CME Group is the world’s largest derivatives exchange, and is the only exchange where every major asset class can be traded on a single platform. Its futures and options products help customers manage risk across commodities, interest rates, currencies, energy and metals - and its market data is used by organizations all over the world to help understand critical aspects of the global economy. Its stability is critical and the organization recently shared that it is moving its technology portfolio, which is on premise, over to Google Cloud Platform (GCP).
Ari Studnitzer, Managing Director of Architecture & Product Management at CME Group, spoke recently at Google Cloud’s annual user conference, where he explained how the company has brought together multiple teams into a central unit in order to make use of different areas of expertise, in order to ensure that project is a success.
Detailing the company’s rationale behind the move to cloud, Studnitzer said that the reasoning has been multi-faceted. He explained:
Just under a year ago, we announced that CME Group would move our technology portfolio to Google Cloud. We have an aggressive timeline for our transition. And along with Deloitte and Google Cloud, we've been working hard to deliver on our commitments. We're working not just to improve our technology, but change how we work creating a more outcome focused process that helps CME Group customers use our products more efficiently, more securely, and in ways that better meet their needs.
We created a new outcome-oriented system of architecting, migrating and training our teams on Google Cloud. We did it to serve our customers better, and I believe our method has important lessons.
Studnitzer added that one of the reasons CME selected Google Cloud over other providers was its broad range of capabilities and that he believed a move to the cloud provider would increase developer productivity and software flexibility, whilst improving operational excellence and ensuring the highest levels of security. He said:
Many of you know the adage: security, resiliency and velocity - pick two. Well, this is an effort to be able to get all three. To make it even more interesting, we wanted to move from development to production in just a few months, with limited resources, and internal staff who were gaining GCP experience on the fly, with an on prem system to support, and of course, all of that using a mixture of GCP native services, legacy systems on prem, and a number of third party tools.
Studnitzer compared the project to maintaining a jet engine in flight, while transforming the fuel system and simultaneously training the ground crew - all at the same time. However, despite the complexity, CME is guiding the project with a number of core principles: What are we trying to achieve and what kind of experience do we want our customers to have? Studnitzer said:
When you're passionate about customers, like we are, the opportunity to enhance our technology and improve our customer experience is quite motivating.
The experience we want them to have is software they can easily access at scale to make better decisions. So working with Deloitte, we built a cloud experience team designed to bridge our application and platform teams. The goal was not only to improve the productivity of our platform team, allowing them to focus on their delivery, but to increase the velocity of our application migration teams as well.
The CloudEx team was the first thing that the first thing CME did when embarking on this project, to ensure that there was proficiency both in the platform and the software tools, whilst aligning the organization around a common set of goals in order to be able to communicate to other teams. The team also acts as a central depository of information, collating documentation for self-service training. Studnitzer said:
The CloudEx team is made up of CME Group and Deloitte team members, with application, operational and GCP knowledge, who support application migrations in an outcome oriented sustainable way.
Each team member has specific expertise, which underlines the importance of initial team selection. Working with the application teams the CloudEx team embeds and helps in the delivery of software and Google Cloud services. If questions arise, the CloudEx team not only answers them, but documents what was done so that others can learn and deliver faster.
The mantra is experiment, learn, share, quickly. With the CloudEx team supporting the application teams, our platform team can focus on their delivery. This approach increases confidence in delivery, while overcoming many of the ramp up challenges common in a cloud migration.
CME is measuring success by a number of metrics, including productivity and tracking ticket resolutions. Studnitzer said that issues are now clearing faster than the company projected, applications are growing in depth and capability, and people are spending more time on their core deliver, rather than context switching. He explained:
We wanted an effective support and training process to quickly bring team members up to speed on Google Cloud. Centralizing support with the CloudEx team allowed us to enhance training, while providing a sustainable, outcome oriented delivery model. We wanted fast adoption. I mentioned that we had an aggressive timeline for bringing the CME Group to Google Cloud. And I'm pleased to say that we're pretty much on schedule with increasing velocity.
Maybe even more important, I think we'll arrive at our goal to deliver more, and better, customer products and experiences, thanks to our adoption framework.
Studnitzer also provided a number of recommendations for other organizations undertaking a similar project. He said:
Based on our success, here's what I recommend you remember. One, there's already a lot of knowledge in your organization, and there's a hunger to deliver and learn more by your teams. Leverage that by connecting with all your teams through a central group that is focused on the key outcome of customer experience.
Share information and practices to ensure consistency of performance, too. Everyone learns a little bit differently in their roles, so you want to allow healthy experimentation. That means asking questions, trying things, and above all sharing learnings and outcomes. That is the start of building your team's best practices.
Lastly, success in technology always comes from a healthy blend. of understanding your customers’ problems and knowing how technology can solve them. Outcome oriented adoption is a consistent blend of those things, with a common framework of delivery.