Who's Benefiting from Mobile Messaging

— March 14, 2007

Falling costs and better network performance have led to an abundance of mobile messaging applications such as email, mobile instant messaging (IM), short message services (SMS), multimedia sessaging services (MMS) and enterprise mobile VoIP solutions. A report from the research firm Aberdeen Group concludes that companies are moving beyond email for enterprise mobile messaging; 68 percent of organizations have two or more mobile messaging applications in place, and 30 percent have three or more. Philippe Winthrop, research director in Aberdeen 's Wireless and Mobility Research Practice, spoke to Mobile Enterprise about the "Enterprise Mobile Messaging Benchmark Report" and the factors driving the adoption of enterprise mobile messaging solutions.

MOBILE ENTERPRISE: What encouraged Aberdeen Group to conduct a study on enterprise mobile messaging?

PHILIPPE WINTHROP: The purpose behind the study was this: As smartphones are becoming increasingly pervasive in the enterprise, the killer app, if you will, that exists currently is push email. What we wanted to do was look beyond push email and see how organizations were leveraging the multiple existing forms of mobile messaging, including SMS , MS , IM and, to a certain extent, mobile VoIP.

ME: According to the report, enterprise mobile messaging is still a relatively new concept. Why?

PW: It's because of the fact that if you think about it, the adoption of smartphones in the enterprise is still pretty low. Historically, it was for the C-suite or C-level executives. It's now moving into other areas like sales and marketing--it's moving aggressively into those areas, but enterprises are realizing that more of their workforces can benefit from that.

ME: What's the benefit of having two or more mobile messaging solutions?

PW: It's actually quite simple. One size does not fit all. One messaging platform does not fit all. What that's telling you is certainly there's a tremendous usage of push email, but a lot of organizations are finding ways to use SMS, for example, as a tool for enhancing customer interaction. It's about ensuring that the right messaging modality is used for the most appropriate task.

ME: The report says organizations need to be better educated about how to take a more systematic approach to the adoption of mobile messaging solutions. How can organizations become better educated?

PW: By a combination of things. You do that first of all by asking for more information from the vendors. The vendors need to educate the buyers more effectively to action. What I mean by that is a lot of the material out there speaks only to the intangible and implicit value of mobile messaging. The entire mobility ecosystem needs to focus on the specific value propositions that they are providing. The ecosystem--that includes the vendors, the magazines, the conferences, whatever kinds of events are occurring--needs to concentrate on demonstrating explicitly the business value of mobile messaging solutions. So much of the material out there does not tangibly address the business values. For example, there are so many organizations--across all industries--that talk about enhanced ROI and enhanced productivity. That's great. But what do they specifically mean by that? How will you tangibly increase productivity? How will you tangibly increase ROI? The vendors who can help address that best will ultimately be the winners and they will help the end users even more.

ME: The report says best-in-class companies have a better knowledge about the need for mobile messaging solutions. Why are average organizationsso much less knowledgeable about the need and benefits of mobile messaging solutions?

PW: The reason why [some organizations] are less knowledgeable is they think "we need mobile messaging." Why? "Well, I don't know." The laggards are doing it for the sake of doing it. The best-in-class (organizations) are actually going about a far more systematic approach in justifying the business case. And that comes, in fact, from discussions in both the IT department and the lines of business who are the customers, if you will, of the IT department. This is more about not deploying mobile messaging for the sake of mobile messaging but in fact understanding what the business merit is for any department or any individual to have it. Looking beyond push email, the best-in-class organizations go through a more thorough analysis of how a mature technology such as SMS can actually provide tangible value for customer interaction.

A copy of Aberdeen 's "Enterprise Mobile Messaging Report" can be found at:

http://www.aberdeen.com/summary/report/benchmark/BA_MobileMessaging_APW_BS_3703.asp

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