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‘Siloed and ad hoc’ approach to mobile messaging hampering businesses, OpenMarket study warns

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A study sponsored by OpenMarket into how enterprise use of mobile messaging finds that, while many get the importance of using it to talk to customers, most are doing so in a totally unstructured and ad hoc way, which is damaging the perceived value of the technology.

According to its findings, the study – carried out by IDC – reveal that 62% of businesses have more than one messaging platform deployed, and 78.5% have more than one of the same use case active across different departments. This disjointed strategy is especially problematic for today’s enterprises, as 75% demand payback on these initiatives in less than a year.

The survey also indicates that, in order to achieve desired ROI, enterprises must transition from investments “one problem at a time,” to a flexible mobile messaging platform that supports multiple use cases across business functions. Specifically, IDC’s large enterprise clients voiced a future desire to consolidate platforms, particularly for mobile messaging technology like SMS or MMS.

According to IDC, it will be critical for enterprises to implement a streamlined platform with global reach that can be leveraged for use cases company-wide. To do this, 29.7% of enterprises are looking to partner with a mobile messaging specialist, and a majority desires a global provider.

“With mobile devices in the hands of employees and customers who show a preference for messaging- based communications, businesses should focus on proven mobile communication formats such as SMS and MMS,” explains Robert Parker, Group Vice President, IDC Insights. “Enterprises must avoid deploying single use case products, and should seek comprehensive solutions that improve customer and employee communications across the business. To do so, they should select providers that have domain expertise, service flexibility, optimal professional services, and a knowledgeable customer service staff to ensure they are getting the proper support for all their mobile messaging initiatives.”

According to IDC, 70% of enterprises use mobile messaging for internal communications. However, the largest area for future growth in the adoption of SMS and MMS is customer experience-focused initiatives such as customer surveys, opening up SMS channels for customer support and providing valuable, time-sensitive alerts and reminders. The research also identified key attributes for how specific business functions are leveraging mobile messaging to increase productivity.

IDC conducted in-depth surveys with enterprise technology and mobile decision makers from 600 global organizations in different industries and geographies. Key findings across business functions include:
• Customer Service: Consolidation is an underlying need for these departments according to the research, as 62% of all customer service organizations leverage at least two mobile messaging vendors, and 65 have two or more messaging initiatives planned or underway in 2015. Additionally, nearly half must meet a specific ROI requirement to justify mobile messaging investments, including 39% who require a payback calculation.

• Operations & Logistics: Although mobile messaging deployments are immature for this business function, IDC highlights mobility as one of the top two investment areas for manufacturing supply chains. The report also suggests that the inherently distributed nature of operations and logistics can benefit significantly from effective mobility and mobile messaging.

• Sales and Marketing: IDC points out SMS and MMS messaging are important marketing tools for companies seeking to distinguish themselves from competitors. The findings also determined that over 60% of these departments are using more than one vendor for their mobile messaging needs, and that those not yet running mobile messaging technology enterprise-wide have a tremendous opportunity to work toward a mobile messaging platform strategy that is based on the least number of vendors possible.

• IT and Security: This function holds large opportunity for growth, as the IDC study found 46.8% of IT and security organizations do not currently utilize or deploy mobile messaging. This gap is likely a result of technology leaders evaluating other mobile solutions while overlooking SMS. The report calls out that the benefits and simplicity of SMS should not be ignored and IT executives should be considering messaging technology for some of their more pressing operational and security concerns since it is the most frequently used and ubiquitous mobile communication tool available.

• Human Resources: Respondents found that SMS messaging was more effective than push notifications. The global reach of SMS is also a key differentiator, as 56% believe it is important for reaching employees that travel for both work and leisure. Additionally, the IDC research points out that when compared with push notifications via mobile apps, which can incur high charges during international employee travel or may not be accessed if data services are turned off, SMS is a more cost-effective mobile messaging tool for this business function.

“This research validates the importance of traditional mobile messaging like SMS within the enterprise, while highlighting adoption and investment pitfalls that have limited ROI for far too long,” says Jay Emmet, General Management of OpenMarket. “With billions of mobile subscribers across the globe, it is now the exception to see someone without a messaging-capable device, and enterprises must capitalize on this opportunity.”

Download the summary report here.

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