full datasets. The current moves towards reinventing EDGAR Online as an API-enabled enterprise will mean developers can access just the data endpoints they need. Developers will be able to create sample products and test ideas ahead of going to market with a commercial analytics solution built on using EDGAR Online's financial database. Free access to data via APIs will also be available to allow developers and entrepreneurs to test API calls and experiment with creating new analytics products.
"Traditionally, with financial information distribution, it is not very flexible to get just the data you need. We are aiming for developers to be able to come to us and they can customize our business model to make use of just the data they need to create the analytics or mobile apps they like. Today, given the current API structure we have, we aren't able to provide API endpoints. Our old environment is not able to provide that, no one in this space is able to provide that. But in the meantime, developers don't have to wait six months, from our perspective this is all a continuation of our business, so we encourage developers to give us a call. We have built a team that is really into financial disclosures information - we talk about how to share data and current debates in the field all the time - so we are able to help developers who are considering building applications."
Joel Gurin, author of the forthcoming book Open Data Now, points to financial data as one of the fields he expects to see grow in 2014, as more developers mix open financial data with services like EDGAR Online to create niche analytics and visualization tools across a wide range of verticals. "The way the financial sector is using data is increasingly interesting", Gurin told ProgrammableWeb. "The usage of XBRL and data about publicly traded companies, and how sustainability and environmental footprint data is beginning to play into investment decisions... it's really bringing about major changes and there are a lot of opportunities for analysis and insight as that grows."
Frankel agrees: "I would even expand it beyond investment decisions and into business decisions in general. Our data can help make better governance risk and compliance decisions, for example. But in the past, all this information that is available has been locked up. What we are doing with the help of Mashery is that we are being awakened to the idea that APIs are making just the data available that is needed to make a decision. For example, you could take our APIs to drive an internal decision-making dashboard. We have executives in companies across the U.S. all walking into a meeting, each with an iPad under their arm, and they want to have all the data available to them about a particular industry's current trends. Someone needs to make that available in an application. We're fueling that kind of innovation."
Delyn Simons, Head of Developer Relations at Intel's Mashery confirmed with ProgrammableWeb that opening up financial data via APIs will give developers the resources they need to start creating a new range of innovative products in 2014:
“EDGAR Online's API program fills a growing need in the finance industry, as more and more applications are built that replace the traditional 'Bloomberg terminal' model of access to data used by investors. Financial services are only the latest industry to experience this disruption of the App Economy.
As this happens, developers need to be able to gain access to EDGAR Online's unique, time-sensitive financial markets data in order to build integrations for new connected devices. In a 'post-terminal' era of financial services, connected devices help EDGAR Online's data reach its customers when and where they need to receive it. Mashery helps EDGAR Online by onboarding developers quickly with easy access to their API."
Developers who are interested in discussing their ideas for creating decision-making tools built on API-enabled financial data can contact EDGAR Online directly.
By Mark Boyd. Mark is a freelance writer focusing on how we use technology to connect and interact. He writes regularly about API business models, open data, smart cities, Quantified Self and e-commerce. He can be contacted via email, on Twitter, or on Google+.