IMC is a leading technology driven trading firm active on over 100 exchanges and trading platforms across the world. Across offices, teams of technologists and traders work together to design and develop the software, hardware, networks and algorithms that drive their strategies and make them one of the world’s leading liquidity providers.
The search for a scalable knowledge sharing solution
At IMC, developers are split between three different offices — Chicago, Amsterdam and Sydney. For many years, the engineering team at IMC used a combination of internal and external tools for knowledge management. However, these different tools were disjointed. As a result, IMC’s developers often had trouble knowing where to ask a question or find information about a problem that had previously been solved.
“We had been looking for a decent shared knowledge system for as long as I can remember. Just like most companies out there, we have quite a bit of tribal knowledge about our systems but it’s spread across many different forms,” explains Tyler McDougall, Development Team Lead at IMC.
Tyler and his colleagues were avid users of stackoverflow.com, so when they came across Stack Overflow for Enterprise, it seemed like the perfect fit.
“Stack Overflow speaks for itself. Everybody knows about it, everybody uses it, everybody wants it, and this is what we wanted.”
Tyler, who spearheaded the implementation of Stack Overflow for Enterprise at IMC, used his involvement in the company’s onboarding process as an opportunity for introducing the product to new developers. After selecting developer moderators and developing a baseline of questions and answers, he started to drive engagement on the platform by introducing it to people that just joined the organization.
“If I were to join an organization this [Stack Overflow for Enterprise] is exactly what I would want. It’s intimidating when you first join a company - you don’t want to feel stupid for asking what might feel like obvious questions. But if there was a place where you could vet them beforehand, that would be perfect. You can improve the overall efficiency and the health of the people onboarding in the organization with something like this,” explains Tyler.
With this in mind, Tyler would show all the new software engineers at the company how IMC uses Stack Overflow for Enterprise so they were actively using Stack Overflow to ask questions within the first couple of days on the job.
“Stack sells itself. People know what it is, so it’s not a surprise. They already have opinions on it and how it could be used. You just need a catalyst there to start it and then remind people about it every once in a while,” notes Tyler.
Tyler was that catalyst for IMC, and with his involvement in onboarding, learning and development, and engineering, he was able to lead an effective strategy for developers to start using the platform.
Engagement is the mark of a healthy community and ensures quality and quantity of content remains high. To help spark that engagement, Tyler’s team started sending a weekly digest to their developers. The email digest listed the top users, top questions, reference tags, direct links, and calls to action. This gave developers visibility into what kinds of questions were being asked, what needed to be answered and reminded them to visit the platform on a regular basis.
Tyler’s team began to track user engagement and leveraged Stack Overflow’s API to develop an internal dashboard where they could see who from what office, region, and role was using Stack Overflow for Enterprise. Engagement became a metric that Tyler could set goals against and share with others at the company.
To give engagement even more of a boost, Tyler’s team created an integration with their internal developer Slack channel. As soon as someone asked a question on the platform, all members of the Slack channel were notified. Since implementing this integration, 95% of all questions asked on Stack Overflow for Enterprise are answered within minutes.
“We don’t have questions that are unanswered more than a couple minutes. It just doesn’t happen. The user adoption and engagement with the platform has been very impressive.”
One of the success stories that really convinced the team at IMC early on that Stack Overflow for Enterprise was really making their developer organization more successful was a question from a trader in Sydney. This trader used Stack Overflow for Enterprise to ask a question about a particular API query that was slowing down his work, and he couldn’t figure out why he was having this problem. After a couple back and forths with a developer in Chicago, he figured out that he was selecting a date range that was too wide and was able to resolve the issue to get the results under a second. Before Stack Overflow for Enterprise, there was no way to connect the two, and no way to know that someone in Chicago would have the answer to a question from someone in Sydney.
Looking to the future
Tyler and the team at IMC have already achieved their objectives with onboarding, developing integrations and measuring the effectiveness of the platform. Stack Overflow for Enterprise is becoming part of every developer’s morning coffee routine at IMC. Whether it’s going to Stack Overflow directly, or using it through one of their internal integrations, the seamless integration of the product into a developer’s workflow is making the company more successful and efficient.