What does a $300 million cable have to do with your bottom line?

20 09 2011

We’ve all heard the adage that time is money. Well, in the financial markets of New York and London, they measure that time in milliseconds and the money in hundreds of millions of dollars.

More precisely, a new transatlantic cable, currently in development, will save traders about 6 milliseconds per transmission. The project’s cost: $300 million. Once finished, the company behind the cable plans to charge as much as 50 times more to use the service than existing alternatives, and financial companies are already chomping at the bit to pay.

Why? According to one estimate, a savings of just one millisecond would add $100 million to a large hedge fund’s annual bottom line.

So where can your company shave time?

  • Start small. Sure, you’re not likely to see a $100 million savings, but even little time-savers — a few minutes here, a couple seconds there — add up and can help you work more productively.
  • Streamline processes. Engineers working on the new transatlantic cable project studied commercial flight paths between New York and London in planning their route. As a result, the new cable will be about 310 miles shorter than existing lines. What best practices can you follow to achieve similar savings at your company?
  • Plan for the future. This is the first new transatlantic line installed in the last 10 years, and planners have spared no expense to make sure it lives up to its promise. If it fails — or someone builds a faster conduit — all they’ll have is a very expensive piece of cord lying at the bottom of the ocean. So how can you plan ahead to keep momentum going? Start by investing in technology, building up infrastructure, and creating a mindset of efficiency and effort at your company.

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