Moving at warp speed to out-innovate the competition.

Nasdaq’s story is all about innovation. Founded in 1971 as primarily a U.S.-based equities exchange, Nasdaq set a new standard with its invention of electronic trading and the modern IPO. More than 40 years later, Nasdaq is still a disruptor. It’s recognized as a global leader in diversified worldwide financial technology, trading and information services.

With a presence in every capital market on the planet, and more than 3,500 employees on six continents, Nasdaq prides itself in setting revolutionary precedents in business technology—and moving fast.

The biggest part of the digital transformation to me is acceleration. Pluralsight is a key part of how Nasdaq is trying to keep up and be ahead. We’re only as good as our teams are.
Heather Abbot
Heather Abbott

Heather found when Nasdaq needed to update applications, her colleagues didn't have the skills they needed to make it happen. Instead, they'd revert to their comfort zones, sticking with older versions of applications.

“We have to maintain speed just like any organization,” says Heather Abbott, “But we also have the drag of so many older applications that are harder to modernize. The challenge is keeping up to date and doing that at the right price.”

When she explored why this happened, she realized they needed more active learning time to drive business outcomes. Passive learning wasn’t cutting it.

Nasdaq at a glance
  • More than 3,500 Nasdaq colleagues serve businesses and investors from over 50 offices in 26 countries across six continents
  • Offers four complementary business segments – Tech, Trade, Intel and List
  • First in the world to launch a financial website,
  • Nasdaq’s portfolio offers business development, technological processes and public relations products

“Nasdaq moves at a million miles an hour,” says Heather. “Things were just moving so quickly it caused a skills gap, and this made teams pump the brakes because they weren’t fully comfortable with a particular technology.”

But how to insert active learning into an already full workday, with flexibility to match Nasdaq’s signature pace?

Keeping teams current

Heather started experimenting with learning options. She discovered Pluralsight as a tool to stay current on new technologies. “I need to stay current just like everybody else,” Heather says, “and I found Pluralsight was a great platform to get quick hits, understand what’s relevant and then have the opportunity to dive deeper on most every technology that is current today.”

She quickly realized Pluralsight was the perfect platform to help her team members keep pace and was surprised to learn several teams were already using it.

Nasdaq's Challenge
  • Slowed progress
  • Limited innovation
  • No space for thinking, learning and experimentation
Pluralsight's Solution
  • 5,500+ high-quality courses
  • Flexible training that allows colleagues to train on their schedule
  • Skills Assessments to match colleagues with projects they're passionate about

“I began asking myself and asking these teams, ‘How can we use this more strategically across our organization?’ That led to an evolution that we’re still on,” she says.

To date, Nasdaq has hundreds of technologists using Pluralsight, and the number is growing. With positive results that are easy to see, other teams are catching on.

Setting the pace of innovation

Having a learning solution that helps employees innovate with confidence ensures Nasdaq stays ahead of the competition.

A lot of the innovation we are seeing at Nasdaq has happened naturally because of the Pluralsight courses people chose based on what’s emerging and hot at any given time.
Heather Abbot
Heather Abbott

Take ReactJS. Recently, several teams started taking React courses on Pluralsight. Around the same time, the company launched a new platform that relied heavily on JavaScript. When the platform experienced performance issues, the employees could quickly use the skills they learned on Pluralsight to apply React.

Nasdaq's business objectives achieved with Pluralsight:
  • Foster and enable innovation
  • Empower employees to keep up and ahead of new technologies
  • Navigate new growth by smoothing acquisition integration
  • Support and encourage career education

Nasdaq employees have also been seeking out courses on topics like machine learning and intelligence, virtual and augmented reality, data science and data engineering. As the pace of technology accelerates to push the boundaries of what’s possible, Nasdaq intends to lead the pack.

Staying ahead means Nasdaq employees need agile tools available at their fingertips. Rather than waiting for a live training every few months, or approaching a team leader, employees can jump in and out of Pluralsight for answers they need at crucial moments. They also have the option of developing a new skill from beginning to end, and learning on their own schedule and at their own pace.

Retaining, recruiting and
maximizing talent

Using Pluralsight has also allowed Nasdaq to enhance its hiring and employee development processes to attract and retain top talent, which is essential in such a competitive market. Having Pluralsight helps Nasdaq build the best teams to position it for long-term success.

Nasdaq new hires get introduced to Pluralsight right away via required learning during onboarding. By offering an opportunity to continue learning new skills through Pluralsight, Nasdaq is able to show — not just tell — new hires and prospective employees that the company provides space for developing new skills and supports their professional curiosity.

I want to encourage people to just organically learn what they are interested in because that spawns innovation and great creative ideas and also improves team engagement.
Heather Abbot
Heather Abbott

For existing employees, projects with advancing technologies require fresh skillsets, but in the past they didn’t always have the resources or time they needed to learn. This slowed progress and innovation. Now they have access to Pluralsight’s library of more than 5,500 courses to help them close skill gaps.

“There’s a great deal of support to learn and experiment, and I believe that permeates the organization,” says Heather. “That’s part of why we’re able to move quickly.”

Smoothing acquisition integration and driving growth

Nasdaq has accomplished goals and solved problems faster with the help of Pluralsight, but there is more in store for the partnership.

“As people see an opportunity and are motivated to learn and feel like they have a safe environment, hopefully they will plug into those new technologies and improve the user experience,” says Heather, “Those are some of the areas where I see Pluralsight making a huge difference for us.”

As team members in every part of the organization seize new ideas, Heather hopes they’ll start dictating the direction of future development. When people are able to learn on their own and explore topics they’re passionate about, innovation will follow.

Pluralsight can also help Nasdaq successfully navigate future growth and expansion. “We’re very acquisitive,” Heather says. “We acquired four companies last year, so I see us using Pluralsight to integrate those acquisitions really quickly, by helping us understand people’s skills and make decisions about where they will best fit into our organization.”

Pluralsight skill tests can help Nasdaq do just that. The tests allow Nasdaq to see the strengths of individual employees, helping managers match team members to the projects that fit them best.

Moving forward, faster

Nasdaq continues to be a leader in digital and technological innovation. By committing to building an environment that supports and encourages skill development, Nasdaq positions itself to continue its reputation as a trendsetter.

“The organization moves at warp speed, but you still have the opportunity to take matters of learning and development into your own hands,” Heather says. “To me, that’s the most fun and challenging part of my job.”


Want to increase the speed of innovation at your organization?