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The Journey to Digital Member Services

In this interview, David Lawn, Vice President and Head of North American Client Services at Nasdaq, discusses how Nasdaq’s digitalization journey started and the vision moving forward.  

Digitalization of member and client services is a key focus at Nasdaq’s markets, moving towards self-service and streamlined communication channels to cater to the evolving demands from members and other clients. The digital service portal used at Nasdaq’s markets was recently launched as a white-labeled service portal that Nasdaq’s Market Technology customers can use to digitalize their member services. In this interview, David Lawn, Vice President and Head of North American Client Services at Nasdaq, discusses how Nasdaq’s digitalization journey started and the vision moving forward.  

First, can you elaborate on what drove Nasdaq to digitalize member services? 

Our vision for self-service is rooted in three main drivers. First and foremost are client expectations; exchange members and other clients that we serve have evolved, and new demands from exchanges emphasize the self-service aspect. They expect to be able to manage their exchange relationship, configurations and settings themselves just as easily as they manage many of their personal accounts with service providers in their private lives. There is also a demand, especially from our larger member firms, to be able to integrate and embed data processes from Nasdaq into their own systems. 

The second driver is efficiency and scalability. Our analysis showed that a substantial part of the service and support requests that we process manually today could be standardized and made self-serviceable. We saw the opportunity to free up time from managing these standard tasks that can be focused on value-adding activities and services that require personal interaction. In addition, by automating tens of thousands of standard requests, we can shorten response times and reduce manual errors. And when interactions are digitalized, Nasdaq can leverage data to analyze user behavior, providing an opportunity to improve processes, interact proactively with clients, and increase revenue.

Thirdly, digitalized service interfaces can help improve resiliency at times of market stress or incidents. Being able to log in and verify configurations in real-time can give clients improved confidence to reenter the market after an intraday market halt or other disturbance. By providing a self-service view of their status across Nasdaq’s markets, we can provide that extra layer of comfort to our clients. 

What’s your vision for the Portal? 

Our ambition is to enhance the client experience across the board and turn that into a competitive differentiator for Nasdaq. We want to allow clients to embed their workflows with Nasdaq’s, creating a more streamlined experience for them but also for us internally. 

The way we are delivering this to our member and client base is through our digital Customer Portal. We’ve approached the digitalization of the client experience in a stepwise manner to ensure we’re delivering incremental value. The first step was moving from using email and phone to clients submitting requests using interactive forms in the Portal. We have implemented what we call Smart Forms, which can be pre-populated with data and logic relevant to the client using their inventory of services, configurations, and settings. This way, communications between clients and market operations are streamlined and standardized into a single format for a given request. This helps reduce errors and gives clients the ability to monitor the status of their requests, which they previously didn’t have. Moreover, the Smart Forms are easy to build without the need for programming and are maintained directly by the operations team, without the need to involve technical teams. 

Once we had both Smart Forms and the data to populate them in place, we started to think about how to leverage that data and the relevant connections to enable straight-through processing, thereby further enhancing the client experience with near real-time processing of requests. While the end goal is to automate as many of the requests as possible, initially, the operations staff are the ones that perform the relevant updates in the back-end systems. For sensitive changes, manual approval steps are performed before updates are pushed into the receiving back-end systems.

Finally, we look to enable the same straight-through processing services via APIs as well for clients who want to interact in a programmatic manner rather than in the user interface. 

Can you tell us a bit about the roadmap ahead? 

The Portal was first developed to support our European venues and launched there in 2015. In 2019, it was turned into a global product to also support Nasdaq’s North American venues. Functionality has continuously been built out to support a higher degree of automation and additional services across areas, including regulatory compliance, reporting, connectivity and port management, membership settings, ordering of additional services and subscriptions, invoice distribution, etcetera, and we continue to invest heavily in the product. 

The solution now supports all Nasdaq markets globally, and our teams in Europe and North America collaborate to ensure the product remains harmonized. In addition, a white-labeled version called Nasdaq Client Connect is available to the Nasdaq Market Technology customer base of exchanges and clearinghouses to configure and brand to serve as their digital service portal. 

Looking ahead, data access and analytics is an area that we are excited about to further enhance. In 2016, we moved from pushing reports to our members to members instead of self-servicing and pulling their reports. This was a very successful launch; clients loved being able to manage their reports independently, and we relieved our operations team from a lot of manual work. We are now in the process of building out a business intelligence offering that we call analytics and digitalization. Our aim is to embed a dashboard filter within the Customer Portal where clients can build custom views of their data or select from Nasdaq’s pre-built views. This will lend itself especially well to certain pricing in tier-related information, where clients can visualize where they stand in the fee schedule. 

What tips can you share with market operators that are planning to introduce digital member services?

Talk to your members and clients about how you can service them better and what drives operational burdens on their side. Their feedback can help you prioritize the next steps in your journey. 

Leverage your operations team as an asset for defining service requirements. Data-driven analysis on request types, time spent, and other key metrics paired with client feedback help to define and prioritize the feature roadmap. 

Finally, pulling data out of disparate legacy systems can be complex and time-consuming. But once that data is unlocked and in a portal, you can do powerful things with it to service clients in new and innovative ways.



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