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As Virtual Meetings Skyrocket, IHS Markit and OpenExchange Take Corporate Access to the Next Level

21 July 2020

Across the world, the first half of 2020 has brought more unprecedented changes than anyone could have predicted. This is especially true in primary and secondary markets, where the model for corporate and investor engagement has dramatically transformed - going forward, one can argue that things will never be the same.

The restrictions we experienced throughout the historic COVID-19 pandemic have rapidly accelerated our reliance on virtual events and video conferencing, which at the same time, has brought to light the competitive advantage of these channels. Based on what we've learned in recent months, it is clear that a brand-new horizon is emerging for sellside institutions.

With this in mind, and as part of our long-term strategy to enable greater digital engagement across the Global Markets Group at IHS Markit, we have expanded our strategic alliance with OpenExchange, a recognized leader in virtual communication technology.

To learn more about the enhanced collaboration with OpenExchange and how it will help elevate Corporate Access to capital markets, we spoke with McEvans Francois, executive director and co-head of the Brokerage, Research, Sales & Trading team at IHS Markit and Mark Loehr at OpenExchange. Concluding our discussion, Chris Sztam, managing director and head of the Global Markets Group at IHS Markit, weighs in with his thoughts.

IHS Markit and OpenExchange have had a five-year relationship, how has this changed?

Mark: As the premiere video solutions provider, in the face of the pandemic, we saw a natural opportunity to expand our collaboration with IHS Markit, the event management and data solution leader in capital markets. Our goal was to provide an enhanced solution and experience for our mutual clients and other players on the Street. With only a few months into this deeper layer of our relationship, we've both played an instrumental role in helping companies, brokers and investors transform Corporate Access from physical to digital through thousands of virtual meetings.

What is the strategic objective driving this alliance with OpenExchange?

McEvans: The expanded engagement with OpenExchange is specific to our Brokerage, Research, Sales & Trading group, with a focus on optimizing our virtual meeting capabilities for conferences and other Corporate Access events. This collaboration brings together a best-of-breed solution for continuity, efficiency and innovation at a time when in-person meetings, events and conferences have been fundamentally transformed by COVID-19. As we look to the future, it is clear that primary markets will dramatically increase their use of virtual meetings and working in alliance with OpenExchange helps ensure the best experience for our clients.

What functionality will be integrated from OpenExchange?

McEvans: Our event management systems - iPlanner and iConference - will house unique links to virtual meetings, company presentations, panel discussions, webinars and conferences that are managed using OpenExchange's industry-leading technology. The combined workflow allows our clients to effectively map a complex hierarchy of virtual event interactions that can be tailored to unique corporate audiences and buyside investors, enabling our broker-dealer clients to seamlessly manage and track schedule distributions and overall engagement.

How are IHS Markit and OpenExchange measuring digital engagement in Corporate Access?

McEvans: By working in close alliance with OpenExchange, we are empowering clients with statistics and engagement intelligence that could not be gathered from in-person meetings prior to COVID-19. Clients can now view engagement scores and details that represent interest-levels and connectivity to content, where in the past, post-event reporting was limited to whether an attendee showed up, did not show up or cancelled ahead of time.

To take it a step further, the engagement metrics we capture can advise on the popularity of individual presenters and presentation slides, the account level and in-depth measure of the most-watched content, retention curves at which viewers tapper off and the bounce rate on presentations, among other key points. While an in-person event may allow people to survey the feel of the room, mannerisms and body language, we are capturing objective patterns on digital engagement that will shape the future of our industry.

For our clients and prospects considering virtual conferences, we have seen a seismic shift over the past few months. Before COVID-19, we were asked, "How will we ever pull this off?" - now, the questions have shifted to, "How do I measure how my content is being received?" and "I noticed high levels of engagement in this specific presentation… what was so different here?" My personal favorite observation is from a client that "could never get this type of analytical insight previously."

How will this deliver greater value to our customers?

McEvans: Sellside banks and broker-dealers have been forced to quickly adapt their businesses to a world turned virtual. Through the alliance, our banking clients can scale virtual meetings by running them concurrently and optimize efficiency by having IHS Markit programmatically manage OpenExchange's virtual links through our event management solutions.

Wrap Up: Chris, what is your view on our relationship with OpenExchange?

Chris: IHS Markit provides innovative solutions to facilitate capital formation in both primary and secondary markets. In addition to our data, analytics and workflow tools, we are excited about the partnership with OpenExchange, as it positions our customers for greater success, given the emerging role of virtual events. Extending our relationship with OpenExchange will enable us to deploy workflow solutions more quickly to our customers.

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