Platform innovation is all about user experience! Chicago’s institutional leaders go innovative on ergonomics

The conundrum which faces most retail FX brokers and their associated technology providers alike is how to continue to engage ever more discerning customers. Lengthy discussions and the use of tremendous cognitive resources have gone into this over the course of the last few years, as the competition in the retail FX industry continues to […]

Platform innovation is all about user experience

The conundrum which faces most retail FX brokers and their associated technology providers alike is how to continue to engage ever more discerning customers.

Lengthy discussions and the use of tremendous cognitive resources have gone into this over the course of the last few years, as the competition in the retail FX industry continues to increase, and the cost of acquisition and retention is at an all time high.

It may cost between $1,000 and $1,200 for a retail FX firm to gain a new client, however with so many similar products from similar brokerages using similar platforms at the fingertips of an ever more astute retail customer, maintaining a long client lifespan is as perplexing as the effort that goes into attracting their custom in the first place.

The importance of providing a high quality user experience is one of the key considerations in this industry, yet other technology-led retail businesses such as e-commerce, or smartphone technology provision and how the latest app is marketed, have very high takeup rates and almost viral acceptance within a very short time.

This is because there is very little evidence of the ‘me too’ approach in many internet-based businesses, however in the traditionally infrastructure-heavy electronic trading business, reluctance to make radical changes has created an expensive and resource hungry modus operandi for those vying for a piece of the retail pie.

Last week, at the FinTech Exchange 2016 event hosted by Barchart in Chicago, Illinois, those at the cutting edge of the industry, and are accustomed to serving the most discerning among end users – the professional algorithmic traders and HFT companies as well as the numerous proprietary trading entities that proliferate the Windy City and whose businesses rely on absolutely refined interaction with their providers through very advanced platforms, detailed how ergonomics is all, and in some cases, how complete redesigns of platforms are necessary in order to embrace the future of electronic trading.

Presenting this to a number of astute executives, the FinTech Exchange event provided leaders of technology a 10 minute slot per company within which a look forward into how the institutional platforms will look in future, as well as how they intend to attract retail customers.

In the appropriately named Lightning Round presentations, reinventions, Brian Mehta, CMO at Trading Technologies addressed the delegates by taking a look at the changes that the company had to make in order to fully modernize and look toward the next two decades. “I remember back to the evolution of the mobile phone from flip phones to smart phones. During time that I saw this pattern of change, I realized that this was inevitable change. It was innovation, growth, and reinvention.”

“Now, I had a first hand experience in witnessing the activities beyond change and the challenges associated with this pattern of change” he said.

“Three years ago I was introduced to Trading Technologies. I was really intrigued by its history in the trading indostry but more so I was interested in the opportunity to be a part of the company’s story of change” said Mr. Mehta.

“At that time, Trading Technologies was faced with a very important decision, which was whether to invest in its existing platform which was, although a market leader, a 20 year old legacy platform, or to re-engineer, however you need to change things in order to be totally able to move with the times and build new platforms which will provide the basis for the next 20 years” – Brian Mehta, CMO, Trading Technologies.

Mr. Mehta explained the company’s redesign of its platform from the ground up. “We chose change, and as a result we chose to act like a startup.” He then posed the question “So, how do you get a 20 year old legacy company which was traditionally very successful and established, acting like a startup?”

“We begin with 3 things” revealed Mr. Mehta. “Those are craft, communication and culture. These are the drivers that serve to truly differentiate our service with our customers and hopefully will drive sustainable growth.”

“For several years we just dealt with incremental updates. So, what we really needed to do was to get back to innovating, and we had to look to our customers and end users to understand what they needed to really drive our new platform” said Mr. Mehta.

“We completely made them our business, and from the ground up built a new platform. What we did was to go from an installed software platform and moved to SaaS delivery model with 100 cloud infrastructure.”

Mr. Mehta explained “This allows us to be more flexible to address customer needs. It provides faster software updates, a more refined view and features and functionality and greater mobility. We also changed our workflows and the way that we operate. We made sure that we were able to streamline our workflows.”

Brian Mehta talks to Andrew Saks-McLeod about the next generation TT platform

First you need to stay ahead by being user-centric. Set your vision, and if it is not user-centric you have leadership” said Mr. Mehta.

“This is my favorite aspect – communication. Communication is more than advertising and keynote. Communication is about being transparent. Communication is about sharing information so that you can get your organization online” – Brian Mehta, CMO, Trading Technologies.

“Now, at Trading Technologies we had alot of things going on at the same time. We were trying to change the product, get new leadership, change the departmetns, get new offices and it was very difficult. It is easier to redesign operations for startups, as there are fewer employees, less offices, sometimes everyone works in the same offices. We had 13 offices in 5 continents” he concluded.


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