The DTCC Innovation Team: Identifying New Ideas and Implementing Business Opportunities
March 10, 2021
The DTCC Innovation Team is a unique partnership, combining the business acumen of the Business Innovation team with the technical expertise of the Technology Research & Innovation team, led by Jennifer Peve and Rob Palatnick, respectively. Established a little over a year ago, the alliance supports the entire enterprise, providing the ability to leverage new technology, explore potential use cases and bring business opportunities to life.
“It's a new way to assess an opportunity. We’re able to work across DTCC and explore what’s possible from a technology perspective, what’s viable from a business perspective, and what’s needed from a client perspective.” said Jennifer Peve, DTCC Managing Director, Business Innovation.
“Aligning our teams under the umbrella of Business Innovation will drive internal efforts to research, experiment and implement emerging technology such as DLT, cloud, security, AI and machine learning. This has the potential to transform both DTCC and our industry, added Rob Palatnick, DTCC Managing Director and Global Head of Technology Research and Innovation (TRI).
Working Across the Enterprise to Solve Business Challenges
The Innovation team works with both internal and external stakeholders to solve business challenges and industry pain points.
Artem Korenyuk, DTCC Executive Director, Business Innovation, who leads these efforts noted, “Our goal is to provide thought leadership and partner with internal and external stakeholders to come up with innovative solutions to challenges. The ideas can come from a variety of sources, including our own industry research, through discussions with the business units, or from our external clients and partners.”
Tools to Drive Innovation
The goal of the Innovation team is to enable iterative development and ideation – in a risk free and cost-effective manner. Artem explained that the team needed a quick and easy way to evaluate the viability of a concept. “How could we assess new opportunities and technologies in an enterprise as large as DTCC? Our Rapid Proofing Framework provides a structured approach, and we can quickly assess if we should move forward with an idea,” he said. After an initial exploration, the team collaborates on the next steps in the framework – which may include moving to a wireframe, prototype or proof of concept.
What's in a Name?
When the team was first discussing the potential for digital infrastructure and blockchain for private markets, they searched for words related to “crypto”— and in doing so stumbled across “Krypto,” the name of Superman’s secret dog. “Krypto the Superdog” was put in the care of Kevin Whitney, who swore to protect Krypto’s identity. And that’s how we ended up with the name for Project Whitney!
To support these endeavors, the TRI team developed a cloud-based software development ecosystem (DevX), which allows the teams to rapidly transform business ideas and concepts into functioning software, and determine if a business need is met, or if the technology is fit for purpose. With DevX, the team can validate a project’s viability and extend the limits of what is currently possible in a fast-paced manner.
Ali Khan, DTCC Executive Director of the TRI Lab explained that the DevX platform lets the team take an idea and move to coding in a shortened time frame. “We wanted to measure idea-to-delivery time in hours and days, not months and years,” he said.
“Not everything we build will go into production. We want to see if an idea makes sense, and if it doesn’t, we course-correct, or pivot, and we may revisit in the future,” added Stephen Prosperi, DTCC Director, Business Innovation, who is managing several projects for the team.
The Pathway to Success
The Innovation team has identified a number of opportunities and has several projects that are currently in different stages of execution.
Prototype: Project Whitney
Whitney is a prototype designed to explore the value of creating a modern digital infrastructure to support private market assets. The prototype allows the team to demonstrate a standard and operationally efficient approach. The Innovation team developed a business case of the broader opportunity and is currently evaluating potential next steps.
Proof of Concept: Project Ion
From an impact perspective, Ion has the potential to fundamentally evolve DTCC’s clearing settlement platform. The Innovation team is working with Equity Clearing & Settlement Product Management to explore whether digitalizing assets on a DLT can provide additional benefits in the acceleration of settlement for the U.S. equities market and reduce costs and risks for market participants. The feedback and lessons learned from this experiment could fundamentally redesign and modernize the post-trade netting and settlement process.
Proof of Concept: Project Dawn
When a security is listed, there is a host of information that needs to be collected from different sources, including the listing exchange, regulators, and ultimately downstream participants, including DTCC. Jennifer O’Rourke, DTCC Director, Business Innovation shared that the team wanted to see how it could move the data collection upstream. They noted how much inconsistency there was in the data and that ultimately it is needed by many parties, but for different purposes. “We saw this as an opportunity for artificial intelligence or machine learning to review all the information, be it from a prospectus or other legal document, and provide consistent details rather than being subject to human error,” she said.
Wireframes: Project FUSE
Fuse is exploring cash flow matching opportunities across multiple derivative asset classes and is being executed in close partnership with the DerivServ business. For this use case, the focus was a redefined workflow and user experience, not the technology that underpinned it. Therefore, the group decided to develop dynamic wireframes that visualize and animate a functional flow of the conceptual platform in just a few weeks. By demo-ing a functional wireframe to clients, we can quickly obtain direct feedback on the functionality, the design of the platform and inform the overall case for change.
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