Press release

Smarsh Survey Underscores Need for Financial Firms to Embrace Social, Mobile and Collaboration Technologies in Order to Compete and Grow

Sponsored by Businesswire

Smarsh®, helping customers get ahead – and stay ahead – of the risk within their electronic communications, today released its ninth annual Electronic Communications Compliance Survey Report. The survey of more than 300 compliance professionals in the financial services industry finds that organizations must rethink their approaches to the adoption, retention and oversight of electronic communications to accommodate modern electronic communication technologies in the workplace, including personal mobile devices.

The survey indicates that many compliance teams are struggling with limited human resources to oversee the fast-changing electronic communications compliance landscape. Nearly half of respondents (45%) said they are in constant catch-up mode, rather than proactive mode, when it comes to electronic communication compliance. Without adequate technology to automate the collection, preservation and review of an increasingly diverse volume of electronic communications, organizations are struggling to keep pace.

In addition, prohibiting younger workers from using personal devices and messaging applications to conduct business is no longer a viable option. As new multi-modal networks such as integrated voice, video and chats are requested or approved for use, compliance teams will need to get ahead of retention and supervision standards.

“This year’s survey findings show that firms are overwhelmed by the volume, variety and velocity of electronic communications channels, and their oversight practices are challenged to keep up,” said Robert Cruz, Senior Director of Information Governance at Smarsh. “Prohibiting adoption of new tools doesn’t work and also puts firms at risk. A new approach is needed to enable today’s social, mobile and collaborative workforce and to meet the needs of a customer base that will only grow more tech-savvy as younger generations represent a larger portion of each firm’s revenue.”

Additional Key Findings

  • SMS/Text is a leading compliance gap and perceived source of risk. The top perceived sources of risk for survey respondents were SMS/text messaging (77%) and collaboration platforms such as Microsoft Teams (36%). Respondents also reported compliance gaps in which they lacked archiving and supervision solutions for many allowed popular communication channels, including Instagram (50%) and SMS/text messaging (40%).
  • Use of personal devices is now the standard. Three-quarters (75%) of those surveyed allow employees to use personal mobile devices at work. At the same time, 44% of respondents lacked confidence that their organizations were capturing and archiving all business communications via allowed mobile devices.

Turning the Compliance Function into A Source of Business Value

Compliance teams understand that much of what they do can help manage overall corporate risk in support of other departments including IT, marketing and HR. Collected data is increasingly being leveraged beyond audit/examination requirements to transform compliance from a cost center into a value driver.

Archived data can be extremely effective to find potential violations of fraud, data privacy, human resources and legal rules. Nearly half of respondents (47%) now believe that electronic communications compliance is more than a cost/risk mitigation center, as it can also contribute to topline growth by maintaining valuable customer intelligence. This figure is up from survey results in prior years, when an average of 39% of respondents in 2017, and 32% in 2018, provided alternative use cases for archived data utilization.

Beyond the improved identification of risks, firms are recognizing that the creation of a centralized data store of communications can also function as a revenue-building asset to the business, especially as providers adopt emerging artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities. These new stores of communications can produce valuable insights into the needs and preferences of prospects and clients, and can be harvested to improve social media campaigns, messaging, and to equip sales teams with additional insights into their targeted firms.

On Tuesday, November 19 at 1:00 p.m. ET, Smarsh will host the webinar Findings from the 2019 Electronic Communications Compliance Survey. Join Robert Cruz as he explores the survey results, its implications, and best practices for compliance teams as they tackle the challenges surfaced in the report.

To download a copy of the Electronic Communications Compliance Survey Report, visit:

About the Survey

Data for this report was generated from a survey of over 300 IT and compliance leaders and practitioners. Of those respondents, 81% were personally responsible for Electronic Communication Compliance (ECC), and 6% oversaw ECC related activities. Questions were answered through an online survey, and the responses were collected by a third party.

About Smarsh

Smarsh helps financial services organizations get ahead – and stay ahead – of the risk within their electronic communications. Smarsh has established the industry standard for the efficient review and production of content from the diverse range of channels that organizations now use to communicate. With innovative capture, archiving and monitoring solutions that extend across the industry’s widest breadth of channels, customers can leverage the productivity benefits of email, social media, mobile/text messaging, instant messaging/collaboration, websites and voice while efficiently strengthening their compliance and e-discovery initiatives.

A global client base, including the top 10 banks in the United States and the largest banks in Europe, Canada and Asia, manages billions of conversations each month with the Smarsh Connected Suite. The company is headquartered in Portland, Ore. with nine offices worldwide, including locations in Silicon Valley, New York, London and Bangalore, India. For more information, visit