Feature highlight: Using XMon to track reference data calls from Microsoft Excel workbooks

Microsoft Excel is used extensively by all users in an organization. In the context of reference data, users can create spreadsheets containing data vendor formulas (e.g. Bloomberg Reference Data or Refinitiv) to download reference data and use it for custom reports, analysis and bespoke calculations.

Although extremely useful from a user perspective, downloading reference data in Excel has two pitfalls that can challenge the most hardened DataOps teams.
First, reference data is subject to usage compliance terms and controlling how data is used once it is in a spreadsheet is notoriously difficult.

Second, reference data has associated costs and providing ubiquitous access to reference data directly from a spreadsheet can cause cost spikes and uncontrolled increases in spend.

XMon addresses these challenges and helps organizations take control of reference data usage in Excel workbooks

How XMon can help

In early June, we released a new XMon feature to help organizations better manage reference data access in Excel, namely by:

  1. Automatically detecting Excel workbooks that contain reference data access formulas
  2. Allowing DataOperations teams to track which securities and associated fields are being pulled in Excel
  3. Allowing DataOperations teams to create cost and compliance rules to be notified in real-time if an Excel workbook breaches cost or compliance terms

What this looks like in XMon

DataOps analysts can upload a given workbook to XMon directly or use the XMon tracker agent to detect workbooks with vendor reference data calls. In both cases, XMon will inventory the workbooks found and list them for access. The screenshot below shows what this looks like:

Clicking on the icon displays the workbook factsheet and associated reference data cost, list of fields and list securities detected:

Using the XMon rules engine, data administrators can create compliance rules so they can be immediately notified in case of non-compliance or in case of expensive requests.

Audit and compliance reports

Reporting on reference data usage is notoriously difficult and coupling this with the requirement to understand which users are retrieving data in Excel workbooks can put a heavy load on DataOps teams trying to ensure compliance and keeping costs in check. With XMon, generating evidence backed usage reports becomes much easier, providing data analysts with the tools necessary to track costs and compliance in real-time and generating accurate and timely usage reports.

Reach out for more information about how XMon can help your organization understand, control and derive insights from your reference data usage.

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