My Data Outlet’s mission is to make investment data easy to use. The My Data Outlet (MDO) software developer kit helps deliver a faster workflow for investment research analysts by providing users with a powerful single access point to premium investment data. Business teams, quants, and data scientists can immediately do research with their data in Snowflake without requiring DBA resources. As a Snowflake partner, we have enjoyed Snowflake support to build and market our offerings—so when we needed to improve our orchestration processes, Snowflake was the natural place to start. Here’s a look at how Snowflake’s Native Application Framework opened new opportunities for us, many of which allowed us to give MDO customers a smoother experience when it comes to accessing (and using) investment data.

Traditional database applications require orchestration of multiple stakeholders 

When connecting to MDO with traditional databases, we consider many processes to make sure our users are getting their software and data securely and quickly. Because our software accesses our clients’ data, it had not been possible to offer a hosted solution. We therefore needed detailed installation and setup instructions to allow clients to install MDO. Here is a small example of the client installation checklist: 

IT security

  • Is this software or data loader safe to use within our environment?

Server specifications

  • Can the server handle the additional load?
  • Is our version of the database supported?
  • Do we have enough disk space to support additional table indexes?

Cost discussions

  • If we set up a new server and allow access with other teams, which team is paying for this?

Looking at even this short list, you can see there are many parties involved in and influencing the decision for the end user’s ability to access investment data. This could lead to weeks if not months of internal discussions before a client could trial our software. As the software provider, we also had no visibility into whether the setup was done properly or if our users were getting the necessary software updates to receive the latest required enhancements.  

Orchestration is no longer required with Snowflake’s Native Application Framework

As an early adopter of Snowflake’s Native Application Framework, we now have the ability to develop one source of code and simply decide what code can be shared with our end users. MDO is now an application that can be shared with Snowflake clients the same way that you share a database in Snowflake. We can securely share the code without involving a client’s database, and customers can immediately use our software. This framework benefits all stakeholders by eliminating many of the previously mentioned steps.

Native applications give our end users all the benefits of a hosted solution while Snowflake takes care of security and data access. Plus, the compute occurs in the end customer’s account. With the framework, our users will not have the headaches of maintaining a traditional database architecture. Instead, this technology provides them with a turnkey hosted solution that they can securely control and easily scale. From data management to technology architecture, very few parties need to be involved, making it a more efficient experience for both the end user and the software provider. The investment data user in particular benefits tremendously from native applications because they can now develop more insights across existing and new investment data within days instead of months.

Customers using the MDO native app are realizing immediate benefits

While native apps are still in private preview, we already have multiple companies leveraging MDO’s native app. Analysts have been able to evaluate their complex financial data in Snowflake within a month and decide whether the data will add value to their processes. The only decision makers that needed to be involved in the evaluation were the end users. Additionally, the users can simply discover and purchase additional data from Snowflake Marketplace and evaluate it with the help of the simple-to-use MDO workflows (available as a native app) which expedite their entire research process. The common theme for all clients is that they can focus their time on improving existing products without any technical constraints.  

In the year ahead, we look forward to having many new content sets integrated for clients where we can make code available in their environment immediately rather than requiring a new install process. We will also onboard many new content sets as we leverage our partnerships to help data vendors showcase their data with simple-to-use workflows. And we’re excited to continue leveraging Snowflake’s Native Application Framework to develop additional product features that help our clients better use their investment data throughout their investment research process.