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The Benefits and Challenges of NoSQL

Jun. 17, 2016

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Recently, financial institutions are increasingly paying attention to NoSQL databases.

Unlike relational databases, which are structured to recognize relations among stored items of information, NoSQL databases store and retrieve data that is modeled in means other than the tabular relations, allowing more data processing. These databases have recently become widely used throughout the online service industry.

There are several reasons why the uses of NoSQL databases have become more prevalent across the industry. First, the recent increase in unstructured data requires financial institutions to process large volumes of data with efficiency. Financial institutions are using NoSQL databases now to also process recorded phone calls at call centers as well as posts on blogs and Social Networking Services (SNS). The ability to manage these data gives financial institutions a competitive advantage as failure to do so can decrease operational efficiency.

Additionally, revision and complexity of regulations have also pushed financial institutions to adopting NoSQL databases. For example, a regulation such as BCBS239 mandates financial institutions to manage broader scope of risk data and recommends automation of data operations which currently is done manually only using EUC and Excel.

Additional regulation, like SA-CCR (The standardised approach for measuring counterparty credit risk) or FRTB (Fundamental Review of Trading Book) impose the further enhancement of risk management, and require financial institutions to upgrade their risk management for complex financial instruments including OTC derivatives.

NoSQL databases have been able to serve as a data repository because they can collect and manage diverse data scattered across a financial institution, support to create various type of financial reports and even respond to modification or reporting requirements.

Contrary to the benefits of NoSQL for the issues mentioned above, there are challenges when NoSQL is considered to be implemented. Compared to existing relational database management system (RDBMS), there is a shortage of experienced engineers working in this field. Another challenge is that the NoSQL requires IT department to adopt a new concept in managing data, which may prove cumbersome to tailor to existing infrastructures within financial institutions. Despite these challenges, many institutions are exploring ways to utilize the benefits of NoSQL. One of the conspicuous use-case is Semantic-search of information using NoSQL.

There are always pros and cons of using new tools within an existing infrastructure. In tallying up pros and cons, data management experts and IT professionals have to take into account the flexibility, agility, and scalability of database system to adapt to the radical change in the financial regulation. NoSQL will be one of the solutions that will help financial institutions achieve operational excellence.

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