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Helping clients boost revenue and performance by optimising the desktop user experience

Better workflows that unify disparate systems can allow traders to gather new insights and move faster, according to experts speaking at a recent webinar hosted by TradingTech Insight.

Traders typically work across multiple monitors running several applications to analyse complex data. But there’s a hidden price to pay.

“In a trading world, when you have to make a really quick decision – especially unfortunately in the last couple of weeks – you don't want to have to look on monitor one to see one thing and monitor five to see something else,” said Scott Besner, Senior Director, Desktop Product Management at ICE.

“You want to be looking in one place and that data is brought right to you. Modernizing the UI or the UX really helps with that.”

While individual applications solve unique problems, the result is fragmented workflows that slow down traders’ ability to execute and generate alpha. A user poll during the webinar found an improved UX was rated as the most important capability in a desktop platform.

What are the most important capabilities of a modern desktop platform at your organisation? (multi answers)

It was suggested during the webinar that the industry needed a process framework to loosely reunify those applications while still allowing room for them to be upgraded or replaced.

The benefits are tangible. One company said it worked with a customer to shave its RFQ response time on the sell side from 45 seconds to 30 seconds. It also helped a buy side fixed income desk cut the time it took to complete a certain money market trade from 10-to-15 minutes to under one minute.

Yet an audience poll during the panel session found that one-quarter of respondents had not started modernizing their desktop environment.

To what extend has your trading organisation modernised its desktop environment?

Their biggest challenge remains dealing with legacy systems (61%) and general technical complexity (50%).

What are the challenges of reviewing and renewing the desktop environment at your organisation? (multi answer)

However, it was commented that most software vendors have become more flexible in terms of the work they do. Meanwhile, one-time competitors are now creating interoperable systems.

It was noted that certain desktop integration platforms can bind together applications (in terms of data context and UI) regardless of the underlying technical implementation. This allows organisations to create a bridge between legacy and future states.

Another observation was that banks, exchanges, and vendors have recently made the most progress developing artificial intelligence (AI) driven solutions compared to asset managers and hedge funds.

This can ultimately help broker dealers provide better services to their customers while avoiding significant upfront AI costs given their current fee pressures. The AI trend is also driving new hires with physics, statistics and data science backgrounds rather than finance.

Panellists suggested several ways trading organizations could effectively modernize their desktop platforms:

  • Understand the user’s exact problem they need solved and ensure that the desktop becomes ingrained as part of their daily workflow.
  • Don’t try to solve every problem at once – start small by focusing on an area that has a real demonstrable business impact. Create a small focus group and improve their workflow – they can become advocates within the organization.
  • Incorporate cloud computing, big data and AI into your workflow to ensure your organization remains competitive.
  • Take a creative approach to how data can be visualized.
  • Choose a vendor offering innovative technology but is still flexible and can grow with your users’ changing needs.