XBRL, the extensible business reporting language, was conceived for financial reporting.
But Altova’s CEO Alexander Falk said he’s seeing an evolution in the European Union, where banking regulators now want to see more than quarterly or monthly financials: They want to see transaction-level data to ensure that an institution is stable.
To help with the faster processing of XML and XBRL data, Altova, an XML tool company, last week announced RaptorXML, a full processing and validation server that has been optimized for parallel architectures, Falk said. The product will ship in the next few weeks, he added.
XBRL, he said, “requires a meeting of the minds of technical people and accounting people.” XML usually requires some technical knowledge, and as XBRL formulas are expressed in XML, it has been beyond the capabilities of most business people. To make it easier for businesspeople to create XBRL formulas, he said the Bank of Spain recently created a UI prototype that enables businesspeople to create formulas by pointing and clicking on cells in an interface that looks like a spreadsheet.
Since RaptorXML can process documents in parallel, Falk sees a future use for it in the realm of Big Data. “The transaction-level data views give regulators deeper insights into the stability of banks. But switch from [profit-and-loss] statements to transaction level, and XML documents quickly balloon from megabytes to gigabytes,” he said.
“Add to this the monitoring of multiple banks, and now you are very quickly in terabyte space, and the speed of validations comes into the discussion,” he continued. “Then, regulators are going to have to store the data after they validate it, and now you’re into Big Data. You might go to a Hadoop solution to store” the data and to run Map/Reduce functions against it, he said, noting that Hadoop integration with RaptorXML is something Altova is looking at.