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Best in Class Benchmarking Highly Commended: Microsoft

Published: Jul 2014

Chase Johnson, Microsoft

Photo of Chase Johnson, Microsoft.


Since implementing its Trading Metrics Dashboard earlier this year Microsoft has completely done away with slide decks in its quarterly meetings with the treasurer. Outside of this tool it also benchmarks its different systems with other corporates. During the recent regulatory upheaval with EMIR and Dodd-Frank it heavily benchmarked with similar corporates to ensure best practice was being implemented everywhere possible.

Chase Johnson

Treasury Manager

Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realise their full potential.

The challenge

Operational risk is an under-appreciated issue within the industry and missed or late trades can create hidden problems or trading losses that may go undiscovered for months. While confirmation teams do a good job of mitigating this risk it has never been an easy task for the treasury to measure or analyse their performance.

“Prior to the creation of this tool, we had five analysts who would spend at least five hours each scrubbing and summarising the operational data in Excel. Once completed, one of these analysts would then take this data and put it into a slide deck, taking another five or more hours. The process was tedious and the analysts spent far more time getting the data into workable form than actually doing any rigorous analysis,” explains, Chase Johnson, Treasury Manager.

Over time we’ve picked up on several trends that have allowed us to make changes that have improved these KPIs.

Jayna Bundy, Group Treasury Manager, Treasury Capital Management

The solution

Using elements of the Microsoft Business Intelligence (BI) Stack such as Power View and Power Pivot, the investment operations team created the Trading Metrics Dashboard. The dashboard seamlessly summarises several data feeds from disparate trading platforms into a single, easily digestible showcase for reporting the team’s KPIs to senior leadership.

Major components:

  • Data table page:

    Provides consolidated performance metrics in data table form by instrument and can be filtered by year or month.

  • Non-FX dashboard:

    Graphical interface showing the number of trades in each month, trade type, portfolio, currency, how many were confirmed late and with which counterparty.

  • FX dashboard:

    Same as above but for FX. This is broken out separately for better visualisation of specific FX related trade activity.

  • Late trades:

    Shows an aggregate time series of late trades and total trade volume to highlight trends.

Best practice and innovation

The most innovative aspect of this solution is that it involved no IT budget and was created by a single, non-developer analyst. By utilising the Microsoft BI Stack, other business users should be able to create their own custom solutions to problems that in the past would have needed substantial IT resources.

“Outside of this tool we also benchmark our different systems with other corporates. For instance, before implementing Misys, we benchmarked with several other corporates to determine if the platform would meet our needs. During the recent regulatory upheaval with EMIR and Dodd-Frank we heavily benchmarked with similar corporates to ensure best practice was being implemented everywhere possible,” explains Johnson.

“Our primary KPIs for this tool are late trades and trades confirmed via straight through processing (STP) in a system such as FXall or Misys. Both are measured relative to the total number of trades in a given month.

Over time we’ve picked up on several trends that have allowed us to make changes that have improved these KPIs,” adds Jayna Bundy, Group Treasury Manager, Treasury Capital Management.

“Since implementing the Trading Metrics Dashboard earlier this year we have completely done away with slide decks in our quarterly meetings with the treasurer. With this interface we can dive deep into the data for ad-hoc analysis in the meeting as needed. In fact, our meetings have become more about ad-hoc analysis than anything else. We’ll come prepared with a few talking points but the meeting will almost always deviate from the script.

As a result, these are now much more productive and engaging. Furthermore, the feedback from our audience has been remarkable to the point that we are now transitioning as many reports into this new format as possible,” concludes Bundy.

Key benefits

  • Time taken to implement solution and realise benefits.

  • Productivity gains.

  • Process efficiencies.

  • Risk removed/mitigated.

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