A developer hub in the world of trading can be a one-stop shop for connecting customers. For their business team, this can be a place to complete forms and consumer reference data; for the development team, this is a portal to seamlessly integrate with an API. A developer hub can become a centralised platform to provide a set of resources and tools for customers to begin trading faster and not get lost in a maze of documentation and downloads.
Within financial services, customer API connectivity goes beyond the basics of connecting point A to point B. Developer Hubs should therefore aim to present, collect, and provide enhanced, domain-specific data in a personalised way that puts customers connecting to you back in control. Rather than simply handing over a PDF specification and wishing them well, a Developer Hub can streamline customer connectivity and provide a much better developer experience.
How can a developer hub do this?
Always the first step, and a fundamental part of customer connectivity, is capturing customer data to kick-off the onboarding process. This process feeds data into several key workflows including compliance and KYC, legal and general customer information for business operations such as trading requirements and IDs. Although sending out PDFs for connecting customers to complete or providing downloadable forms on a website does the job, customers will always prefer to fill these out online.
A bespoke developer hub removes the necessity for manual, one-size-fits-all PDF forms. Instead, customers login to a bespoke environment that guides them through the process of profile, connectivity, security, and compliance data capture, in a contextualized environment. Auto-complete functions for addresses and unique trading identifiers can be integrated into the forms ensuring a simple user experience.
Digital forms can be personalised based on permissioning, and easily maintained in a central location which automatically reflects on the customer side. By providing web forms that capture data in context, internal developers can streamline the data collection process and reduce the risk of errors. This data capture can kick off a series of API calls internally to process the data for the various teams, removing the need for manual data input.
Marketing and Cross-Selling Between Trading Services
When a new customer starts the process of making a connection, they will normally be sold on a certain set of trading functionality, or asset class, and will therefore need to sift through the exhaustive spec and documentation to draw out the few relevant sections they need to code to. A developer hub gives customers the power to self-select the trading services and functionality they require and can also browse other functionality/products that might be available. This not only serves to market other products but also means the documentation can be tailored to that particular customer, presenting only those messages, tags and fields that are relevant to them. This cuts out pages and pages of irrelevant content whilst additionally marketing all your different products.
Cross-selling between trading services to existing customers has always been a significant challenge for exchanges and broker dealers, especially those that have grown by acquisition. The various, and often disparate, trading departments will on the whole operate quite independently and become siloed; a developer hub can consolidate the documentation and customer touchpoints of the various asset classes into one central location. Trading firms can then use the hub as a platform to cross-sell products. Customers that are connected to one service might be a multi-asset firm and can be presented a menu card of the various asset classes, functionality, and products to which they can connect to next. This can appear in the “Next Steps” section or on a dashboard when they login allowing seamless cross-selling and upselling.
Trading Hours and Announcements
Access to the latest trading hours across a firm’s various markets including holidays and “current status” is crucial. Trading hours can vary depending on the exchange, region, and security being traded, making it challenging to keep track of everything. This information is generally located somewhere on the trading venue’s website, often alongside the trading documentation, behind the homepage.
As an alternative, trading hours data can be integrated into a developer hub avoiding the necessity to download potentially out of date CSV or XLS files. The information could be presented on a dashboard on a developer hub or support portal alongside other useful streams, such as trading announcements/updates, changes to tradable assets or anything else that you think your customers would like to see. There are several benefits to your customers: information can be presented in an interactive and searchable format. You can also control exactly what each customer sees, when they see it, and even permission what is exposed depending on job roles within a particular firm. Trading hours and announcements would likely be more interesting to a business user, and a developer will want to see the documentation and code samples to connect.
Distribution List Management
Managing distribution lists and disseminating reports can often be a painful and manual process. Additionally, from talking to people in internal operations teams, updates and reports are still sent out manually via email on a daily basis. Internal developers try to automate these processes through a few lines of code to fire out an automated email, which then joins a patchwork of other bits of code. Should that process change, however, amending that web of code is not easy and if the person who wrote that code then leaves, it quickly becomes near impossible to maintain.
Through a developer hub, customers can self-serve the distribution streams that they would like to subscribe to and can also be shown other streams that might be useful through a “next steps” section on a dashboard. A level up from this would be exposing an API which the customer can call on a daily basis to receive trading and reference data reports, rather than downloading .csv files, for example.
Additionally, trading firms often create and enhance functionality to retain customers and increase revenues. For customers connecting to you, any new or enhanced functionality will need to be communicated to them. A Developer Hub can provide a more intuitive way to notify users and complete conformance based on the API changes.
Instead of simply emailing a PDF to your customers, a developer hub provides a platform to expose structured, digital versions of your API documents, including all of the human-readable descriptions and diagrams. As it is structured data, it is dynamic, searchable and can be easily converted into XML or indeed into a QuickFIX downloadable asset – features that are not available when specs are loosely maintained in Word and sent out in PDF. Additionally, the hub can become a useful API resource centre.
In addition to the traditional documentation and rules of engagement, SDKs with implementation source code samples and FIX dictionaries, and possibly interactive consoles can be presented to your customers. Of course, when only a few venues have taken the first steps to implement basic documentation portals, this sort of advanced functionality might need to wait for the second or third iteration. But the opportunity is there.
In conclusion, a bespoke developer hub can significantly improve the customer connectivity experience within financial services. By streamlining the data collection process through personalised web forms, customers can easily provide their information in context and reduce the risk of errors. A developer hub can also serve as a platform for marketing and cross-selling between trading services, consolidating documentation and customer touch-points into one central location. Access to the latest trading hours and announcements can also be integrated into the hub, providing a searchable and interactive format for customers. Additionally, distribution list management can be automated through the hub, allowing customers to self-serve the distribution streams they wish to subscribe to.
Overall, a developer hub can provide a much better developer experience and put customers connecting to trading services back in control.
As domain knowledge experts across trading, post trading, and market data, FixSpec are uniquely placed to support the next generation innovate and change the trading API landscape. With a unique blend of web development and domain knowledge expertise, you can confidently outsource your branded, authenticated Developer Hub to our specialist team.
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