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Thomson Reuters upgrades Eikon data platform

Trader uptake quickens for financial software service

Thomson Reuters has released the latest iteration of its Eikon trading data platform, adding new features and a more intuitive interface, as the platform begins to gain traction with traders after a problematic launch.

The overhaul includes improved auto-suggest, which means traders do not have to remember full company codes, and greater importance being placed on visualisation tools.

Other upgrades centre around visualisation tools, such as allowing commodities traders to search for and track individual shipping vessels on an interactive world map, for example, or receive real-time alerts on oil refineries.

Upgrades to the interface are part of Thomson Reuters' attempts to provide a more simple gateway to its content. Integration with Thomson Reuter's data and trading platform Elektron is also enabled in the update.

Speaking ahead of the launch of the yearly system update, head of Eikon Philip Brittan said that features such as search and visualisation have lagged behind in enterprise financial software, with traders responding to wider trends such as use of mobile devices to access cloud data.

"Those are all paradigm shifts we have seen in the broader consumer world, and there are good reasons they have happened," he said. "Demand in the enterprise, and demand in financial is very high, and has not been met so far."

Sales of the Eikon were sluggish on its initial release, with doubts being cast on Thomson Reuters' ability to take on the data software services of rivals like Bloomberg, which updated its own data platform last year.

Despite extensive marketing and $1 billion of investment aiming to bring all of its customers together on a single desktop system, traders were reluctant to move over from existing data subscriptions, amid poor reviews and reports of technical problems.

An admission that the launch of the platform had been "overly ambitious" also led to the exit of the company's then chief executive, Tom Glocer.

In recent quarters, however, sales of the software-as-a-service platform have begun to gather pace. In Thomson Reuters' most recent financial results sales of its platform were up 35 percent, while latest figures for uptake at over 33,000.

Brittan explained that a steady stream of updates has helped to win over its subscribers, claiming that there is a sizeable portion of business also coming from new customers attracted by Eikon's data delivery systems.

"Eikon 3.0 represents a significant step in our evolution," Brittan said. "We put out a new version every month and our goal is that every month represents a tangible step forward in terms of the range of capabilities Eikon has."

Brittan also confirmed that plans for moving all of its customers onto Eikon are still on course.

"The vision is that Eikon will become our singular desktop experience, it will be a superset of everything we do," he said. "That was really the first driving mission of what led us to develop Eikon."

He added that this means adapting the software to meet demands of traders, by equipping them with familiar software tools he claims are lacking from enterprise software systems, specifically in the financial sector.

"The other half of the mission is to do it in a modern way," said Brittan, who was formerly strategy director at Google Finance. "Enterprise software has not always been as innovative as consumer software.

"If you look at Google and Apple and Facebook and Amazon and what they are doing, it is a whole different way of interacting with systems.

"We think there is a very clear demand for people to have that 21st century experience visual experience, using search as a central navigational paradigm, and having a 'no-user manual' ease of use approach."

Brittan said that by meeting these demands, Eikon is starting to win over customers that might have been put off at first.

"The product is constantly appealing so it does more, it appeals to a broader range of users," he said.

"We are getting momentum in the marketplace, we are getting more and more people that have heard of it, and have more colleagues who have used it, and that makes it easier for people to adopt it."


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