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What is Tapaas doing to help us through the Crisis?

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When I read about the escalating COVID-19 crisis and its impact on business, I think, “How are Tapaas customers being impacted?” and “What can Tapaas do to help?” 

Considering the business our customers are in, there are two impacts that immediately come to mind: increased data volumes from market volatility will stress performance and stability of most systems; and customer staff may be sent home into isolation at any time and they will need access to Tapaas to work. 

Here are my thoughts on how we can help:

  • Make Tapaas dashboards available from anywhere (not just the office);
  • Assure Tapaas continues to operate normally in these extreme conditions; and
  • Share what we learned about working remotely over the past 5 years.

Please contact me if you can think of anything else we could be doing to help.

Tapaas is Designed for Extreme Conditions

Tom and I know, from many years of experience in financial markets and electronic trading, that you must design systems for extreme conditions. Just coping with the everyday is not good enough. The most important time for the Tapaas Platform to perform is during instances of extreme volatility and trading volume. Of course the corollary of this is that the worst time for a system to fail is during extreme market conditions which is when the system is needed most. So we designed Tapaas for extreme market conditions which generate massive surges in data volume. 

This design for extremes has proven successful throughout our history. In January 2015, the week after we went live with our first customer IC Markets, we experienced the SNB Crisis. Throughout the ensuing market volatility, thanks to Tapaas, IC Markets always knew exactly where they stood in terms of Risk Exposure and PnL. Then in June 2016, as the Brexit vote was rapidly approaching, our next largest customer came on board after a phone call stating, “if you can have it live before Brexit, we’ll take it.” They are of course still a satisfied customer today.

Tapaas Team Works Remotely

Beyond having designed for extremes, we also need to assure continuity of our team’s working environment. One of the ways we achieve this is through everyone working remotely.

Tapaas has been a remote working company from the start. In all honesty, we started as a remote working company for economic reasons. We bootstrapped Tapaas with sweat equity. So, we did not have excess capital to spend on office space. Tom and I both worked from home. Now, revenue has grown enough that we can easily afford office space. But, we have made a conscious decision to remain a remote working company. Everyone works remotely every day, not just during a crisis.

We have learned there are many benefits from working remotely. But, there are many challenges as well. We are continually working to improve how we address the challenges of remote work and learning from other successful companies that work remotely. 

One of the companies I follow is Automatic, the developers of WordPress, a 900 person global enterprise all working remotely. Matt Mullenweg, the founder, has been sharing his learnings and those of other Distributed companies on his Blog and Podcast, Distributed. Matt just published this article on Corona Virus and remote work which I think contains a lot of valuable guidance for those of you who suddenly find yourselves responsible for a remote workforce. 

You can read the article, but here are my essentials:

Good audio

Get some headphones. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to have a conference call full of noise. Matt’s team recommends these Sennheisers

Good Internet 

Spend the money on a good ISP Plan. Also, for backup and mobility, try this Netgear Nighthawk Mobile Hotspot and a lot of data capacity on your mobile plan.

Zoom 

Of all the video and audio conferencing tools I’ve used, Zoom is my favourite because it seems to be best at coping with extreme variation in network quality of the participants. This is crucial when team members are working remotely. It also has a great mobile app.

Slack

No doubt Instant Messaging and/or Chat are remote work enablers and much better than email. Rather than try to keep up on everything, Channels allow organising the conversations by topic and remote workers can tune in to the channels that are important to them rather than try to filter all the noise they are CC’d on. 

Presence Setting

Presence setting is very important when you cannot just look around the room to see if someone is in the office. Set your presence when you walk away from your desk or you are trying to concentrate on something like writing code or a blog post. Ok, I’m guilty. I never set my presence. I’ll try to do better. 

There is much more that could be written about what is required to facilitate working remotely. 

Access Tapaas Remotely

If your team must work remotely, they can now access Tapaas from any location with good internet. Up until recently, Tapaas users were restricted to access the Platform only from their office because we restricted access using an IP Whitelist in our Firewall. We have recently invested in a new Identity Provider and Single Sign On technology which alleviate the need for restricting access to Tapaas Dashboards to Whitelisted IP Addresses while preserving security. This means users can access Tapaas from anywhere, including home.

If you are not already using our new Single Sign On to log into Tapaas and you would like to access Tapaas remotely, please contact our Support team.

For any other inquiries, Contact Us.

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