Powering Up Data

Terry Flanagan

Bloomberg’s latest version of its Professional terminal speeds decision-making.

Deciphering market signals and news in order to formulate trading strategy is complicated enough without having to wade through multiple screens of data.

Bloomberg, whose Professional terminal is used by 313,000 subscribers, has taken steps to simplify the process of making sense out of all the information the terminal provides.

“Markets today are complex and interconnected,” said Tom Secunda, head of Bloomberg’s financial products and services division. “We have therefore redesigned the terminal to enhance discoverability, usability and workflow.”

More than 100,000 clients have connected to Bloomberg Next, the latest iteration of the Bloomberg Professional terminal that consolidates and integrates its extensive data, news and analytics.

The company has kicked off a global campaign to convert all of its customers to Next by the end of 2012, said Secunda.

The discoverability features enable users to get direct answers to queries as well as pull together a variety of related details such as companies, research and charts.

“We have tens of thousands of functions on the Bloomberg terminal, covering millions of securities,” Secunda said. “All of that data is structured so we can curate that data, and make it easier to use.”

Every screen of the Bloomberg Professional has been redesigned to provide a common look and feel, providing a consistent interface across asset classes and functions.

The functionality of the terminal has been reengineered so that users can navigate through the series of questions and answers essential to decision making. The new workflow allows users to drill deeper and discover new functions, said Bloomberg.

“The Bloomberg Professional Service is a platform with thousands of interconnected applications,” said Shawn Edwards, chief technology officer at Bloomberg. “For Bloomberg Next, we built hundreds of prototypes which we tested with real users in our Usability Lab.”

Bloomberg has also opened its market data interfaces for use by technology professionals globally. Bloomberg’s application programming interface, known as BLPAPI, powers global market data distribution to desktops, workgroups and enterprise applications.

In addition to Bloomberg Professional service subscribers, non-Bloomberg customers, vendors and software developers can use BLPAPI as an alternative to proprietary technologies for market data distribution.

This is Bloomberg’s latest move in support of its Open Market Data Initiative, an ongoing effort to embrace and promote open solutions for the financial services industry.

In 2009, Bloomberg released its Open Symbology (BSYM), a system for identifying securities across all asset classes.
The symbology set encompass Bloomberg identifiers, symbols and high level reference data–the basic characteristics of a given financial instrument.

The centerpiece of the symbology initiative is Bloomberg Global Identifier (BBGID), a 12 character, alpha numeric code assigned to approximately 40 million unique instruments found in the global markets. Unlike other existing IDs, the BBGID does not change once assigned.

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