A global finance platform
London-based finance firm, ICAP, decides to move its customer-facing Fusion platform to AWS to make it more flexible, scalable, and easy to use. For a successful transition, the firm must deploy rock-solid security for customer identities.
As the Fusion team moves its infrastructure online, they use Okta APIs to enable secure customer single sign-on across Fusion applications. Help desk calls decrease, and customers find it easier to serve themselves.
Extending identity across the company
After their success with Fusion, TP ICAP leaders implement Okta for the entire organization. Employee onboarding becomes a simple, pain-free experience, and logging into applications is no longer everyone’s least-favorite part of the day.
Integration and ongoing partnership
When ICAP was purchased by Tullett Prebon in 2016, Okta helps the companies integrate, bringing tools, expertise, and flexibility to the process. The company continues to work toward an increasingly automated identity management experience.
Rolling out Okta was very simple. … Our customers were with us, they enjoyed the journey, and the feedback was amazing.Adrian Brown, Head of Fusion QA, TP ICAP
A platform at the center of global finance
London-based TP ICAP sits at the center of the global financial system, providing intermediary services for the world’s money, energy, and commodities markets. Clients include banks, insurance companies, government organizations, and other financial institutions and asset managers.
TP ICAP is the product of a 2016 merger between Tullett Prebon and ICAP. The company offers a host of brokerage products and services, from analyzing potential trades and formulating prices, to devising trading strategies and executing those trades. The company’s Fusion software plays a central role, providing a global platform that traders can use to access prices and markets in every major asset class.
“We’re very much a tech company,” says Adrian Brown, Hhead of Fusion QA at TP ICAP. Every trader is different, so Fusion must remain flexible, scalable, and simple to use. Plus—it goes without saying—security is of utmost concern. The Fusion team is constantly making incremental changes and optimizing add-on features. The faster they can get those updates to market, the better.
On-prem infrastructure that no longer serves
The company’s Okta journey begins prior to the merger. ICAP had developed the Fusion platform, but its IT infrastructure resided in ICAP data centers around the world. “Deploying software to customers was difficult,” says Brown. In addition, the company’s in-house single sign-on solution wasn’t enterprise scalable. A decision was made to move the entire Fusion infrastructure to the cloud.
“We looked to see what cloud services would help us, and Okta was one of the first ones,” says Brown. For cloud investments in infrastructure and applications to be successful, he says, “we needed identity management to be in place.” Securing trader identities across the platform would be key.
The team was happy to see that Okta had a European presence and a new London office. “It helped us get off the ground, to speak to people that we needed to speak to, and realize what our end goals were,” he says. “Being engaged with Customer Success teams from the get-go made things extremely easy.”
Empowering customers with a move to the cloud
As the Fusion team moved its infrastructure to Amazon Web Services, they used Okta APIs to enable secure customer single sign-on across applications, whether they still resided in ICAP data centers or had already moved to the cloud.
Help desk calls decreased, and customers appreciated the simplicity and speed at which ICAP implemented its new identity solution. “We’ve empowered ourselves and our customers to have agility with how they use the platform and how they get help. It became more of a self-service operation,” says Brown.
Rolling out Okta was very simple. We went from a one-week proof of concept, immediately into development.
“Rolling out Okta was very simple,” he says. “We went from a one-week proof of concept, immediately into development. Within a few months, we rolled out to production, and it was a smooth experience. Our customers were with us, they enjoyed the journey, and the feedback was amazing.”
For the ICAP Fusion team, Okta offered a way to build customer confidence and trust, providing a seamless user experience with the highest standards of security. They eliminated the silos between customer platforms, brought more visibility to customer behavior, and automated customer lifecycles, building a solid foundation for future development and interaction.
Seamless identity management for the entire organization
After their success with Fusion, ICAP leaders decided to immediately implement Okta Single Sign On, Adaptive Multi-Factor Authentication, and Lifecycle Management, tapping into the Okta Integration Network internally to facilitate a comprehensive move to the cloud for the entire organization. Today, Brown says, the company connects as many applications as possible to Okta.
“We see the benefits that having an application infrastructure like Okta in place can give us,” he says. The technology allows them to modernize their core infrastructure and prepare for the future, while supporting legacy applications.
To date, the company’s Okta-enabled applications include GitHub Enterprise, Red Hat Ansible Tower, Slack, and Jira. Some applications, such as Slack, empower employees to work from their mobile devices, and they do that easily and securely by logging into the Okta app on their phone.
“Slack uses Okta. We control it. We monitor it. It fits into the ecosystem,” says Brown. With user-friendly MFA, the risk of a security breach is low. With a single, cloud-based identity service covering multiple solutions, the company benefits in terms of cost and management outlay.
Today, onboarding new employees is remarkably easy, says Brown. “People can’t believe that other financials haven’t done this.” Coming from such a heavily regulated industry, new employees are used to jumping through cumbersome hoops to access their work every day.
Okta has turned that process into a seamless experience for them, he says. “You log into one application. Then, you go to another one that has nothing to do with it, and instantly, you’re there.” With automated onboarding and account management, employees can be productive from Day One, which is unheard-of in the industry.
Facilitating a major merger
2016 was a momentous year for ICAP in another important way. The company completed a merger of two companies: Tullett Prebon and ICAP, and changed its name to a combination of the two.
“With the new firm coming together [in 2017], we have new challenges,” says Brown. “But we’re very comfortable managing that with Okta. Because we have the tools and the expertise and flexibility that Okta provides, we can bring the firms together and integrate correctly. We know we can keep domains separate if we need to, and synchronize across them. We know that we can do this without causing risk and cost to our customers.”
With Okta, the company could reduce the costs of integration and realize quicker time-to-value for the entire merger.
Okta Universal Directory made it simple for TP ICAP to integrate directories and speed up domain consolidation. With Okta, the company could reduce the costs of integration and realize quicker time-to-value for the entire merger. Employees of both companies could be more productive from the first day of combined business, and with a single control point for identity management, that productivity actually came with enhanced security benefits.
A pattern for ongoing integration and automation
Going into 2018, TP ICAP is looking at moving Office 365 onto Okta. They also plan to go beyond development and productivity applications, to integrate applications for HR and other areas of the business onto the Okta platform.
“Leveraging the cloud is very important to us,” says Brown. “We have a way of working, and we’re going to continue using this way of working as a pattern. How we’ve operated with Okta is going to move into other areas in the firm.
Ideally, our journey with Okta will move to a fully automated one, where onboarding, application provisioning, and everything becomes part of the experience. That’s where we want to get to.”
From our perspective, they seem to be well on their way.
About TP ICAP
TP ICAP is a global brokerage and information firm, playing a central role at the heart of the world’s wholesale financial, energy, and commodities markets. The company’s portfolio of businesses offers intermediary services, contextual insights and intelligence, trade execution solutions, data, and analytics.