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Becca Lipman
Becca Lipman
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OptionsCity To Launch Customizable Trading Experience

The Metro Now platform breaks tools down into downloadable build or buy widgets for faster deployment and a more customized trading style.

OptionsCity Software, a global provider of electronic trading solutions for futures and options traders, announced their next generation software, Metro NOW, available early 2015. "Custom widgets and layouts" and "app stores" are a central part of this announcement, empowering users to construct their own experience.

How important is the customized user experience to the next generation of traders? Consider a generation of Apple customers, drag and droppers, accustomed to tailoring their phone screen and workspace to their preferred view of application. Today, an increasing number of financial software providers are emphasizing crafting unique workstations, helping financial professionals build their customizable view of the market.

CEO Hazem Dawani adds that from a development perspective, there's great value in giving trading firms the option to choose between a library of pre-built widgets and apps, and the ability to build and snap in their own custom tools. The balance between build and buy, he says, helps customers types from market makers to institutional traders address their unique trading problems and not be locked into a one-size-fits-all platform.

"Being able to delver software relevant to each group and marginalize them for a more customized experience, that will streamline their workflow." he says. "We've seen this as a challenge for vendors and in-house software developers, as they tend to become very bloated with their own applications. Those tools and widgets become difficult to use and update over the years, so they become crowded with features. We are going the opposite way, a broken down approach."

Marginalize for delivery time -- a hidden benefit
One of the greatest benefits of this app breakdown is to be able to quickly go to market and reduce the overall cost of product launches.  Dawani explains the delivery of software in the financial industry is challenging because the landscape is constantly evolving, requiring software vendors and firms that build in-house systems to be constantly going through cycles of development, testing code changes, integration, and deployment.

By sandboxing widgets, OptionsCity is able to make changes and test them in a contained manner and update them in a web downloadable platform for quick delivery. He says this approach takes the whole testing and development cycle from several weeks and months to a couple of days. "Changes are contained in a few hundred lines of code instead of thousands, testing is faster and deployment is instant." He adds that this new broken-down approach enables team to make changes intra-day without having to update the entire platform. "Before there was pre-scheduling updates when the market is closed, and testing when market is open."

As the trading environment evolves, opportunities come quickly and slip away just as fast. "Trading firms need to adjust their trading strategy to take advantage of short periods of liquidity," says Dawani. "It's causing all the things we're talking about today to be relevant."

Becca Lipman is Senior Editor for Wall Street & Technology. She writes in-depth news articles with a focus on big data and compliance in the capital markets. She regularly meets with information technology leaders and innovators and writes about cloud computing, datacenters, ... View Full Bio
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