Chris Isaacson, EVP & Global CIO, BATS Global Markets
The benefits of cloud computing for the capital markets sector are the same as for other industries, largely the ubiquity of data availability at scale and minimal cost to all constituents. We use it for some internal and external functions involving HR, sales and our boards.
Adopting Big Data Strategies
Most firms in the trading space actually have a big data strategy, although it’s likely a hybrid in internally focused due to security concerns. Particularly, those which are consumer-driven such as retail brokers and automated financial advisors. They are built on big data and are becoming m o r e geared to the individual investor instead of the accredited investor by providing more powerful tools depending on big data to the average individual investor.
Technologies for Stock Exchanges
In the exchange space, we follow many of the same processes as high-performance computing companies, given the performance our customers require but our industry is forced by regulation and competition to do it with more stringent reliability standards than some others. Over the years, we believe BATS has been innovative, while providing the fairest and most resilient technology. Recent examples include the seamless technical integration of Direct Edge to provide one common interface to four exchanges, and our new BXTR trade reporting business in Europe that is now the largest in the region, all with 99.99 percent uptime across all our global exchanges in 2014.
Customer Relationship Management
We’ve got a history of innovation in CRM as well. A good example would be what we’ve done in creating the BATS customer portal. It’s free of charge and enables clients to analyze their trading on any BATS exchange, the performance of theirs and our technology at a very granular level, and enables them to manage their risk controls across our exchanges. With data and tooling, we’ve empowered the customer to be in control.
Changes in terms of Prevailing Market Conditions
As a founding employee, growing from 13 people at inception to close to 250 today obviously changes the role, especially when we’ve completed two major M&A transactions (Chi-X Europe, Direct Edge) to make BATS the largest stock exchange group in the world on any given day. We are also currently in the process of completing a third major acquisition (Hotspot FX). We’d had to scale not just the technology, but the processes and team to remain agile, competitive, and ultra-responsive to customers. This has been a real challenge. The one constant is that technology drives each of our businesses which are fully electronic so it’s paramount to hire and retain a worldclass team, empower them, enable them with the proper resources, and trust them to execute. I’m pleased we’ve been able to grow leaders within the organization while we’ve constantly added talent to our great team. I’m very blessed to work with the team at BATS which remains extremely entrepreneurial, true to our roots. Don’t be afraid of failure. CIOs are naturally extremely risk-averse. Set extremely challenging, yet achievable, goals and give your team latitude to fail in a graceful way so learning and improvement is rapid. You have to care for people, respect them and treat them right. The bottom line is that people and organizations need to have latitude to run fast and fail and learn in order to grow quickly and truly innovate. This is extremely hard to do, especially in a highly regulated market, but it is possible with the right team. Businesses and the technology that drives them are only as good as the people that build and run them.