You Have Questions? We’ve Got Answers

A Q&A with Eric Pearl

Eric Pearl is the Director of Platform Marketplace and Consulting at Imagine. We sat down to ask him a few questions about the Excel Add-in.

Hey Eric, first, can you give some background on what Imagine Apps are?

An Imagine App is our name for a small JavaScript program that provides access to the rich universe of Imagine data and analytics. These Imagine Apps are made with standard JavaScript that access modules allowing you to access your positions, query current and historical data related to those positions, utilize Imagine’s curves, create analytic functions, run risk tools, and more. We do not run the JavaScript inside a browser – it runs in a process on our servers, and has API access to our business logic and persistent store. You can learn more about our JavaScript API here.

So is the Excel Add-in an App?

No, our add-in is built incorporating two separate pieces of technology; Imagine Apps and Imagine’s REST API.  Imagine’s REST web services provides a standard web service interface to Imagine Apps. And, remember, the apps are just JavaScript. You can learn more about Web Services here, and Imagine’s REST web service here.  Our web service uses the language-independent data format JSON for passing and returning data. So what happens is that our add-in does a translation of inputs to JSON for the REST call, and translates the JSON results back out to a cell (or range of cells).  The bottom line is this—the IFP Excel Add-in seamlessly integrates Imagine with Excel.

Can you give us an example of how it works?

Sure! Our add-in provides an Excel UDF (User Defined Functions) named IMAGINE() which can be used like other Excel functions like AVERAGE() or SUM(). Below is a screenshot showing how to use IMAGINE() in a formula to invoke an Imagine App named myApp. (We also demonstrate this in our demo located here).

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The IMAGINE() formula passes the user’s input (the contents of A1 and B1) to the function with the exported name getVolSurface in the Imagine App myApp. Naturally, inputs and outputs can include Excel cell ranges as well.

In addition to the IMAGINE() UDF, we also provide IMAGINE.VBA(), which is easier when you are writing macros or VBA. See our demo for an example of how this works.

Where can I get the App? What if I want to write my own App?

Want to write your own App? Great, more details on the process are included for you  here.  Rather have Imagine Consulting write the App for you? The Imagine Consulting team can do that—contact us at consulting@imagine-sw.com.

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About the Author
Eric Pearl was an early employee at Imagine Software and has been developing risk and portfolio systems for over twenty years. In 2000, he helped launch the industry’s first and leading SaaS solution and in 2012, he launched Imagine’s Platform Marketplace. He is currently a Director in Imagine’s Consulting organization, and wants to help you use technology to do better and easier risk and portfolio management.

Eric can be contacted by email or phone: 212-317-7639

Case in Point: The IFP Excel Add-in

Efficiency

Our client, a large asset manager, found the uploading of numerous OTC trades throughout the day too time-consuming. Their front office had to switch focus from the business they knew to becoming technology experts, which forced them to place heavy demands on their support team. The front office staff were not seeing positions flow into their portfolios in a timely manner, which could leave them exposed and affect trading decisions.

The IFP Excel Add-in now allows the front office to quickly enter OTC trades into Imagine and focus on managing risk while also freeing up our client’s internal resources. Also, having the front office staff manage trade uploads, instead of their IT department, reduced the possibility for error since they are more versed with changing security types and markets—they understand the business.

Flat Learning Curve

Another service we provided for our client was to deliver a set of customized spreadsheets that replicated the tools and applications they have used in the past–tools they know inside and out. Our IFP Excel Add-in customization services dramatically reduced any downtime associated with learning a new application as well as the demand placed on their internal support teams when transitioning from one system to another. Now they had screens that mimicked what their screens have always looked like—which allowed for an almost seamless transition.

With all their Imagine information now viewable in Excel, our client could easily leverage Imagine’s data with Excel functionality for reporting, analyzing, and third-party reconciliation.

Targeted and Focused

We took the robust Imagine system and excised the market data and risk management information that they wanted to see in the form they already recognized. And now they are viewing and working with it in Excel—a powerful program that enables them to easily focus on their expertise, the business of trading.

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About the Author

James Andrecovich is the Head of Consulting, Americas, for Imagine Software. James’ focus has been on implementation of new clients as well as consulting engagements for some of Imagine’s largest global macro clients. James has been integral in the testing and implementation of Bloomberg pricing and continues to advise on enhancements to Imagine Trading System for optimum client user experience.

James holds a Masters in Mathematical Finance from Rutgers University. James can be contacted by email or phone: 646-827-4479

Imagine & Excel™ : Enhanced Power Without the Learning Curve

Should you use the IFP Excel Add-In?

You already know Imagine Software is the award-winning and leading provider of real-time portfolio management and risk and regulatory solutions for financial firms worldwide. And on nearly every desktop is the powerful Microsoft Excel—arguably the optimum application for data analysis with an unmatched ability to visually organize data in charts or graphs and easily view trends and patterns.
Now you can combine two powerhouses – Imagine and Excel – and the resulting possibilities are nearly endless.

  • Do you want to streamline your business processes and perform the same functions as I/O Services but with a simplified process and in one file?
  • Do you want to leverage your Excel expertise and easily import real time Imagine data, access data/price feeds, calculate Greeks and run risk/stress analysis?

What exactly does the Excel Add-in do?
The options range from simple standalone functions you can type into a cell – like a standard formula – to custom spreadsheets and apps developed for you by the Imagine consulting team that rely on IFP Apps, enabling you to easily:

  • download position or pricing information from Imagine
  • manipulate and/or graph derived data within a few moments
  • incorporate proprietary data and update Imagine with the click of a button

The IFP Excel Add-in is fast, powerful, and configurable. Use your current apps, apps available on the marketplace, or contact us to create a custom app or spreadsheet specific to your workflow process and needs. Watch our demo to get an idea of what’s possible with the Excel Add-in.

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About the Author

Brian DeLuca provides quantitative support, implementation of new clients, and has built numerous applications in JavaScript using Imagine’s IFP engine. Involved since the initial phases of IFP, Brian spearheaded training internally and externally for the Imagine Financial Platform. Brian also assisted in the development of the IFP Excel Add-In.

Brian holds a Masters in Quantitative Finance from Rutgers University. Brian can be contacted by email or phone: 646-827-4418