Following on in our series of thought sharing on the Electronification of Markets and now more specifically the working from home aspect, we take a look at how technology can help when you are in a team even though you are in fact isolated in your home office.
Missing the interaction in the office is a challenge, no one would deny it. Yes, there are many lifestyle improvements in home working, the commute alone is a complete waste of people’s time however, human interaction is what we crave at times, even for a recluse like me!
Many successes and even new businesses are born out of people brainstorming together and challenging each other’s ideas. Many negotiation outcomes are not from individuals but teams of people on both sides contributing to a satisfactory outcome.
How do you maintain that level or scrutiny when it is just you and the dog? (other domestic pets are available). How can you assist your colleague on a deal when he is interacting with other market participants on an isolated Chat window? At what point do colleagues see the deal, or even the aspects of the deal before it is struck? Are you doing this on three screens with email, chat and 3 other systems open? Are you becoming the cut and paste wizard you never wanted to be?
Far too many questions and I apologise for that but, we all thought we would be back in the swing of things by now, back in the old routine with the support around us that made life bearable. Our own bubble if you like, with familiar faces and skill sets we respect and feed off.
So, let us be positive here, we know the problem but what is the solution? I personally can only speak from my experience and with OTCX like many of you, we use Microsoft Teams for meetings, impromptu calls, check on a colleague, message an idea etc. Other people may use Zoom or Webex. We also talk to customers and prospects to show our solutions to a willing audience over these now very familiar technologies.
But what about the trading room? I cannot ask 5 Banks to join myself and my colleague on a Zoom call to get a price in a Swaption. Some Banks are not even allowed to join external Zoom or Teams meetings. Imagine the errors which would now include missed trades stating, “Sorry I was on mute”. Even the UK Government with its self-proclaimed “world beating” test and trace system is managing (in some cases mismanaging) the data in Excel.
Again, I can only talk about my experience and in this case proxy experience as it is our customers who give the feedback. So, in the interest of sharing is caring, I will allow the reader some insight into their world and this for them is very important indeed.
It is crucial for technology used at home to be collaborative with team members in their respective homes or even the guy who has had to go into the office that day as the team rotates. If remote members of a team can share a blotter, see all the negotiation process with “Makers” be transparent within their own bubble then the technology has created a virtual dealing room. You cannot do that with Chat, or indeed some incumbent execution platforms that need an upgrade to work in this new normal. An upgrade that is not going to happen.
Look for the features and functions that fit today’s world and probably tomorrow’s world too. There is a myriad of solutions that all do similar things so, whether it is EMS/OMS or PMS, Middle Office or Back Office, a choice must be made that makes sure your home working is not at a disadvantage. The workflows of yesterday are not going to fit the workflows of today and we are not going back to yesterday ever again.