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Symphony Software Foundation – Fostering An Open Ecosystem On The Symphony Platform

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Symphony Software Foundation promotes the adoption of Symphony Open Source Project as the preferred messaging, communications, workflow and productivity platform worldwide. Gabriele Columbro is the Executive Director of the Symphony Software Foundation and a long standing Member and influencer in the Open Source Community. In late 2015 he joined the Symphony Software Foundation with the mission and dream of bringing Open Source to Financial Services, an industry that is now quickly realizing the benefits of Open Innovation and Standardization through Open Source collaboration. Below is our interview with Gabriele:


Q: Tell us something more about Symphony Software Foundation and your history?

A: The Symphony Software Foundation was founded in 2015 by some of the most influential players in the Financial Services space to manage Open Source collaborative development of the Symphony Platform and foster Open Innovation for the whole financial services industry. Our impressive list of Members includes large FinServ firms and well as the key market data and technology providers for the industry, and is seeing a growing momentum in attracting many FinTech firms who want to lead innovation in the industry through Open Source. In the last year of the Foundation has received over two dozen contributions and the number of active committers, contributions and Members is constantly growing as Financial Services realized the fundamental value of Open Source to deliver disruptive innovation.

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Q: Could you explain the function and advantages of the Symphony Platform?

A: The Symphony Platform provides a secure and complaint messaging system as well as being an aggregator of information that provides a unique solution for Financial Services and any other compliant industry to communicate, collaborate and increase productivity. The Open (Source, Platform, Standard) nature of the Symphony platform is quickly setting a new standard in the way Financial Services front offices and back offices can interact and the end-to-end encryption model ensures that communication happens in a highly secure manner, while its auditing and information barriers features enable information to be exchanged in a fully compliant way. The Symphony Platform is delivered by Symphony Communications and is being increasingly used by both sell-side (e.g. Goldman Sachs) and buy-side (e.g. BlackRock) leaders as the de facto standard for day by day mission critical communications. The platform is currently delivered in cloud and it’s expected to be Open Source incrementally through the end of 2016 and 2017.

Q: What are your plans for next six months?

A: The next few months will be no shorter then exciting for the Foundation and its Community: we plan to offer API access of the Symphony Platform to our Members and Community contributors, we are looking to onboard several new large Financial leaders and smaller FinTech startups (like OpenFin) as new Members of the Foundation to ensure the maximum degree of inclusivity and standardization on the Symphony Platform and we are working to receive key contributions like the core Symphony Platform and value added Bots and integrations to complete the Symphony offering. We will also continue to host events and meet ups as well as participate to key industry and Open Source conferences to grow our Community, the ultimate measure of our success.

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Q: What is the motto that guides your decisions?

A: Open Source + Open Standards = The Dynamic Duo of modern innovation.

Our experience, based on many years of participation in Open Source communities and Open Standards (like CMIS) is that Open Source development and Open Standards mutually reinforce themselves to deliver innovation at a faster pace and defining the foundation for a truly interoperable platform, which allows companies to focus on their core business and competitive hedge instead of focusing on boilerplate building blocks of the infrastructure.

Many industries have realized this benefit, CloudFoundry and Node.js being two key examples and Financial Services is rapidly moving into this model, our Foundation and Hyperledger being two of the key driving forces in this space.

Q: What’s the best thing about Symphony Software Foundation that people might not know about?

A: While we work very closely with our friends at Symphony, we are an independent non profit Foundation whose mission is to drive Open Source development of the Symphony Platform and foster Financial Services advancement int he Open Source space. We look one day not to too far away to be the safe environment where any Financial Service and other compliant businesses can do Open Source, leveraging the Community to deliver innovation at a pace that would otherwise be impossible through obsolete proprietary business models.

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Q: How can people get involved in your Community?

A: As any Open Source Community active participation & “sweat equity” from individuals is the best way to participate in our Community. People should explore ways to contribute to the Community, join our Foundation mailing lists and chatrooms to reach out to our Community, follow us on our Blog, Twitter and Github and join our Events. Also getting familiar with our Code Contribution Process and & submit a contribution are key steps to be recognized in our Community.

We also welcome new Firms to become Members of our Foundation. There are many Membership Benefitst also described in our Membership Prospectus, including participation to our Working Groups. Most benefits apply for both Founding & Community Members and for new classes we’ll be introducing, as described in our policies. Firms that are interested to join the Foundation should apply on our website. We look forward to hearing from you!

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