The Decade-Long Nasdaq and AWS Collaboration Scales New Heights as Women Leaders #BreakTheBias
By Lauren Dillard, Executive Vice President, Investment Intelligence – Nasdaq
By Ruba Borno, Vice President, Worldwide Channels and Alliances – AWS
In a recent Bloomberg Businessweek Podcast recorded just after International Women’s Day 2022, senior executives from Nasdaq and Amazon Web Services (AWS) discussed the landmark moment in Nasdaq’s cloud journey to build the next generation of cloud-enabled infrastructure for the world’s capital markets, running on AWS.
In this post, we highlight moments from the podcast featuring Lauren Dillard, Executive Vice President, Investment Intelligence at Nasdaq, and Ruba Borno, Vice President, Worldwide Channels and Alliances at AWS. The two women explore the decade-long collaboration between Nasdaq and AWS, and the alignment of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts at both companies that will support their future growth.
The International Women’s Day theme for 2022 is #BreakTheBias. This theme acknowledges that gender biases, discrimination, and stereotypes exist, and provides an opportunity to be part of a movement that promotes a diverse, equitable, and inclusive culture both individually and collectively as an organization.
Nasdaq’s Lauren Dillard, left, and AWS’s Ruba Borno.
Scalability and the Future of Financial Markets
Prior to Nasdaq announcing its latest migration plans to the cloud, markets were experiencing extreme volatility as the pandemic continued to ripple across the globe. The U.S. markets experienced a significant increase during the pandemic, with an influx of retail investors.
The level of trading activities remains in early 2022, reaching record message traffic of 84.9 billion in Nasdaq’s U.S. options market—more than five times the average daily volume pre-pandemic. The rate of accelerated volume and volatility heightens the importance of ensuring the scalability and resilience of markets.
As the world’s first electronic stock exchange, and a technology provider to over 130 market infrastructure clients, Nasdaq is uniquely positioned to meet the challenges of the rapidly-shifting landscape of global financial markets. Today, Nasdaq has an end-to-end, order-to-trade processing time of less than 20 microseconds, and each of its matching servers process three million messages per second.
With many of Nasdaq’s data, technology and analytics solutions already cloud-enabled, shifting on-premises market operations represents a major step forward in its tech ambition, requiring scalability, reliability, and throughput, as well as close collaboration with market participants.
“This cloud journey is critical not only for our own markets, but also all the exchanges and banks and clearinghouses and other technology platforms we provide and that rely on us for clearing, trading, surveillance, and settlement.”
~ Lauren Dillard, Executive Vice President, Investment Intelligence at Nasdaq
Forward-Looking and Robust Migration
Over the years, Nasdaq has advanced its cloud agenda. Starting in 2008, Nasdaq was an early adopter of cloud technology as it migrated non-critical systems, market data, data storage, and regulatory reporting to the cloud.
Ruba spoke to the diligent phasing of Nasdaq’s migration to the cloud: “If I go back to even 2014, when Nasdaq first moved from an on-premises data warehouse to an AWS data warehouse, the increased scale and performance and lowered operational costs that resulted was really the start of it.”
Nasdaq has worked with AWS to co-design an edge compute platform, which leverages AWS Outposts, that can be packaged and tailored for ultra-low latency capital markets use cases, and will be deployed directly into Nasdaq’s primary data center, in Carteret, New Jersey.
In November 2021, Nasdaq took the next logical step in its journey and began moving its matching engine for the U.S. options market to the AWS Cloud.
“We have a lot of the surrounding systems already in the cloud because we have been on this journey with AWS for over a decade now, but truly moving the matching engine is what we are endeavoring to do across the markets that Nasdaq runs and we are delighted with the partnership,” said Lauren.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Alignment
Built over a decade of working and innovating together, the relationship between Nasdaq and AWS means financial services customers get the best of both worlds: ultra-low latency, scalable, and high-performance workloads from Nasdaq run in a secure and fully resilient and scalable environment from AWS.
“This unique collaboration has been designed to meet the latency, fairness, and regulatory requirements of the world’s most critical markets.”
~ Ruba Borno, Vice President, Worldwide Channels and Alliances at AWS
Like AWS, Nasdaq is customer-focused. Rather than merely treat diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) as a pillar, Nasdaq champions inclusive growth and prosperity across the financial ecosystem as one of its driving principles. It looks to power stronger economies, create more equitable opportunities, and contribute to a more sustainable world to help its clients, employees, and people of all backgrounds reach their full potential.
Standardized disclosure and transparency of public company boards, free flow of information, and better investment decision making through the power of capital markets, data, and technology are cornerstones of this policy.
AWS and Nasdaq are focused on integrating DEI into their organizational structure across all levels and functions. As women who occupy senior roles of influence across their organizations, Lauren and Ruba are primed to be advocates for a more inclusive workforce.
Amazon-wide, the goal is to increase the number of women at the senior principal, director, vice president, and distinguished engineer level in technology and science roles by 30% year over year. Driven by a belief that solid mechanisms trump good intentions, AWS adopts a data-driven approach to cultivate a culture of inclusion.
In 2020, AWS set and met goals to double the representation of Black directors and vice presidents, and then in 2021, set that same goal. In December 2020, Amazon committed to investing hundreds of millions of dollars to provide free cloud computing skills training to 29 million people by 2025.
As AWS celebrates International Women’s Day in 2022, the AWS Partner Network (APN) is honored to share perspectives from female technical leaders from the global AWS Partner Ambassadors community. This blog series highlights six trailblazing women who have shared their personal stories of how they overcame challenges, stereotypes, and barriers in their careers, who inspires them to #BreakTheBias every day, and valuable advice on developing a career in technology.
Looking to the Future
The future is here, with the Nasdaq and AWS collaboration working to deploy cloud-based solutions for trading in several marketplaces and market infrastructure operators around the world.
Nasdaq’s cloud journey will provide markets a blueprint template for their own migration to the cloud. Meanwhile, Nasdaq’s championing of inclusive growth and prosperity is aided by technology that makes markets more accessible to the largest number of people possible.
Listen to more of Lauren Dillard and Ruba Borno’s perspectives on the Bloomberg Businessweek Podcast.