Trading Technologies Microsoft Dynamics AX Case Study
Trading Technologies International, Inc. (TT), is a leading global provider of derivatives trading software and execution solutions for professional traders. Headquartered in Chicago, the capital city of the global futures markets, Trading Technologies employs hundreds of people in their offices worldwide, including in New York, Stamford, Houston, São Paulo, London, Geneva, Frankfurt, Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Sydney. Trading Technologies distributes its software and solutions to end users through more than 100 firms, including 19 of the top 20 U.S. futures brokers, and are proud to have the world’s premier investment banks, brokers, Futures Commission Merchants (FCMs), hedge funds, proprietary trading firms and other trading institutions as customers. Nearly 15,000 products are tradable across numerous product types via TT’s platform – including futures, options on futures, fixed income products, and cleared and OTC energies.
Since 1994, Trading Technologies International, Inc. (TT) has been at the forefront of electronic trading and is one of the most successful futures trading software and solutions companies in the world. With operations in 11 offices across 9 different countries, Trading Technologies has experienced positive growth over the past 10 years and continues to expand its global footprint.
In 2010, Trading Technologies identified their disparate legacy business systems as impediments to sustained performance. Executives decided to lead the company into a period of transformation that would align the company’s people, processes, and technology investments more closely together, globally, to achieve more efficient and effective processes, and to gain information insight advantages.
“It became apparent that our old IT platform did not have the functional capability, scalability, or data visibility we needed to maintain aggressive, profitable growth for the company,” notes Roger Mills, Executive Vice President of Finance at Trading Technologies. “We were dealing with multiple systems that were not integrated across global entities. Many processes were being done in spreadsheets, including corporate consolidation. And we lacked the ability to perform robust analytics and reporting on real-time data, which slowed down corporate decision making.”
Trading Technologies recognized the need for a single, enterprise-wide business management system designed to manage the complexities of a global organization by consolidating and standardizing processes and providing visibility across the enterprise. Executives also prioritized the need for a comprehensive, real-time view of the entire organization for financial reporting and quicker, more informed decision making.
“On our old platform, information was very basic and not deep. When you wanted to do any analytics, every question or request turned into a ‘mini project’. And sometimes they were not so ‘mini’,” comments Mills. “We had a real need to streamline many of our processes (with an emphasis on automating as much as possible) and bring more information to our fingertips.”
Trading Technologies began their ERP search that year in an effort to adopt a scalable and supportable business system that would enable high growth and global expansion. After evaluating multiple ERP packages and software vendors, the company chose Microsoft Dynamics AX over Oracle because the underlying Microsoft technology would fit with their existing systems, be more familiar to use, easier to deploy, and less costly to sustain and manage. Furthermore, with Merit Solutions leading the implementation project, TT executives knew they had a trusted partner who could deliver both their ERP and process transformation projects.
Merit Solutions worked with Trading Technologies to explore the benefits of Microsoft Dynamics AX and how it could be used most effectively to meet the transformational goals of the company. Prior to implementation, Merit Solutions collaborated with TT’s IT team and created a systems blueprint, design, and implementation roadmap that would align Trading Technologies’ IT investments with their organizational strategies and goals.
“Through our due diligence process, we met Merit Solutions,” said Mills. “Merit took the time to work through the needs of our business and understand the goals of the company. They had a strong implementation road map which included process maps, prototypes, and proof of concept designs. Merit Solutions customers can feel confident they are getting individualized, detailed plans regarding their exact implementation process.”
Trading Technologies then worked with a team of highly skilled and qualified consultants and engineers from Merit Solutions to replace their legacy systems with Microsoft Dynamics AX, a fully integrated ERP system. Microsoft Dynamics AX has helped TT improve the accuracy of the information upon which decisions are based because each module of the software is tied together and information flows freely among them, regardless of location. All employees now have access to the information they need to make the right decisions at the right time – and drive business success across the organization.
“We wanted to invest in a platform that was growing in its functionality and we saw that Microsoft was making huge investments into Dynamics AX rendering it as a premier ERP solution for businesses of all sizes,” notes Mills. “We have thoroughly enjoyed the integrated platform functionality provided by Microsoft Dynamics AX. We now have access to real time analytics, FX conversions for foreign entities, and consolidations within the system as opposed to Excel consolidations. Workflows for A/P have given us real-time visibility into invoices/approvals and what the status of each is; we no longer have invoices sitting on someone’s desk waiting approval. And connections to our bank means cash flow accuracy.”
In addition to implementing a new ERP system, Trading Technologies also worked with Merit Solutions to optimize business processes and establish a foundation for a successful business transformation. With a clear understanding of how TT’s business processes could align with the people and technology solutions that support them, Merit Solutions was able to identify opportunities to streamline processes, reduce waste, and automate manual, redundant, or critical business procedures. These optimized processes have enabled Trading Technologies to increase efficiency and productivity, improve speed and agility, and maximize profitability.
Trading Technologies’ goal of using a familiar, integrated ERP solution to drive business transformation is now a distinct reality. Since its implementation of Microsoft Dynamics AX and the underlying business process improvements, the company has seen the following benefits: improved access to data, more informed decisions, reduced time to close, increased efficiency and productivity, support for growth and global expansion, and better service to clients.