​ASX collocates tech, operations team to new support centre

The Australian Securities Exchange has collocated its technology, operations, and market surveillance staff to its customer support centre to ensure the organisation can respond faster to clients.

On Friday, when the bell rang at the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), it wasn't to mark the opening of the market, but rather the official launch of the company's customer support centre, located on a floor of its Australian Liquidity Centre.

The new centre has been designed to provide end-to-end customer support to its clients in a more proactive, rather than reactive, way, ASX chief information officer Tim Thurman told ZDNet.

This collocates the company's technology, operations, and market surveillance staff, who were previously scattered across three different floors at the ASX's Sydney Bridge Street office, into one workspace.

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The ASX customer support centre (Image: Supplied)

"The idea of trying to be more proactive and reactive with our clients was a challenge for us. A person on level four might get a call, but then the person that needed to react was on the third floor. But everyone that needs to react to a problem is now actually here," Thurman said.

The centre has been designed to staff up to 180 employees, and currently houses approximately 120. Half of Thurman's team is located in the new centre, focused on customer service and operations, while those at Bridge Street are more project driven.

One of the other highlights of the new centre is that it encourages activity-based work -- something that is fairly new to the company, Thurman said.

Staff members are given the choice to work on either a Surface, Mac, or ThinkPad, which can also be used for personal use. Thurman noted that when he started with the company three years ago, mobility didn't exist, and it was something that he had to "very forcefully" encourage within the company.

"When I got to ASX, there was no collaboration, so in order to have true collaboration, you had to be mobile. We spent a great deal of money building a mobility strategy, and we're still doing it now," he said.

Thurman's vision is to have all 530 ASX employees be mobile in the next six months. This goal follows the company's greater technology agenda announced in February, wherein it plans to upgrade all of its major trading and post-trading platforms over the next four years.

For Thurman, this means replacing the company's existing two trading platforms with one platform, reducing four clearance level systems to one, and minimising the six ways to cut down risks to two.

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Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey rings the bell to mark the official opening. (Image: Aimee Chanthadavong/ZDNet)

"For me, it's a goal to rationalise our technology, but it will bring more efficiency to our clients, because the clients are the investment banks connected to us in many different ways," he said. "My goal is to rationalise that to as few as possible, which will save them costs. This is why it has taken us so long to come with a strategy -- because it wasn't just about the ASX."

The ASX has so far invested AU$45 million into the Liquidity building, which was opened in 2012. It also houses the company's datacentre one floor up from the customer support centre.

ASX managing director and CEO Elmer Kupper boasted that the centre has enough power to generate electricity to 5,000 homes, as well as being able to run at full capacity for five days without needing to refuel. It has 600 kilometres of cable, enough to stretch from Sydney to Albury, he said.

"The services we provide are important for our clients and for our financial markets. Almost 70 percent of the activity in the multitrillion-dollar Australian equity and futures markets originates from electronic gateways in this building," he said.

"There are already over 100 customers who have decided to collocate with us, representing the full diversity of Australia's financial markets community."

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