September 24, 2013

StockTouch, a heat map application that tracks stock market activity, is now reliant on the cloud ecosystem to feed the data for 5,000 stocks and an expanding number of information sets. The java run tool, declared the #1 financial iPad app by Apple and used by over 400,000 users per month on mobile and desktop devices, relies on a gaming engine to visualize statistical data.

Earlier this summer, in anticipation of company growth and expanded offerings, StockTouch moved over from a standard AWS to Nasdaq's FinQloud on the advice of one of its colleagues and users who thought the platform had great future for institutions.

Why FinQloud?

So, what is the free stock market tool with game-like functionality doing with FinQloud, "a secure cloud computing platform designed exclusively for the financial services sector" (as described on its homepage)? According to StockTouch CEO and founder Jennifer Johnson, FinQloud hosting has benefited their business model in many ways.

First, Johnson feels the shift has improved the company's reputation for delivering quality information. "Even though it's a retail application, we get data from commercial sources. [Moving to FinQloud] has legitimized the company and industry. We always had a cult following of Wall Street users on the retail application," she adds, "this brought us to the business level. Now we're in the same ecosystem."

Yet the main motivation for switching to FinQloud is scalability for their planned growth. "One of the extensions for the business is adding data to our applications. Being core in the finance and exchange and serving institutions, FinQloud has the expertise to work at that kind of level." From a security standpoint FinQloud is significantly different than AWS, and the company has never hosted portfolio or sensitive data before, but that could change. "The future of what we we would do is much more matched with what FinQloud offers," she says. "Adding data is simpler to develop, stage, modify, and expand using a cloud-based background."

From Nasdaq's viewpoint, StockTouch is a particularly interesting use case as it computes data within the cloud platform and then uses the gaming technology as a faster way to update data in mobile applications with high speed networks. As the industry migrates towards mobile, game mechanics seem an increasingly effective way for people to interact with mobile devices like tablets.

[To learn more about new opportunities in mobility in financial services, check out the agenda for the New Opportunities for Mobility: A Financial CIO/CTO Roundtable session at the upcoming Interop event in NYC.]

Julia Sears, associate VP of FinQloud at Nasdaq OMX, says in an interview the cloud platform can help provide additional stock data, reference data, and more elements for longer term business plans. She adds that there is a different level of service for FinQloud users where they can rely on the infrastructure a bit more rather than a "black box" cloud offering, or build it all with hardware rather than cloud computing.

"Today, StockTouch is a product and we’re expanding it into a platform so FinQloud," concludes Johnson. " This is basically the first step for our company to go from where we are now to a larger business purpose." So far, the application is seeing efficient conversions with 33% revenue growth month over month on FinQloud.

Before joining UBM Becca served as Editor-In-Chief at Kapitall Wire, the sister site to an online brokerage firm that combines the challenges of the stock market with the thrill of ...