2017 AFTAs Winners’ Circle: Thomson Reuters and Symphony Communications

Yvette Jackson, Thomson Reuters
Yvette Jackson, Thomson Reuters’ global head of platform and partners

After winning the best partnership category at this year’s AFTAs, Symphony’s CEO, David Gurle, and Thomson Reuters’ global head of platform and partners, Yvette Jackson, talk to James Rundle about the origins of the partnership and the power of collaboration.

How did this partnership come about?

Yvette Jackson, Thomson Reuters’ global head of platform and partners: Mutual customers of Symphony and Thomson Reuters asked us both to think about how we might be able to better connect the platforms. What they were saying was that they were adopting Symphony for parts of their enterprise, they were also Eikon users, and they wanted us to look at how we could interoperate. That was how we approached the conversation, and it was very much part of an ongoing dialogue with customers. 

David Gurle, CEO, Symphony: We have been in conversations about our partnership for some time, but in late 2016 we received lots of customer requests in favor of our partnership. They felt and knew that our respective products are complementary to each other, which helped us to accelerate our discussion. We are happy with the results of our partnership as there is strong interest from the market.

So what were the reasons why your clients were asking for this?

Jackson: Financial services messaging continues to be fragmented into disparate islands and pockets of community and some of those systems remain closed. If you think about email, being able to access your email in one inbox, regardless of the provider, makes sense. What we’ve been trying to do at Thomson Reuters for a number of years is break down barriers to communication and help create an open community. We are messenger-agnostic in terms of the front-end, so long as our customers can connect to the broader community. This partnership was really looking at the fact that we have customers on the network using Eikon and Eikon Messenger, but we also have people using Symphony, so the goal was to enable Eikon customers who use Symphony to share Eikon content with their Symphony counterparts in a seamless way.

What was the end result of those discussions, and how long has it taken to get to this point?

Jackson: It was pretty quick, actually. We made the decision and announced the partnership in June, and the functionality is pretty much ready to go. We’re going to do a broader push on it in January after the December quiet period as businesses are in change control freeze periods. The way it’s done on both sides is to use application programming interfaces (APIs). We have a side-by-side API which is open to partner capabilities generally, and which can be used to connect to other desktop applications. This is the first example of a third party leveraging that technology. It shows the power of having that side-by-side context passing, so customers can take what they already have in their real estate, and have a single way to drive workflow.

What capabilities does this partnership offer users?

Gurle: This partnership provides the Symphony community with a comprehensive and integrated collaboration and workflow solution. Many financial institutions that are deploying Symphony as a standard messaging platform also use Eikon. This integration allows our mutual customers to collaborate with Eikon information, using Symphony as the collaboration tool.

Jackson: It allows you to share workflow and content from your Thomson Reuters Eikon desktop via Symphony. It also recognizes your permissioning. So, for example, if you’re an Eikon customer and a Symphony customer, and you’re sharing content with another person who is also a customer of both, you’ll be able to pull up a live, interactive chart to work with. You can send it back with commentary, and collaborate on it.

We didn’t just want to limit it to that though—we wanted to include a broader community, and so you can send a static screenshot of any Eikon application and associated content via Symphony messenger. 

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