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Saxo Bank

Enabling data democratization at a global investment bank

Saxo Bank is a world-leading provider of online trading and investment. Providing access to over 40,000 financial products and industry-leading insight, Saxo Bank has connected traders, investors and partners to global financial markets since 1992. 


The bank has long recognized the importance of using data to drive decisions and in particular, the continuous improvement of client experiences– commonly referred to as the ‘Saxo Experience’– for its more than 800,000 clients. Building on their investment in a stream-first data platform, they needed:


  • Visibility of data availability – meaning, quality and ownership
  • Trust in the provenance and quality of data


Partnering with Thoughtworks, Saxo Bank embarked on a journey to build a self-service data catalog and quality platform, Data Workbench, to enable domain teams to explore and consume data products. 


Saxo Bank wanted to adopt principles of data mesh to give data ownership to domain teams, bring transparency via product thinking and enable federated data governance. Thoughtworks performed a thorough evaluation of commercial, as well as open-source, tools to meet the Bank’s business goals. Thoughtworks integrated the chosen tools into the Saxo ecosystem and enabled data onboarding processes.


This data mesh approach eliminates avoidable dependencies and incorporates a new business glossary of unified definitions for business terms across the organization. This enables the easy search of data assets and their origins, giving users clarity, building trust and improving governance. Both Thoughtworks and Saxo Bank co-chartered the vision-driven data governance roadmap for the future.

Saxo has been on a journey towards a federated data architecture since late 2018, during which time we have leaned heavily on Thoughtworks’ leadership in the emerging space of ‘data mesh’. When it came to validating and shaping our thinking about governance of the mesh, Thoughtworks was top of our list as a consulting partner. Over the course of a 15-month engagement, the Thoughtworks team have proved themselves to be a key collaborator in not only shaping but executing on our vision.
Graham Stirling
Head of Data Platforms at Saxo Bank

Thoughtworks identified key personas, co-defined the data catalog and data quality requirements and integrated the framework. Discoverability was enabled with a comprehensive view of data assets and products. Data products and quality rules were defined in collaboration with the users.


Thoughtworks delivered a minimum viable product (MVP) for data lineage and business glossary in just 5 months, with further iterations delivered over the course of the next 6 months in close collaboration with the Saxo team. Through this initiative, apart from the much needed visibility into their data availability and trust in high quality data, the client was also able to gain brand recognition through open-source contributions to LinkedIn Datahub.

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