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Successful Implementations Depend on Superior Documentation
By Lois Patterson | December 17, 2015

The straightforward design of most smart phones today means that nearly anyone can pick one up and begin using it. Most people do not require a manual for common actions such as placing calls or texting. For slightly more complicated tasks like, for example, setting up an email account on your mobile, often friends or colleagues can provide guidance, as can a quick Google search.

However, developing applications for this same smart phone presents you with a whole different set of needs. That is, no one picks up a mobile device and instantly knows how to develop applications for it. That information has to be documented somewhere. As a developer, you will likely need documentation that explains various details of the hardware and software interfaces you are working with. You will also benefit from viewing sample code and applications. You might also look for good books on software engineering, and search both Google and Stack Overflow for instruction.

Whether you are engineering an app for mobile devices, or building out a credit value adjustment (CVA) service for your clients, your needs for thorough documentation are the same. For any developer, comprehensive documentation provides key operational information that can be a critical part of ensuring project success and a quick turnaround in bringing services to market.

Financial firms that are specifically looking to develop new valuation or risk services should seek out a robust analytics platform with a software development kit that comes with a strong level of documentation. The solution itself should be based on generic architecture and have full support for both end-users, and those who develop for it. Some key documentation and usability considerations are as follows:

  • Ease of Use: A risk and analytics solution that can help simplify the process of creating, obtaining, and valuing trades should be a top consideration. A toolkit capable of giving you guidance for entering input values in a function will accelerate your workflow. Model components and curve definitions will enable easier and faster model building, helping you speed up the delivery of new applications.
  • Sophisticated Diagnostics: Often the process of identifying problems with models can be arduous and time-intensive for quants whose time is already stretched thin. However, sophisticated diagnostic tools can make troubleshooting models easier. With this approach, you can take your existing knowledge of trades and models, and put it to work quickly. Robust troubleshooting should enable you to visualize curves and check them against the market. It should also give you tools to rapidly identify and resolve model errors.
  • Advanced Search: If you are charged with developing applications, you need quick access to information about the APIs and functions. You will also require detail about mathematical models and valuation specifications. Therefore, an analytics solution providing easy access to all this information through an intuitive navigation or search tool will be important. Consider a solution that allows you to quickly obtain detail about the functions you are using, with helpful features such as embedded user assistance and enhanced Web-based documentation. Furthermore, a search function within the product documentation itself can make it faster to get answers to pressing development questions.
  • Clean Documentation Presentation: As a developer, it can be incredibly frustrating when having difficulty tracking down the information you need impacts the project delivery date. Often this is the result of poorly presented or inadequate documentation. The remedy to this is to use a robust risk and analytics solution where documentation has been a priority. A sophisticated solution will offer a clean look and feel to its documentation, making it easier for you to find fast answers to pressing questions. A responsive design will also be easier –and more enjoyable –to work with.  

As a leading provider of valuation and risk analytics to sophisticated developers and end-users at asset managers, hedge funds, insurers and banks, FINCAD recognizes the importance of clear and comprehensive documentation. That’s why we have incorporated the documentation characteristics listed above into our valuation and risk solutions. And since many of our clients use a combination of various products in their workflow, we have enabled them to conveniently view all documentation in a single location.

Learn more about how the FINCAD F3 Platform supports firms in the rapid delivery of powerful analytics services to their own customers. Read the case study here: Frame Financial Systems