Itiviti won the best low-latency trading network category in last year’s Buy-Side Technology Awards. On the back of that success, Victor Anderson, Global Content Director at WatersTechnology speaks to Linda Middleditch, head of product strategy and engineering at Itiviti, about how the firm differentiates itself in a crowded market, the premium it places on investing in its products and people, and its partnership program, allowing it to broaden its range of services to the market.
How does Itiviti differentiate itself from other technology vendors in a highly competitive marketplace—and how is it leading the way in shaping the future of trading technology?
Linda: One of the things we do differently is the make-up of the people we hire. We have a lot of expertise—far greater, we believe, than other Linda Middleditch, Itiviti vendors. For example, we use a benchmark of a decade working at a tier one bank for hires into my team. Often, people who have built technology or have been instrumental in developing it at our client sites know it intimately and how it fits together, but also crucially how it connects into clients’ systems. That last point is not often understood or covered.
Does interoperability—especially with proprietary or legacy technologies—remain a challenge for large numbers of capital markets firms?
Linda: Yes, and we understand that there are invariably spreadsheets and manual workflows sitting to the side of legacy systems. That allows us to be more creative and innovative in the solutions we provide. Don’t get me wrong, many other technology vendors have excellent people, but they are more dependent on their clients for their information, whereas we look to develop true partnerships. That, combined with our technology, which was built as cross-asset from inception, puts us in a really strong position. I won’t go into new markets or new areas without the required knowledge and expertise on my side of the fence.
Itiviti invests heavily in its people as well as its products. But what does that mean in practical terms?
Linda: If you look at the composition and structure of many firms—particularly larger ones—you see they do not invest in their product and engineering teams [to the extent that we do]. There’s a fundamental problem with that because, if a client chooses to outsource its technology, it doesn’t want to outsource it to a firm that is stagnating. We’ll be adding another 140 resources [people] to my teams over the next three years—that’s a really important part of our model.
What is the thinking behind Itiviti’s component-based strategy, specifically the benefits of offering componentized services and products as opposed to large, monolithic platforms?
Linda: You can look across the stacks, front to back, and see these monolithic systems, and the projects to upgrade or remove them are huge on the client side. Modularity is what clients are looking for. We cover full front- and middle-office workflows across most of the asset classes, but we have to be competitive in each of those modules. They do interoperate—we have examples of our client connectivity layer being used with other platforms. I think interoperability is a really exciting area for our industry right now and it is only going to get easier. The days of large, monolithic systems are gone.
How is Itiviti looking to reinforce its existing product lines and expand into new business areas?
Linda: Last year we launched the Itiviti Platform, which pulls together all our components so we can now flexibly create solutions using all our products. They’re all cross-asset by nature: we have an excellent client connectivity layer; we have a high-touch, low-touch agency trading platform; we have certification and testing tools; and we have an automation platform, Tbricks. That allows us to be really creative in solving particular problems for our clients, much in the same way that you would use Lego bricks to build something.
Itiviti has a number of alliance partners that it relies on in areas outside its core competency. How do those partnerships work?
Linda: One of our principles is that we don’t believe we have to do everything ourselves—if it’s not our core competency, I would rather partner with another firm that lives, sleeps and breathes that area. So we’ve introduced a number of key partnerships—something we’re likely to do more of. Diginex is our cryptocurrency partner, Imandra is our artificial intelligence/machine learning partner, and Capital Market Solutions is our reg reporting partner. These partnerships allow us to put together best-in-class workflows where we’re not necessarily providing all the pieces of that flow ourselves.
What can customers expect from Itiviti for 2021?
Linda: We’ll continue building out the Itiviti Platform, and part of that will be producing shared services—some of which will be products in their own right. We already have foreign exchange execution capability, and we’ll be expanding that, as well as fixed income. We also really believe that there’s a space for the cross-asset trading platform of tomorrow, and that’s what we’re dedicated to building.
*This article was first published by WatersTechnology.
Interview: Buy-Side Technology Awards 2020
Itiviti's George Rosenberger, Head of Managed FIX Services chats to Victor Anderson, WatersTechnology's Global Content Director about Itiviti's win in the...
Control and efficiency
Linda Middleditch, Chief Product Strategy & Engineering at Itiviti speaks to Best Execution about increasing efficiency and cost...
Trading platforms benefit from cognitive diversity
Cognitive diversity is needed for technology companies to successfully navigate the substantial changes within trading desks at financial...