Tools & Technologies

An Interview with Eran Barak from Reuters Messaging

During lunch I got a chance to speak with Eran Barak, the Global Head of Marketing and Strategy for Reuters Messaging. Here’s what I learnt.

Reuters Messaging focuses on three areas … (1) communication, (2) community and (3) content:

  1. Communication … Are trying to build the best suite of tools for the financial professional … special design capabilities (eg, price exchange forms). Some general features that are also in other IM products like privacy and encryption are also being added.
  2. Community … The nature of the financial industry means that there are lots of interactions required across organizations. Hence a community directory is important to bring people together, to enable others to learn about expertise. People need to be able to find each other. Expertise profiles are critical to finding the right person to ask questions about specific issues., Eg, equity expert in Latin America, a commodities trader who specializes in corn.
  3. Content … There is tight integration of Reuters market information into the Reuters Messaging client; the information is relevant to the current user.

Reuters Messaging brings all three of things together in a specific way for the financial industry professional.

Future Strategy
Moving forward, Reuters will invest in all three areas …

Futures for Communication
Reuters will add more richness to the communication tools. Note however that audio and video capabilities aren’t in high demand by traders, eg, the intensitive of traders means that they have so many information demands … have multiple screens, talking with two phones, … audio and video is bad, because it is synchronous and takes too much time. On the other hand, a wealth manager would love to have video conferencing, because they can have an indepth interaction with their customer … a rich session with them works due to the nature of the work process. So … Reuters knows that there are multiple disparate groups / types of people using Reuters Messaging, and so they need to cater to the full gamut of requirements.

Futures for Community
Three main developments:
(1) opening up the community directory to be more than a directory … to become a platform for the community to share ideas. Already have a profile page, but going forward will have the ability to customize the profile page with more content about themselves. Eg, blogs, selling the latest research report. It’s a platform for interaction and commerce.
(2) differential exposure of information … eg, differential presence, differential profiles, differential access to resources — eg, mobile number vs. work number. Reuters Space (the product name) will expand Reuters Messaging beyond the community to people not using Messaging or Microsoft LCS/OCS. They need a space to meet. Hopefully to become the platform for the Reuters community to interact. Have to be a financial professional.
(3) Federating to the corporate platforms … currently doing pilots for integrating with IBM Sametime, Microsoft LCS/OCS … all of the various products are on the roadmap. However, note that the setup of the SIP link is not the technological marvel, we’ve been able to do it for 1-2 years. The problems and challenges come when you want to expose the directory, and how the meshed directory will work and look. Issues of privacy and compliance are much more difficult. Have had to build other components to enable federation to work from a commercial point of view. Eg, enforced logging, to prevent people from connecting to the system via a public IM service.

Futures for Content
Investments are being made in opening the API to Reuters Messaging so that developers can build applications. Have been overwhelmed by the response. There is already a Reuters API for market data, and have several 100s of firms. Eran says that customers are coming up with incredible ideas for integrations, for new applications,

Version 7 is due in early 4Q2007 … it has a lot of investment in group collaboration, bringing together chat rooms.

Categories: Tools & Technologies