by Patrick Liddy*
Paul Julius Reuter founded the company that still bears his name in London in 1851 as a business transmitting stock market quotations and news. Reuter had set up his “Submarine Telegraph” office and negotiated a contract with the London Stock Exchange to provide stock prices from the continental exchanges in return for access to London prices.
In 1865, Reuters was the first ‘news’ organisation to report the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. The company was involved in developing the use of radio in 1923. Be innovative and be first seems always to have been the business plan. Not much has changed and this could be the best attribute of the company now known as Thomson Reuters to survive in a very competitive and changing market.
According to Philip Brittan, the company’s global chief technology officer for its financial and risk business, innovation and its application to the commercial world is in Thomson Reuters DNA. It revolves around the company’s four business areas, says Brittan. These are: insight; workflow; risk assessment; and, community connection.
All four areas are designed to help business leaders make the ‘best’ decisions at the optimal price. Brittan says: “We put the world at our clients’ fingertips.” Thomson Reuters big competitor, Bloomberg, may assault on a few lines but does not have the same array of services.”
Thomson Reuters provides integrated and intelligent information for businesses and professionals. The emphasis is on “intelligent information”, according to Brittan. This information is for serving clients in the “financial and risk, legal, tax and accounting, intellectual property and science and media markets.”
The company operates through four segments: financial and risk; legal, tax and accounting; and, intellectual property and science. The financial and risk segment provides critical news, information and analytics, enabling transactions and brings together communities that allow trading, investing, financial and corporate professionals to connect with ease. It is fundamentally a fintech company that puts it all together and delivers on many different fronts.
When asked about the key trends and threats facing businesses, Brittan cites: “Disruptive technologies, rapid evolution, the customers’ changing wants, the changing-plus-challenging role of regulations and, finally, the flourishing market of competitors.”
He says the company is constantly at the forefront and making sure that clients get the right information at the right time. Thomson Reuters has opened its platform to allow collaboration and innovation. This open tool allows the core-operating platform to be subject to constant innovation and change by the users, which is, to my knowledge, rather unique among established players.
The partnership-driven nature of the model is also reflected in the way Thomson Reuters interacts with clients. It is a relationship that seeks to maximize the utility of both its partnering shareholders.
Thomson Reuters is always looking to help its clients become “lean and efficient” along with being “fast and light”. These are excellent skills in a world economy where margin costs are trending ever-so low. Without this as a core thinking many industries and businesses are certain to fail.
*Patrick Liddy is a principal of MSI Group
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