Implementing low latency infrastructure in a global financial market

Technology rich change programmes must be aligned with business users

Today’s competitive landscape is driving demand for many organisations to have highly resilient, cost competitive, low latency data networks, particularly for organisations in the financial services sector. In fact, getting data to the desktop or to an automated trading system, as fast as possible, is absolutely key to survival. Modern automated trading drives demand for predictable, accurate, real-time information and the need for low latency and super-fast networks. But in the race to implement the investment, architecture and processes needed to get these networks rolled-out quickly, there is a real danger that organisations will underestimate the scale of change required.

Key considerations that must be diligently assessed include a thorough understanding of the requirements of the content being delivered, and the performance of the internal WAN or LAN. Due regard must also be paid to the technical and commercial aspects of the supply-side infrastructure over which content is being sources and carried, as well as a deep understanding and assessment of the sheer number of technical options and configurations that could be implemented. Otherwise costs can, and in our experience will, quickly escalate out of control.

It’s critical to ensure that the implementation of a new network capability is rounded and that all aspects are taken into consideration. It requires not just technical but also commercial, process and organisational changes to get it right. For instance, the communications chain from market data exchange to user may involve a number of parties – the exchange itself, the telecoms and co-location hosting providers and internal IT or network operations. Any implementation strategy must take all of these elements into account and bring them together in a coherent programme environment which delivers the right solution quickly, is easy to deploy, support and maintain and is economically competitive.

And before you get going, it’s also necessary to assess your organisation’s readiness for the change that’s about to come. Some key questions here are:

  • Is there a fully costed business case with a clear benefits realisation plan?
  • Do stakeholders have a common understanding of their roles and responsibilities?
  • Are they properly engaged and aligned with the programme’s vision and objectives?
  • Do they feel accountable?
  • Do you have the leadership in place to drive programme delivery and retain stakeholder confidence?
  • Do you have a realistic plan that brings all parties together with a clear direction of travel from vision to delivery?

In other words, although these programmes are technology rich they have an impact right across the business and they must be approached, led and managed as change programmes in order to achieve the desired outcomes.

Remaining centre stage

One particular example is a multi-billion-dollar, Global Financial Service Data Provider that knew it needed to improve service delivery to its customers whilst significantly reducing its costs. In short it had to transform its global network communications infrastructure in order to remain a market leading provider of low latency financial market data.

The programme of work included a switch from managing a fully outsourced network operation to building a next generation, internal network communications capability. At the time, it was developing new market data solutions for its clients, so the ability to deliver this over a new, super-fast network infrastructure would put the organisation in a much stronger position to compete on the global stage. However, this was an extremely difficult programme to initiate as there were a number of different client business units involved and a multitude of complex interdependencies. We helped the client shape the programme and engage the business units in the right way to ensure they were aligned with the overall vision and objectives and ready to undertake the change. We then worked with them to build out the first major hubs in New York, London and Tokyo, and developed an implementation blueprint that they could use to manage the roll-out to other global locations.

Making change happen

Our capability and experience means that we are able to provide all the change management aspects required for the success of your network communications transformation: from ensuring controlled and clear programme definition and initiation through the management and control of the technical, commercial, people, process and organisational change needed, to the delivery of business outcomes. We will help you to strike the right balance between resilience, affordability, value and return, enabling every last millisecond to be squeezed out of your infrastructure so that you can deliver the return on investment expected and maintain your competitive advantage.

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