Bloomberg Adds New Chat Rooms to Terminal Instant Messaging As Hybrid Work Changes the Way Wall Street Communicates


Mark Flatman, Global Head of Bloomberg’s Main Terminal.
  • Bloomberg Terminal is making changes to its instant messaging service, including adding chat rooms.
  • The move comes as remote working evolves into a hybrid workplace on Wall Street.
  • Mark Flatman, global head of Bloomberg’s main terminal, described recent and upcoming changes.
  • See more stories on the Insider business page.

Bloomberg’s terminal is rolling out changes to its instant messaging to meet the new needs of users adapting to a hybrid workplace.

The terminal is a ubiquitous piece of Wall Street technology that underpins the number of traders and analysts consuming and sharing news and content. And as Bloomberg’s crown jewel turns 40 this year, one of its top tech executives has informed Insider of the changes planned for Instant Bloomberg (IB), it’s a widely used instant chat feature.

IB usage increased during the pandemic from around 23 million posts per day to nearly 40 million, Mark Flatman, global head of the main terminal at Bloomberg, told Insider. As Wall Street businesses return to office, usage has stabilized but remains up to 40% above pre-pandemic levels.

“Most people live or die because of their conversations,” Flatman said. “It’s usually their watch list, what they invest in and you literally can’t afford to miss a conversation from your customer, even if you’re at home,” he added.

Bloomberg is currently deploying IB Forums, which allow users to create discussion forums organized by specific ideas, sectors or themes, such as macroeconomic drivers, investment themes, or stages of the investment process. As people create and share content with their respective teams, like news articles or notes, notifications are automatically published and archived in the relevant forums.

Forums rely on a different type of chat history dynamic, which means Bloomberg has had to make improvements to its database and back-end search indexing, Flatman added.

This means that the information is accessible to new hires, which was essential.

“You’re a member of this community with the forums, you can pick up on topics that were discussed before you were a member of this community, and that’s really important when you hire new analysts for the company,” Flatman said. .

Other changes are more like social media and other tools for collaboration in the workplace.

During the pandemic, Bloomberg prioritized adding mentions and alerts in the chat, and the ability to forward a post to another user. Adoption of these new features has been strong, Flatman noted. The number of personalized content feeds has also increased from one to five, he added.

Bloomberg gears up for a flexible workplace

Upgrades to IB are in line with new ways that users interact with each other through chat.

The quality of the discussions has changed during the pandemic, Flatman said. More and more people are using advanced features like embedding news and charts and removing structured data on a given security like pricing information.

So-called high-quality usage increased during the pandemic, from an average of 2,500 messages per sender per week to 4,000 at the start of the pandemic, he added. Today, the volume of these high quality chats is in the order of 3,500 per sender per week.

The residual increase in volume and advancement in the types of messages being sent over IB have prompted Bloomberg to accelerate a number of features during the pandemic that make it easier to collaborate in the remote workplace.


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