financial workflows data descriptor: IDEM

In the process of data cleansing at a client's site, we identified a specific requirement that had not been addressed despite daily issues in manual processing steps. We failed to notice this at first too.

Our expectation was that after completing the planned consolidation of counterpart records, significant improvement in speed of processing errors and issues would be evident. Yet we discovered that improvement was noticeable, but not to the expected levels. Further analysis revealed the need for an identifier that could be fairly easily understood and mapped by humans to target counterpart records.

We proposed and implemented a flexible concept around the importance of human usable mnemonics. The net effect became soon apparent as manual processing of counterparts were significantly faster than before. Flexible concept means that definition is independent of the firm's internal representation of a counterpart.

Taking it further, an easy-to-understand mnemonic in global use would bring everyone involved on the same page. This is what FW's IDEM* is about.

the wheel is not re-invented and it is not revolutionary anymore, but it's new use and the concept behind it are!

The IDEM aims at being an easy-to-remember mnemonic for quick, unambiguous human interpretation. IT systems may not need it as much as they can do with other unique internal identifiers just as well. Nevertheless, humans benefit from IDEM each time they interact or intervene within automated processes and workflows. Despite automation and electronic data processing, human intervention is a constituent part in workflows and in one or more processing nodes. Interaction is also required to resolve issues. At this point human disambiguation slows down the process, often substantially.

Note that the end interpretation and usage of data is usually not where IDEM would unfold its benefit.


Consider a firm's reports that already hold resolved counterpart names in full description. If this report is the final stop of data interpretation then it perfectly matches the requirements of, say, the board. But if there was a report to be used as an extract for manual data entry into another system or for some other manual processing then a human-friendly mapping is most required, otherwise it becomes difficult to associate and perform the tasks efficiently. This is precisely where the simple layer of IDEM is a key and essential concept to make life easier, much easier!

* for the purists, idem in ancient Sanskrit language means "item of information at hand"