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NEXT Brings Uniformity to Bloomberg Professional Service

113,000 clients already using Bloomberg NEXT, which enhances information access, uniformity across the application and workflow, according to the company's co-founder.

Bloomberg NEXT, the latest "major" revision to the Bloomberg Professional service, brings uniformity across the entire product, said Tom Secunda, Bloomberg LP co-founder, vice chairman and head of the company's financial products and services division.

At a press conference in Bloomberg's New York headquarters yesterday, Secunda spoke of how the markets have changed. "Bloomberg Professional service," also known as "the Terminal" to 313,000 subscribers, "is a single product and having a single product is a major challenge," Secunda said. "Bloomberg [Professional] is not a collection of systems that have been bought over the years.

[To hear more from Bloomberg Co-Founder Tom Secunda and how Bloomberg LP develops technology, read Inside the Bloomberg Machine.]

"Today, the market is more interconnected," Secunda continued. "Who would have thought 10 years ago that if you were trading US technology equity, you would care about Greek interest rates. As the markets have gotten more complex, we have to answer the challenge."

The other main enhancements to Bloomberg NEXT include better discoverability, which allow users to get direct answers to queries as well as pull together a wide variety of related details such as companies, research and charts. NEXT also creates a more intuitive workflow, so a user can navigate through the series of questions and answers to making market decisions.

Currently, over 100,000 users have been converted to the Bloomberg NEXT, said Rick Powell, Global Head of Communications, Bloomberg LP. "This is not vaporware," Powell said. "This is not us guessing what our customers want. The proof is in the numbers."

Powell added that 99 percent of the users who converted to NEXT are still using it and have not asked to revert to the old product. Also, 66 percent of NEXT users are using functionality and features that are only available on NEXT. Bloomberg LP will likely discontinue the older version of Bloomberg Professional later this year after all remaining clients are converted, which will happen during the upcoming months.

Bloomberg NEXT, said Shawn Edwards, chief technology officer for Bloomberg LP, providers users the with a user experience that carries across all of the terminal's functions. For instance, if an equity trader needs information about European sovereign debt, the look and feel of the screens is the same. "Uniformity across markets is very important, so no matter where you are in the Bloomberg system, it does the same thing," Edwards added.

"Bloomberg NEXT is really the next step in our evolution," Edwards said at the press event. "We got together and we said, 'We are so close to solving many challenges that our customers mention.' So we decided to step up and put a lot of focus on solving those problems. That is what Bloomberg NEXT is."

According to Edwards, NEXT was made possible because of a new technology development strategy and toolset called Rapid that was started four years ago at Bloomberg LP. "Rapid allows developers to code quickly and create Bloomberg applications in a super agile way," he said. "We can go from concept, to test, to prototype in a matter of days or weeks, not months."

To test NEXT's functionality, Bloomberg's user experience (UX) team spent a lot of time with customers. "Our design team made thousands of customer visits, made hundreds of prototypes and countless iterations," Edwards said. The Bloomberg design team also used Bloomberg's UX lab. "We used this when we really wanted to dive deep on a particular application. We combined great technology with great science in the usability lab to develop Bloomberg NEXT."

[For more on how how Bloomberg LP's UX lab helped develop NEXT, read Usability Lab Played Major Role in Bloomberg NEXT Development .] Greg MacSweeney is editorial director of InformationWeek Financial Services, whose brands include Wall Street & Technology, Bank Systems & Technology, Advanced Trading, and Insurance & Technology. View Full Bio

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