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TEKsystems was engaged to manage the client’s multi-year development program to move from a C++ platform to a Java environment.

The client is a leading equity derivatives clearing organization and serves more than 100 broker-dealers, U.S. futures commission merchants and foreign securities firms. The client cleared nearly five billion contracts in the last year.
Java, EXTJS, Jasper, Windows C++, UNIX C++

The financial crisis of 2007 and the subsequent market volatility over the last several years have significantly impacted the investment banking and capital markets industry. This unprecedented event changed not only the landscape of the market participants but also left most wondering if Wall Street can recover. Forced mergers, government bailouts and the collapse of iconic financial industry players have changed the face of the global financial markets forever.

While there were numerous factors contributing to the financial crisis, industry analysts point primarily at Wall Street and the increasing complexity of financial derivative products. The lack of transparency and regulation surrounding the trading of these risky financial products led to a massive shortage of liquidity in the global markets, as market-wide margin calls brought the entire financial system to a halt. As Wall Street recovers, regulators play a dominant role in the cleanup of the global financial markets.

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, introduced in 2009, proposed new regulations to improve accountability, reduce risk and limit the power wielded by the investment banks and alternative investment participants. This legislation caused ripple effects of change throughout the financial industry and placed significant responsibility on clearing corporations to help solve the issues surrounding over-the-counter (OTC) traded financial products. A clearinghouse handles the clearing and settlement of securities transactions between two clearing firms by reducing settlement risk of the parties failing to meet the trade obligation. Dodd Frank created a long list of business and IT changes for the clearing industry, with tight timelines that have put significant pressure on a very limited amount of industry knowledgeable resources. 

Our client, a leading equity derivatives clearinghouse, approached TEKsystems to assist them with a multi-year effort to upgrade their risk management system. The large-scale initiative will transition existing pricing and theoretical applications from a Windows-based infrastructure into a new Java-based framework. The goal of the consolidation of these applications will be to increase overall performance and enhance our client’s pricing model algorithms.

The client had a limited number of IT employees on staff and had already moved experienced staff from other projects to support the new initiative. Additional resources were needed, but the client struggled to find a provider who could scale a team efficiently to meet the project’s demands during peak times while ensuring the client had the opportunity to convert key resources to full-time employees or off-board between phases to help control costs.  Due to the highly specialized nature of their business, the client wanted to retain control of the effort but rely on a partner to provide an organized resource delivery model capable of handling this effort.  Additional client challenges included:

Sourcing, screening and onboarding
The client operates in a niche area of the financial services industry and requires professionals with niche skills and qualifications. Employees must have a background in options and futures and have experience with the client’s technologies.

Co-employment
Once employees were hired, the client was cognizant of co-employment and the challenges it can bring to companies in retaining resources for an extended period of time.

Scalability
The client needed a partner who could handle the variability in the requirements of each location. The team had to be able to ramp up and address ‘burst capacity’ as required by the client’s project.

Proven methodology
The client valued a provider with successful past performance, industry and local market expertise and a record of delivery excellence.

TEKsystems proposed a managed services engagement model to provide resource selection, hiring and onboarding, resource management and engagement management. TEKsystems was selected due to our local market presence in the Fort Worth, Texas and Chicago areas, the size and depth of our local recruiting teams, our ability to onboard resources with diverse skill sets and specific industry experience, proven methodology and dedicated project management experience. TEKsystems’ approach to delivering a customized managed services engagement ensures that clients receive a partner and a stakeholder in delivery success.

Resource Selection
To support the engagement, we assigned a delivery manager in the Keller, Texas location to work on-site with the client, oversee the client’s Chicago location and build job descriptions and qualifications. By providing on-site project management, TEKsystems created a self-sufficient program with minimal need for support from the client. TEKsystems managed the selection and onboarding of resources, allowing the client to focus on the development and support of their applications.

Prior to TEKsystems’ involvement, the client managed all hiring through a long internal process that included conference calls and resume submission to the HR department. TEKsystems restructured this process to incorporate the client’s business challenges, objectives and skill sets needed into the sourcing and screening process. We discussed the list of interview candidates with the hiring managers and streamlined the interview process with the client to an in-person or video-conference interview for each position. TEKsystems attended the interviews to understand the client’s expectations and to receive immediate feedback on each candidate. This new process was successful for the client and led to the client assigning all responsibility for sourcing, screening and hiring to TEKsystems.

Onboarding
TEKsystems also assumed full responsibility for the onboarding program. TEKsystems prepared a complete program with documentation of the client’s requirements, timelines, paperwork to internal departments and client-specific policies and procedures to ensure each new employee had the necessary materials and information to start work. This program transformed the client’s onboarding ability and set a standard for efficiency and effectiveness.

Resource Management
TEKsystems and the client worked together to establish a resource management program and identify objective success criteria for each role. This criteria was used to develop reporting on employee performance and productivity. The client also wanted to minimize co-employment risk, so TEKsystems provided on-site project management to reduce the co-employment liability to the client.

Engagement Management
TEKsystems and the client established metrics and reporting on the success of the program. Reports included a weekly resource allocation report, status, issue and risk assessment and engagement budget; a monthly milestone report on accomplishments and challenges; an issue and risk report; a resource allocation report; and a quarterly improvement plan and executive dashboard.

The client opened more than 110 new positions to include architects, designers, developers and support specialists, and TEKsystems filled 95 percent of the positions. TEKsystems achieved a successful placement rate of 83 percent.

TEKsystems’ average time to fill an open position is approximately 23 days, exceeding the client’s request for a 30-day time-to-fill standard. TEKsystems also assumed full responsibility for the onboarding program and decreased the average days to productivity to 20 calendar days. The client recognized savings of more than $400,000 in onboarding and $850,000 in resource selection costs.

TEKsystems identified the following critical components to the project’s success:

  • Partnership
    TEKsystems and the client worked together throughout the engagement. The client treated TEKsystems as a true partner, providing direct access to their management team in order to facilitate deep understanding of their business and technology needs. TEKsystems had visibility into the client’s hiring needs and was able to effectively transform the interview structure and onboarding process.
  • Hands-on approach
    The client is a niche provider and the TEKsystems team took the time to deeply understand the client’s concerns, learn the client’s business and translate those needs to find skilled professionals.
  • Consultative approach
    TEKsystems’ delivery manager served as a single point of contact for the client and developed a strong relationship with the client. He provided consultative services to the client by explaining decisions and giving feedback on the project’s direction. In return, the client valued the relationship and had trust in TEKsystems to manage the program.