In November of 2009, NYSE Euronext brought on Bob Kerner, now the company’s SVP & Chief Digital Officer, to take over responsibility for their web and ecommerce systems.
NYSE Euronext (NYX) is a leading global operator of financial markets and provider of innovative trading technologies. The company's exchanges in Europe and the United States trade equities, futures, options, fixed-income and exchange-traded products.
With approximately 8,000 listed issues, NYSE Euronext's equities markets - the New York Stock Exchange, NYSE Euronext, NYSE Amex, NYSE Alternext and NYSE Arca - represent one-third of the world's equities trading, the most liquidity of any global exchange group. NYSE Euronext is in the S&P 500 index, and is the only exchange operator in the S&P 100 index and Fortune 500.
When Kerner arrived, NYSE Euronext was using a lot of legacy content management systems (CMS) that were not adequate or easy to use.
“The systems process and organization and the site’s structure didn’t allow for any incremental business value,” said Kerner. “The development process needed to become more unencumbered, and allow for our web development teams to test or develop efficiently. Plus, the web vendors involved charged huge expensive licensing fees.”
Kerner came in and quickly redirected the project. “It took only 2-3 days to convince management to move in a different direction,” said Kerner.
Then Kerner began looking for a solution. He wanted a web content management platform that was 1) open source and 2) had a lot of community support behind it.
'I believe in the success of the open source model – when you get developers excited about building in open source they become really engaged in the environment. They want to reap the benefits of the community and solve problems within the community, and that helps out everyone,' said Kerner.
Kerner looked at a number of open source solutions and spoke to a large number of professional contacts in the NYC areas to see what other large organizations such as the United Nations and others were doing for their website development.
Drupal kept coming up as the open source web content management platform that Kerner’s contacts were either looking into or were most interested in. “Large companies were telling me both what not to use and that they were investigating Drupal, doing their own in-house due diligence on Drupal as an alternative solution,” said Kerner.
While no one among these large companies were actually using Drupal, it seemed to best fit Kerner’s selection criteria and took just a few days to decide to go with it. “There wasn’t a lot of time to make a decision. We had to move quickly toward a solution, and if that one didn’t work we could move on to the next solution if needed,” said Kerner.
Kerner committed to having a new site up and running using Drupal in one month (January 2010) - a blogging platform called Exchanges – as a test drive. And within two months (March 2010) he committed to have NYSE Money Sense – a pro bono consumer facing website that provides investment advice and education – and NYSE Connect - an online community/digital social network built for NYSE-listed company employees, associates and partners – re-built and running on Drupal.
Throughout the project, Kerner worked very closely with Acquia, provider of commercial products, services and consulting for Drupal.
All three sites were developed on time and well received. According to Kerner, “Once we had those sites up and running there was a huge pent up demand for other sites in the company, and we launched 37 more. It was a big task, as some of those websites hold tens of thousands of pages - being highly regulated we are required to post everything we do online.”
"Drupal really fit in line with how we want to architect a site – it is very modular and you can have multiple teams work at the same time," said Kerner. “Conversely, when I first came aboard, I asked the development team to demonstrate how to add a layer of menuing to the website, and they told me they couldn’t do it – was too hard and involved too much coding.”
“With Drupal each time we deploy a site, we also deploy a set of tools that business people can use to put the content on their site themselves – typically a publishing team or editorial team. The important thing is the person adding content does not need to be in web development,” he said.
Kerner also likes the way that Drupal allows him to reuse code and modules. “It’s very efficient” he said. “If you want to use various modules, it’s simply of matter of checking a box and applying the module to the new site.”
He also likes the roles and authorizations that Drupal has – i.e. rules on what people can see, so that the Paris office employees can’t see the human resources pages in the United States. “We have flexibility in Drupal, and didn’t have to do as much to make the website happen,” he said.
'Our measure for success has been the business feedback we receive about the sites, and it’s all been positive,' Kerner said. 'The important thing for us is that we are able to keep a relatively small team of 60 developers, while the company maintains larger groups of publishing and editorial teams which is more cost effective. Plus we have eliminated the exorbitant licensing fees.'
“With Drupal we are able to find instead build what we need. And if someone wants something on the sites we can go to Google and find a module. For example, one of the groups decided they wanted a splash page within four hours before we were to launch the site. We simply looked on Google, found the module, and got it functioning. No code needed to be written,” he said.
This year Kerner and his team will focus on migrating all websites from their legacy CMS system to Drupal. In the future, Kerner plans to put the company’s ecommerce site for market data on Drupal, and also expand into new spaces with social media and mobile. He said,
“We have tons of work to do, but we will rely on Drupal to build our social community.”