Symbl.ai Refines Product Strategy and Enhances Developer Experience with Moesif

Overview

Data-heavy Symbl.ai provides API endpoints for developers who want real-time transcription and contextual insights into the traffic traversing their app If you’ve built a voice or video experience on your platform, then chances are you’ve already looked at Symbl.ai to provide your conversational intelligence.

API-first Symbl.ai exposes simple endpoints that directly screen real time and recorded audio from mobile, desktop and Zoom marketplace apps, often created using Twilio, Agora or Nexmo.

Analyzing millions of conversation minutes every day, Symbl.ai has to make sure it’s tracking the right metrics and make it as easy as possible for developers to discover and use their multiple API endpoints.

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Challenge: Managing Multiple API Metrics is Tough

Symbl.ai has always been a very data-driven company, wanting to analyze product metrics whenever they could find them. Every month they used to spend three days stitching together data, checking whether they were collecting it correctly, analyzing how they could enhance their data infrastructure further and then putting out reports and visualizing them in Tableau.

Using their own internal tools, they would regularly scramble to visualize things such as customer usage. Not only was it a constant effort, but they found that key components of new metrics they wanted were often missing.

API analytics is very different from traditional product analytics for web and mobile. For an API, you want to know granular information around API calls, complex activation funnels; the time that it took for developers to sign up & make their first API call, which API endpoint is preferred (to give an indicator of easiest path to get started with), or whether customers were ingesting real time or asynchronous data.

Like many companies with limited engineering resources, when Symbl.ai was confronted with the option of building a new feature in their reporting dashboard, or adding a new product capability that a customer was asking for, they always prioritized the product route. Although reporting and dash-boarding is secondary for product-driven companies, it’s still really critical.

When you're small as a company it's very hard to focus 20% of your continued engineering efforts on building a dashboard for yourselves

Surbhi Rathore, CEO & Co-Founder

Solution API Analytics for API-First Companies

Initially, Symbl’s engineers built their own monitoring tool and their intention was for it to continue as a home-grown solution. They did look at product monitoring vendors, but didn’t find anything that dealt with the unique requirements of APIs.

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Put together the right API product metrics

As Symbl.ai focused on improving developer experience and iterating on product strategy, they turned to Moesif to fully understand what was going on with their platform from a product perspective: what were common errors, how could they make sure they had the best monitoring possible and what feature enhancements or changes needed to be made. Moesif offers very rich capabilities for Symbl.ai’s API product team:

Adoption and usage metrics around their APIs were available out of the box. With Moesif, not only did they get metrics on which features and endpoints customers were using, they also built complex funnels showing Time to first hello world and activation metrics. With the Google Tag Manager plugin, Symbl.ai was also able to pull in marketing data to understand the ROI of developer marketing and invest in channels that drive the most activations with their platform.

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Analyzing cohort retention over the whole period used to be a challenge for Symbl.ai, yet a critical metric to track product heath and find leading indicators of churn. With Moesif, visualizing product retention around their APIs is just a few clicks.

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Realtime altering for customers participating in webinars or a live event are now enabled through Moesif by monitoring the usage of specific UserIDs. Their success team provides special love and care to those who are successfully adopting the platform and then reach out to those who are struggling.

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Implementation

When it comes to analytics, Symbl.ai would rather focus on what customers care about, building products customers love, instead of scaling their own data infrastructure. To start monitoring API traffic, Symbl.ai chose the Moesif NGINX plugin which makes it easy to instrument their customer's API usage and behaviour

For tracking user behaviors outside of their API, Symbl.ai leveraged the Moesif Google Tag Manager Plugin for their main website and the Docusaurs plugin for their static developer documentation. This enables Symbl.ai to have a complete picture of their customer journey accross their platform

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Optimizing DevEx over their entire journey

Symbl.ai are building and investing a lot to create the best developer experience possible. Without even leaving their platform developers are able to easily understand what the product does, simply from the platform itself.

With Moesif’s help they’re bridging the gap between how fast they can activate developers, to how fast customers can continue to get value over time.

Moesif is front and center helping us guide with activation and retention parameters, which is critical

Surbhi Rathore, CEO & Co-Founder
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Customer respect

Symbl.ai doesn’t bug customers if they're not even trying their APIs. They’re also respectful that a customer might have allocated a developer’s time to try something out, and perhaps discovered that they got value out of it. So using Moesif, the BD team monitors API calls by account, tracking actual usage and helping them understand the indicators of engagement.

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Securing data is key

Symbl’s customers are really sensitive to sharing any information on any platform — using another window for them, as part of their API, is a big deal. Before Symbl.aiimplemented Moesif, they went through extensive security and InfoSEC checks.

Storing conversation data is a big responsibility. So that was, I think, one of the primary reasons we went with Moesif

Surbhi Rathore, CEO & Co-Founder

Moesif’s client-side encryption feature enables Symbl.ai to leverage client-side encryption with customer managed keys without much maintenance overhead.

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5 Minute SLA to resolve any kind of error

You might assume that it's only the product team which would be the Moesif power user, but actually the API analytics tool really helps the support team as well. Internally,Symbl.ai are at a 5 minute SLA/response time for customer queries — quick replies to resolve API problems makes for great developer experience.

Moesif makes it very easy to quickly resolve any kind of error

Surbhi Rathore, CEO & Co-Founder

On their open Slack community, Symbl.ai has a bunch of developers asking support questions most of the time. It’s been really easy for them to look at the errors, find the exact problems with Moesif and answer them very quickly.

As they upgrade to the Enterprise Plan, Symbl.ai plans to integrate it into Zendesk which is where their entire support process lives. Not only will this help to answer questions fast, it’ll also really aid general knowledge base creation.

Aligning API metrics to business value

Tracking the number of API calls  is one of the most basic metrics in analyzing the value customers receive from their platform. However, in Symbl.ai’s use case, it’s not just about focusing on number of API Calls, they analyze the number of conversation minutes within those API calls, which is made possible through Moesif’s advanced analytics features.Symbl.ai have customers who make just a few few API calls, but each API call results in many hours of sessions.

Takeaways

Companies should invest in putting together the right metrics for their business from day one. As part of the Techstars community, focusing on KPIs has been important to Symbl from day one. As they continue to release new AI capabilities they’ve turned to Moesif to track metrics, give insights into leading and lagging indicators, and help with optimizing the developer’s journey.

Application

As Symbl.ai focused on developer experience and released new AI capabilities they needed to fully understand what was going on with their platform, what the leading and lagging indicators were telling them, and how they could improve developer experience. Rather than expending engineering resources on building a custom analytics platform to monitor usage, they wanted a vendor to provide the product analytics needed to scale.

Company

Symbl.ai provides a suite of plugin APIs for developers to easily analyze voice and video conversations using machine learning algorithms. By eliminating the entire data aggregation, annotation and machine learning process, developers get contextual insights by integrating directly into their preferred channel of communication, both in real time and asynchronously.

Person

Surbhi RathoreSurbhi Rathore
CEO & Co-founder, Symbl.ai

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