You can’t wander far in the online trading and financial technology world without running into the names SpotOption and Metaquotes. Both of these companies have made names for themselves in recent years as industry leaders when it comes to creating and innovating massively popular backend and frontend technology solutions. Successful traders and brokers already know what beginners will soon learn; it takes more than discipline, risk management, and a good trading strategy to make money in the financial markets. You also need good tools.
SpotOption: Gamechanger #1
A Passion for Technology
Back in 2010, Pini Peter had an idea that a maturing online trading industry needed to focus on technology more than anything else. Sure, brokers and traders play their critical roles, but without a solid platform to hold everything in place, the industry would never be able to evolve past a loose collection of mercenaries. Rather than settle for merely creating a high level brokerage, Peter decided to rise above the competitive fray and hire the best programmers, developers, and designers, then put them to work creating a single platform to serve all the brokers.
The early days of online trading were a piecemeal disaster of competing companies in competition to perform an array of services. Some specialized in the frontend handling of customer trades and others focused on various backend operations. The problem, from the broker and end user perspective, was that they ended up faced with the monumental task of trying to make a handful of disparate systems play nice together. This is where the visionaries behind the two respective companies, Metaquotes and SpotOption, realized that – to borrow a line from Lord of the Rings – one software to rule them all was needed. Or in this case two. In other words, someone needed to step up and offer a complete CRM technology and trading platform solution.
Evaluating Industry Needs
To understand the power of a complete CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software system, one must first realize the variety of tasks that go on behind the scenes at any brokerage. Your CRM software needs to be able to manage and analyze practices, strategies, and technologies related to customer data and interactions throughout the customer lifecycle. The goal of any CRM software is to improve customer relationships with the ultimate end in mind of retaining them for the long term and increasing how much they spend with your company.
Sounds simple, but think of how much goes into a complete backend system: contact management; action history; send and receive emails; create follow up reminders; manage products, quotes, orders, and invoices; manage payments; maintain relationships with suppliers; and much, much more. This is just a partial list of all the things a backend manager at an online trading brokerage needs to think about at all times unless he or she implements the kind of next generation technology such as the SpotOption CRM and the latest iteration Spot+, which takes marketing automation to a new level.
In order to maximize profit and keep growing, smart owners spend much more of their time working ON their business rather than IN it. Think about it like this. An owner is the entrepreneur and creator of the larger strategies that turn a startup into a global force. While there’s no shame in doing the grunt work of waiting on customers or updating the accounting records in the beginning, as soon as possible you should hire people to do that in order to free up your own time to create new marketing ideas, product lines, and making processes more efficient.
Hopefully, sooner rather than later an owner realizes that an even smarter decision than hiring a bunch of people to do mundane office tasks is to invest in a capable CRM that automates much of the drudgery. Keep in mind this is not a treatise against the value of human labor. It is instead a call from the front lines of trading technology to reinvent your business so that people are free to do people work while the software does the rest.
What Can You Expect from a High Level CRM?
To cut straight to the heart of the matter, a CRM like the Spot+ system will change the backend game for most companies through its highly automated approach to sales and marketing. This provides the opportunity to reach a larger audience, in less time, and using far less manpower. If you ever have any intention of operating a successful global business, there really is no option other to put the brainpower behind an international technology leader to work for you personally. It’s a good bet you won’t long for the good old days of dusty accounting ledgers and ten people doing the work of what one can do now with the right system in place.
MetaQuotes: Game Changer #2
What SpotOption has done to revolutionize the brokerage’s backend, MetaQuotes has done for the frontend interaction between traders and the market, primarily through its uber-popular trading platform known as MetaTrader. Formed in Russia in 2000, MetaQuotes has grown from specialized currency trading software to a platform that can be used by online traders to buy and sell almost any financial instrument they want. But how exactly did this company change the frontend game for traders? Through a little platform known as MT-4.
MT-4 and the Online Trading Revolution
If MetaQuotes had done nothing more than bring MT-4 to the trading community, it could have ceased operations immediately and still be considered the godfather of trading platforms for eternity. Obviously (perhaps) there were three iterations of the MetaTrader platform before MT-4 showed up in 2005. So, what is it about MT-4 that’s so great? With MT-4, the engineers and designers got it right in a big way. Though an even newer version, MT-5, showed up in 2010, traders have never embraced it the way they did the previous version. Since MT-4 retains such overwhelming popularity in the industry, that will be the focus for the rest of this article.
Integrating Brokers and Traders
The process works like this. MetaQuotes licenses a broker to allow his or her clients to download and install it on their home computer or access it through the web. The broker operates a server that sends continually updated financial information to the client. This includes streaming prices and charts that update by the second. Clients can also place orders and manage their accounts.
Why the massive adoption of MT-4?
There are several reasons for this. The client-side terminal was light years ahead of MT-3 in sophistication and the ability to conduct technical analysis using any or all of the 50 included market indicators. But even more than the fact that traders just liked the software, was the ability to create and install automated trading strategies, called robots or ‘bots. This empowers a trader to turn it on and go on vacation while the bot opens and closes trades automatically according to the rules of a predetermined strategy. With global financial markets open for business at all times of the day and night, especially Forex, MT-4 provided traders a set it and forget it option that allowed them to escape the need to monitor the market and manually open and close trades at odd hours. For savvy traders and programmers, this software pointed the way towards fortune and glory with very little effort.
When Giants Collide
Another reason the MT-4 platform became so popular was its ability to interact with third party services. It should come as no surprise that SpotOption decided to create a plugin that would allow their backend software to coordinate smoothly with a broker who had chosen to use the MetaTrader platform on the front end. While so many titans of a particular industry spend extraordinary time and resources battling each other, pointlessly bashing their heads together, SpotOption and MetaQuotes have provided a path to seamless integration that benefits the most critical link in the chain, the online trader.
The trend away from desktop and laptop computers and towards mobile devices like smartphones and tablets seems to pick up speed daily. With some estimates saying that more than half of all U.S. Internet traffic is conducted through a mobile device, it behooves brokers to insure their backend and frontend platforms are delivered with the goal of being as responsive when viewed on an iPhone as when they are a home computer. A good way to test a provider’s expertise in this area is to install and view their apps on your own phone. SpotOption in particular has made it a company mission to replicate the depth and breadth of a desktop experience inside an app.
There are dozens of credible backend and frontend software solutions to be found. While SpotOption and MetaQuotes are the acknowledged technology leaders in providing rock solid solutions to traders, that doesn’t mean those new to the scene should mindlessly follow the herd in lockstep. Take the time to visit forums and ask questions. Talk to company reps. Whether you’re a broker or trader, do your research. Figure out what features you need most and see which providers offer the best solutions. The two companies we’ve focused on in this article are popular for a reason, but make sure they are the right fit for your situation before getting onboard.