Text Messaging for Business - What You Have Been Missing!

2:39 PM / Posted by Andy Harjanto /

Consider these staggering statistics: 3.4 billion text messages are delivered, and 4 billion cell-phones are actively in the hand of subscribers, and the growth is still very healthy. What interesting is the usage of texting in business is very limited, if any, especially in the US. While younger generations in US are embracing texting, the use of texting is hardly exist in the workplace. This article unveils how texting/SMS could actually boost productivities in the workplace.

Let’s look at the major issues the prevent business from using text messaging as part of their daily solutions:

  • Text messaging considers a P2P technology
  • Text messaging considers too intrusive in many business settings.
  • Text messages are prohibitively expensive in the US and Canada, even though that’s not the case in most countries.
  • Integrating Text messaging channel into information technology is difficult. A short code needs to be established and approved, and the approval process to work with telephone providers can take months. In addition, supporting SMS protocol (SMPP) put burden in IT resources.
  • SMS users are isolated from the rest of company. In US, many of us use e-mail as the primary communication.

Before we discuss the solutions, let’s look at what Text Messaging (SMS) will provide us:

  • Virtually any phone is capable of texting. Old and new, cheap or expensive.
  • There is no need for a data plan.
  • Much greater mobility. User can roam anywhere in the world and start using SMS immediately.
  • While people frown at the 160 character constraints, it has been proven that brief, essential messages are more effective and less time to waste. Compare this to a 2 page long of email.

To fill these gaps that outlined above, today, few services address the texting deficiencies in the workplace. The mobile phone providers now aggressively encourage user to sign-up for unlimited text message plans for as little as $5 per employees. Consider a few scenarios that you could enable today:

  • You’re at the client site; you’d like to retrieve the inventory level of product #XL9204. This can be done by sending a text message to a service.
  • Your ability to send messages to your team members, regardless if your co-workers using email/blackberry, SMS, or online. The ability to communicate seamlessly using one’s communication preference tool.
  • You can get a stream of business activities on your phone. For example, even on the go, you’ll be first to find out that Julie just joined a company; Peter just modified inventory data.
  • In addition to query, your team member can update the data directly into the database using only SMS. For example, your workers can send a text message command with the information to the service, and the service will update the database.
    While you’re choosing a service, the following is important criteria to consider:
  • Make sure that you should not have to deal with any deployment. Zero installation is the best.
  • Make sure you don’t have to change your existing infrastructure, in order for the service to work.
  • In this economy climate, it’s wise that we don’t have much access capacity. Pay as go services are preferable over fixed cost services.
  • Addressing IT security concerns that the data can be locked down in the services.
  • If you plan to do some business soon, ensure that the service is available globally as well.

Guppers is one of few services that provide end-to-end multi-channel collaboration solutions for business, and SMS is one of its important features. Unfortunately, many other services today are mostly focusing of mobile marketing; pushing information to the (potential or existing) consumers. I believe the mobile marketing model is over, and user should be in control as far as information sent to their mobile phone. Twitter allows many companies to do just that. In addition, Twitter is a great service to be used as part of social media efforts for a company. Other services focus mostly narrow band of problem space, such as group messaging only.

If you're interested in learning more details as far the user experience, you can browse the presentation below.

In summary, the business texting solutions exist today that enable many of new scenarios which may result in dramatic productivity increases while keeping the cost low to operate.

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