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Jeff Wu | CEO | Symbio

Symbio: Helping Businesses Achieve Maximum Business Benefits and Value

This dynamic business world has led to rapid changes in trends and customer choices and experiences. Organizations are generously striving for excellence to stay in today’s growing competition. Taking this into consideration, a global information technology company, Symbio was incorporated with an impeccable track record of designing, developing and delivering end-to-end digital services to organizations across the globe, with its headquarters in San Jose, California, and workforce in North America, Europe and Asia. The company builds innovative software products by taking a customer centric approach that embeds innovation and holistic systems thinking to deliver exceptional products and service experience. Its goal is to help organizations achieve maximum business benefits and value by providing them best-in-class consulting and services that go beyond taking a problem-focused approach. As a trusted partner and with a wide range of service offerings, Symbio is committed to help its customers succeed in today’s turbulent digital world. It firmly believes in “You First”, which is one of its core values. The company finds its success in its customer’s success.
In an interview with Insights Success, Jeff Wu, the CEO of Symbio, shares his key insights on how the company is offering deep industry and digital expertise, flexibility, and scalability on the terms of its customers and building their business value in a digital world. Below are the highlights of the interview:
What are the innovative product/solutions offered by Symbio? 
Our productization initiative is partly an outcome of our innovation process, complemented by both rigorous technology shortlisting for right choices, emerging/disruptive or mainstream and injecting robust process harness for product rollouts. Through this ’growth hacking’, products have been launched successfully to the market. As an example, our Performance Pro 360 coaching platform for BPO operations has been licensed to 10,000+ users over the past 12 months. We just launched Symbio Smart Auto 2.0, aka Elysian, a product in the automotive market as part of our overall Symbio Smart Suite offerings. It is a feature-rich, integrated infotainment solution for the automobile industry and has been successfully adopted by some of leading car manufactures, and recognized by CRN as Top 30 Hot Products at CES 2018. Symbio Smart Storage is another AI-enabled cloud solution combined with Konecranes Agilon® to enable real-time stock and warehouse operations. In addition to that, we do have a few other products at various stages of development to be launched in the near future, such as Smart Safety which monitors and improves individual’s occupational safety in hazardous working environments; Symbio Smart Traffic which is a smart video census solution which enables transportation planning and route optimization based on people’s actual behaviour.
How does Symbio instigate innovation in its work culture? 
Smart and Boldness are two keywords of our core values, encouraging people to dream big and act smart; willing to take risks to be different, and never settle for ordinary. This makes our culture to not just focus on scoped service delivery but to understand the business challenges that our customers face and accordingly suggest technological and operational insight. For us the culture of innovation is very important and a key to success in today’s competitive business environment. We have made innovation a part of our day-to-day work life. Our employees feel challenged, engaged and valued when they are encouraged to innovate. This has positively impacted our employee performance and the services we provide to our customers. We have developed key objectives transforming our company to meet the challenges of the future and have established processes for learning conversations, idea management and to gain significant improvement in creating and capturing ideas. We very firmly believe that it’s our people who delivers value to our customers and innovation is something that’s an intrinsic aspect of it.
We strive to be a trusted partner with our customers vs. being ’just a vendor’, and as a result is not uncommon to get statements like this from our partners, in this case from CEO of Tamul Multimedia, “Symbio has been a great innovative co-creation partner for us. Together with Symbio, we made it possible to provide IVI solution at a reasonable cost to the conventional mid – low end car audio segment.”
What are the challenges faced while providing innovative product/solutions and how is Symbio serving to tackle them? 
Turning an idea into a marketable end-product could be challenging if the business need and product’s acceptance value is not assessed upfront. For us Innovation and discovery is a continuous process. We follow a robust product development methodology that validates the product’s viability based on end customer needs. While working with our customers, we strive to understand what the end-user experiences and needs would be, which helps us focus on the essentials and start the build process.
As a challenge, we understand that customer needs may change by the time our products/solutions are ready for the market launch. That’s where our Design Sprint, a unique innovation-driven process drawn from creative strategies, comes into play. Our agile delivery processes and practices also help us to tackle market driven customer change needs. Strategizing and answering fundamental questions upfront during the process allows us to move to more tactical aspects of getting our product out to the market.
Leading the customer to our products and motivating them to buy the product was/is another challenge. We therefore do a canary release of the product to a smaller consumer group with an objective to get key initial feedback that helps us to refine the product and the marketing needs.
Continuous refinements to the product post the launch was another challenge. Our teams had to remain vigilant and in continuous touch with our customers to understand end-user feedback, needs and expectations. We remain focused and believe that continuous improvements post launch is as important as early development of the product.
What is the dynamic factor that makes Symbio different from its competitors? 
As part of VXI Global Solutions, a global leader in customer care centers and engagement platforms, Symbio is able to offer a unique perspective on customer experiences, solutions that effectively integrate customer insights with cloud and edge computing technologies.
We are a flat organization. We meet continuously within and across all levels of our organization. Everyone is encouraged to provide feedback, good, and bad. Moreover, we recognize both bottom-up and top-down on creative ideas and synergy. We have empowered our team to address dynamic customer needs, and believe in continuous, informal communications and feedback. It is not uncommon for an idea, comment or observation from an engineer reaching any C-level executive in less than 24 hours, and sometimes in real-time. As global CEO with teams spreading in three continents, I have to reply emails on a 24 by 7 basis. I also schedule and update all my Teams online meetings by myself, drastically reducing time to respond to any urgent matters. There are no organizational impediments when it comes to getting the message across.
The other differentiating aspect is our engagement model with our customers. It is not limited to the scoped delivery. Our technical team working on different customer projects, brings in a systems thinking culture. They take holistic approach to the system’s development, incorporating all aspects of a system and its environment. In addition to the technical aspects, our team also focuses and learns their business processes, helps identify value streams and prioritizes them for development to generate maximum value-based delivery outcomes. Our agile teams practice lean and help customers reduce waste and optimize work cycles to generate benefits. We are proud to say our customers trust us as their business partner and we believe nothing less than Excellence in service delivery.
What according to you could be the potential future of Symbio and how does envision sustaining its competency?
From technology perspective, I believe it’s going to be about partnerships, integration capability and responding to rapid change. Historically we have provided abundant traditional IT outsourcing services; we also have been helping our customers by successfully implementing new technologies such as AI, Big Data, Cloud Computing and other advanced solutions. In order to continue on that path, we want to focus on having certain partnerships in place to increase our ability to provide very deep integration services on highly scalable, global, distributed cloud/edge services. Additionally, automotive sector is moving towards service-centric infrastructure, and we must anticipate and prepare for that to keep our products competitive. Responding to change means for us to constantly evaluate software frameworks, testing frameworks, open-source -solutions and seeing how they fit and how they should be best used. That means attracting and training new talent, and requires us to focus on our human capital management with clear goals over next few years. We continue to see ourselves going forward as ’transformation’ specialists for our customers, helping them in all the aspects – culture, lean thinking, business-IT collaborative work environment, technology and generating business value.
Testimonials from the Clientele 
“China and India are both markets that offer great access to talent. We ended up selecting Symbio as they had the exact mix of skill sets and industry expertise that were needed for the project and the team also was a good cultural fit. Cost was also a factor in our decision-making process. We found that China had comparable expertise, but with a better pricing model”. Marie Lee, CIO, Interval International (now Marriott Vacations Worldwide)
“Working with Symbio has enabled us to gain another decisive competitive edge when providing services and solutions to our customers, small to large. Performance Pro 360 is not only a cutting-edge product, but it enables us to show how flexible we are in providing rapid feature development and deployment according to concrete needs from the field.” -Manager, IT Special Projects & Development, VX
About the CEO 
Jeff Wu has two decades of executive management experience helping enterprises large and small, i.e. EDS/HP, Ariba/SAP, VanceInfo/Pactera, ScaleFlux, etc., succeed in their objectives. As a technology leader, he understands the current digital disruptions that customers face today. In practice, he devotes certain amount of budgets every year to innovations and has created teams that solely focus on new product development and long term business goals.
He has helped to build a culture towards motivating the company’s technology professionals to think creatively and focus on systems thinking which would ignite ideas towards building products. At a leadership level, the culture is to understand the customer’s business challenges, brainstorm those challenges with Symbio’s technology professionals to determine the types of solutions and products it needs to develop using the latest technologies.