CME Group's CIO Tackles Merger Integrations, Big Data

Kevin Kometer started at futures exchange CME group as a lead programmer, but by accepting myriad positions over the past 20 years, he accumulated the knowledge to lead a global company that electronically processes 3 million futures contracts a year.

By Lucas Mearian
Mon, October 08, 2012

Computerworld — As senior managing director and CIO at CME Group for the past five years, Kevin Kometer oversaw IT operations during the futures exchange's merger with the Chicago Board of Trade and its acquisition of The New York Mercantile Exchange. He is responsible for advancing the global growth of the company's IT infrastructure, including technology distribution for 15 strategic partnerships and 10 telecommunication hubs around the world. Last year, CME processed almost 3 million futures contracts. The company is currently rolling out the next version of its 20-year-old Globex electronic trading system.

Kevin Kometer

The iPadIs there something that most people don't know about you? I was turned down for my first job in technology -- they didn't think I would stay in the [IT field].Have you read any good books recently?Zero Day, by David BaldacciWhat do you do during off-hours? I have four kids, so that consumes a great deal of time. They all love the water, just like me, so we enjoy boating and Jet Skiing. I also love golf and tennis.What do you like most about your job? It's never boring -- ever.

You've led several mergers since becoming CIO.What key lessons have you learned about integrating disparate platforms? I would say it's all about setting expectations early on as it relates to the direction of these platforms and the scope. So we created a nice framework going from high-level planning with significant leaders down into detailed planning thereafter. You do need to lock in the scope and expectations so you can get the teams on both sides -- the company you're acquiring and your company -- working toward the same goal.

What about project scope creep?How do you handle that? It often happens, and it's [not uncommon] when you're dealing with two different companies and you've got bias toward one system versus the other. You've got to keep your eye toward what the goals are, whether its synergy or functionality, and make sure the business is aligning with its decision-making toward those goals.

Has the CME Groupconsumerization of IT challenged CME?And how have you addressed the issue of employees using their personal mobile devices on the job? We've been largely a BlackBerry shop. We decided the biggest factor is security. So we came up with [a policy] we felt comfortable with from a security perspective. [We have] some basic security requirements, such as wiping, and a list of phones we're comfortable providing. We've allowed our staff to choose from that list. We definitely see an appetite for the iPhone. So we've rolled out iPhones quite a bit over the last year.

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