Trade Operations Research and Concept Visualization

  • January 21, 2017
  • By Julia
  • Comments Off on Trade Operations Research and Concept Visualization
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Trade Operation Research and Concept Visualization


The client of this project is a prestigious fund management company in Boston. When I worked at Sapient Global Markets, our team had the opportunity to create a vision deck / business pitch for the Trade Operation team of the client's.


To comply with my non-disclosure agreement, I have omitted and obfuscated confidential information in this case study. The information in this case study is my own and does not necessarily reflect the views of Sapient Global Markets.


  • The client of this project is a fund management company.

  • The primary function of the Trade Operation team is to act as the middleman between brokers and custodian banks in reconciling mismatched trades.

  • I worked on this project when I was at the consulting firm. I was one of the three consultants in this project.

Project Goal

  • To create a value-driven proposal to increase efficiencies, enhance user experience and reduce time and cost associated with Trade Ops task such as dealing with failed trades.

  • The proposed concept aims to be scalable so that it may be rolled out across the team.

  • To create a vision deck that the client, Trade Ops team, can pitch with for the next year's budget.

My Role

I was part of the three consultants in this pitch project. I was responsible for problem discovery, visualizing concepts, managing timelines and client expectations. I participated most of the deliverables and presenting these to the client.


Research -> Analysis -> Concept


Research Objectives: To observe the Fail Trade team as they execute their work, to gain a richer understanding of the team’s workflows, tool set, challenges and pain points.

How is work delegated/assigned across the team?

How do they obtain and prioritize their tasks?

What are the different tools they switch between in order to complete their tasks?

What are the challenges and pain points they counter as they attempt to complete their tasks?

Contextual Inquiries

Opportunity to observe actual behavior and the real-life context in which tasks take place, and to capture team members’ tacit knowledge about their tasks and the tools they use to complete them

Sessions are loosely structured around the discussion guide; however, transitions and segues are allowed to occur organically.

3 participants, 90-minute session


The team was able to identify six themes based on the findings:

  • Risk Management
  • Weeding
  • Prioritizing
  • Resolution
  • Tracking
  • Record Retention

Research Findings

Based on the research, the team made the hypothesis:

  • Users spent a large portion of their time weeding through information in order to identify and prioritize tasks.
  • Current risk management procedures add to email clutter and result in redundancy of assigning tasks.

We identified that an improved email client may solve their issues.



This was a quick three-week project. Instead of a final design, the client was looking for a vision deck which they could use to pitch for the next year's budget.

Participatory Design

Stakeholders and designers work together to iterate on paper prototypes and draft visuals, validating, editing and rearranging content and functionality on the fly

3 participants; 60-minute session with each

Concept One: Short Term


A familiar view of the inbox with a robust tagging, filtering, and sorting system. Users can surface the critical messages/trades based on their personal criteria.

Users can assign emails to themselves or to their colleagues. It creates a collaborative environment in which every email is seen and assigned.

Group by conversation, transaction ID or analyst. It gives users a more exible way to control how they want to see the email. Users can quickly set customized reminders and set 5 levels of importance. It lets users stay on top of their email.


The unstructured tags may include homonyms (the same tags used with dierent meanings) and synonyms (multiple tags for the same concept), which may lead to inappropriate connections between tags.

For the trades that are not recognized by the system, it requires users to manually tag the email.

The volume of the email remains the same.

When more than one owner is assigned, it may lead to ambiguity in responsibility and delays in decision making.

Concept Two: Long Term


Ability to simultaneously show large number of cases, while providing enough information about each to make basic prioritizing decisions.

Task based organization easily handles split-ownership cases.

Compact overview enables monitoring of all assigned cases.

Mixing the graphs into display grid enables easy overview for prioritizing and more eciently exposes outliers than purely numerical display.

Keeping all communications and resolution info closely associated with every FT makes audit-friendly archiving system.


Potential for exaggerating the caseload volume when related cases will be dealt with in combined work stream.

Primary organization scheme disassociated from the communication stream.

Unfamiliar, non-email based look.

For best results, it requires a large display.

Competitive Analysis


The client was very pleased with the vision we created and took our deck to present at the budget meeting. The client was able to get extra budget for the next year. As a result, my company, Sapient Global Markets, was able to get more projects from the same client.

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