Semmle at Nasdaq: Improving ROI and reducing time to market

Company:
NASDAQ

Industry:
Financial & Commodity Market Operators 

Company size:
4,700+

Headquartered:
New York, NY

Semmle product(s):
LGTM

Nasdaq Corporate Solutions, a business owned and operated by Nasdaq, Inc. and certain of its wholly-owned subsidiaries, is comprised of software and consultative services that provide investor relations intelligence, governance insights, and collaboration services to public and private companies. Nasdaq Corporate Solutions leverages Semmle’s LGTM product offering to optimize its product development processes and keep up with demand, while also designing secure and trustworthy products. 

As a technology organization that creates and markets software solutions, Nasdaq Corporate Solutions provides technology services to thousands of public and private companies and organizations globally. Nasdaq Corporate Solutions has grown organically and through acquisitions in recent years and develops and maintains a vast and complex application portfolio.

The challenge

Due to increased demand for Nasdaq Corporate Solutions products, Nasdaq’s enterprise technology team supporting the business unit needs to continuously improve delivery capacity without compromising the reliability or trustworthiness of the business unit’s products.

Meanwhile, developers are distributed geographically, spread across development facilities spanning three continents. Nasdaq supplements its core engineering team with a number of outsourcing partners to supply talent for short or long-term contracts to accelerate product delivery. Nasdaq faced challenges monitoring the use of best practices and standards across platforms, which in some instances led to reduced productivity and product quality for end customers.

Consequently, Heather Abbott, SVP of Global Corporate Solutions Technology at Nasdaq, identified a need to gain further transparency into her software engineering organization. 

Why Semmle

Abbott’s team at Nasdaq had worked previously with several traditional static analysis tools and software analysis products, without finding a specific solution that met Nasdaq’s needs. Existing solutions provided point in time metrics, lacked overall code base context and generally did not provide actionable decision information needed by Abbott and her executive peers. Nasdaq was introduced to Semmle, and soon a partnership was built. “Other solutions we have looked at provide a snapshot of the code quality for an application at a point in time,” says Bhavani Yellapragada, Nasdaq’s AVP of QA and DevOps, who led the on-boarding process, “Semmle tells us the full and rich story that we can use to transform our organization and improve our software.”

Semmle tells us the full and rich story that we can use to transform our organization and improve our software

Bhavani Yellapragada / AVP of QA and DevOps

Semmle’s ability to run analytics across the entire application portfolio, and ‘slice and dice’ the data by location, company, team, over time and down to every detail of a code change, combined with the accuracy of Semmle’s analysis results, made the difference for the team at Nasdaq. “When managing a global software development organization, you need to make informed decisions based on solid, reliable, and unbiased data,” says Abbott. Nasdaq leverages LGTM to help maximize their investment in outsourcing partnerships. “Semmle enables us to be data-driven leaders and facilitates unbiased honest conversations with our outsourcing partners in order to help us continually improve quality at a fair price,” says Abbott. 

Semmle’s products are used throughout Nasdaq Corporate Solutions, providing insights and recommendations to all stakeholders involved in software engineering for the business unit. Nasdaq executive management relies on analytics from LGTM for strategic decision making related to setting the organization's direction, in budgeting, in formulating learning and development strategy and for partner management. Engineering heads rely on Semmle to track the progress of development projects and lift the contributions across their teams. Development managers use the data to understand their development teams and state of their projects and to partner up developers who can learn from each other, while individual developers actively use LGTM to improve the quality and security of the projects they work on and to build new knowledge.

“Semmle provides everyone with information to do a continually better job,” says Abbott. “The way you view and use the data may be different, but it’s all based on the same data, which has empowered the developer community while providing transparency for leaders to improve their focus to guide and support their teams.”

Semmle provides everyone with information to do a continually better job

Heather Abbott / SVP of Global Corporate Solutions Technology

Results

Nasdaq experienced an uptick in the capabilities and capacity of the development organization after introducing Semmle. “Semmle has given us visibility into the skillsets across our organization, and provided us the ability to identify the different strengths and weaknesses to make strategic decisions to lift competencies across the entire team,” says Yellapragada. “Meanwhile we have completely changed the way people are writing code. We have put control back in the developers’ hands and are able to scale best practices quickly.”

Consequently, Nasdaq has brought down technical debt across the portfolio by more than 75% in the last year, reducing software risk and freeing up developers time for value-creating tasks. The key has been to integrate LGTM into developer workflows. “Today we can focus on preventing problems from being introduced instead of having to invest into fixing existing problems and bringing down technical debt,” Yellapragada says. “This makes a huge difference, and has allowed us to reduce time to market.”

The essence of our Nasdaq Corporate Solutions business is to deliver great software continuously, and LGTM is key for us to do that

Heather Abbott

Nasdaq sees a direct link between business performance and its ability to exercise data-driven leadership using LGTM in the Nasdaq Corporate Solutions business. 

“The essence of our Nasdaq Corporate Solutions business is to deliver great software continuously, and LGTM is key for us to do that,” Abbott says. 

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