As the landscape of communication continues to evolve in our increasingly digital world, the financial services industry is feeling the pinch of regulatory scrutiny. In recent years, financial firms have faced nearly $2 billion in penalties from the SEC and CFTC due to unregulated “off-channel” messaging. This surge in “off-channel” communication, including usage of platforms such as WhatsApp, WeChat, SMS, LINE, and mobile calls, is largely fueled by the rise of hybrid work. Yet, regulators maintain that all business communications must be monitored, auditable, and occur only within official channels. In the words of SEC Chair Gary Gensler, “As technology changes, it’s even more important that registrants appropriately conduct their communications about business matters within only official channels. And they must maintain and preserve those communications.”
Practicing What We Preach: Automated Workflows, Collaboration, and SymBot
At the end of last year, we introduced SymBot: the first Symphony bot built specifically to provide automated support to Symphony users. I couldn’t be more proud of the team – while improving the Symphony user experience was our top priority and primary goal for SymBot, the bot also serves the important function of demonstrating core capabilities and strengths of the Symphony platform.
SymBot is an example of our team practicing what we preach. We are constantly encouraging our customers to automate workflows in order to drive efficiency both internally and in collaboration with clients and partners. Many of these are shown at our annual Innovate conferences, including the BETSI bot built by the JP Morgan Asset Management team and the Debbie bot from Deutsche Bank Security Services.
And while our own team employs a number of bots to automate workflows internally, SymBot is the first one that was designed specifically to cater to our external users. This represents an important step forward for Symphony: harnessing the power of automation to streamline and enhance our own user support function.
In addition, SymBot is a crucial tool in scaling the adoption of Symphony at a time when our community is growing rapidly. Particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, the financial services industry has been ramping up its investment in tools that facilitate remote work. Symphony has registered record community growth and a substantial increase in monthly active users. The platform now has over half a million licensed users, 450 companies collaborating internally and communicating with their business ecosystems, over 2,000 bots and applications developed on the platform, and an increase of 300% in messages sent every month.
As usage of the Symphony platform has spiked, we’re introducing SymBot to keep up with the demand for communication and adoption support for our user base, just as we see our customers doing. And I’ve been pushing the team to put the full power of Symphony into the bot’s functionality – for instance, the latest update uses Symphony Elements, our library of pre-designed reusable UX components.
And we’re hearing great things. For instance, Femi Dada, Vice President, Principal Infrastructure Engineer at T. Rowe Price says, “the latest update to SymBot – leveraging Symphony Elements – is an exciting development! We look forward to the ‘Support’ button gaining additional functionality to help our users interactively solve problems and answer questions, like a virtual assistant.”
SymBot is a product of the Symphony platform’s focus on facilitating collaboration. We’ve often observed that the bots on our platform with the highest usage are the ones developed as a partnership between business, tech, and end-users. When we developed SymBot, we consulted directly with customers to identify pain points and solutions and developed the bot with these in mind. For instance, Mira Arnaout-Nassar, Principal Technology Investments, Wells Fargo Strategic Capital noted, “since our initial investment in 2014, it has been great to see Symphony’s continued product development and growth. SymBot’s flexible API extension provides insights on the latest external community in an efficient and innovative way. This feature well positions us to connect with our clients in an engaging way, which is increasingly necessary in our current working environment.”
This week we are able to introduce another new functionality to SymBot: the ability to create and track support tickets. Instead of filing tickets via email or Zendesk, SymBot now allows Symphony administrators to file tickets within Symphony directly via the Admin Support function in SymBot, supported by an integration with Zendesk. On top of that, Symphony admins can manage admin permissions for their team members – effectively adding and removing Zendesk admin access as necessary.
I am immensely proud of everyone who worked together to bring SymBot to fruition, both here at Symphony and from our external customer and partner organizations. Their work and ingenuity will be instrumental in helping future Symphony users adopt our platform, and we look forward to continuing this journey as we introduce new capabilities for SymBot.
To see SymBot in action, send a connection request to user “SymBot” on Symphony today.
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