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August 16, 2007

Making the most of SMS

Sybase has showcased the next phase of its Unwired Enterprise strategy, a cornerstone of which is the messaging services now available from Sybase 365. It is worthwhile for organizations to explore new ways of using SMS, as the technology has the potential to open up a new, cost-effective communication channel with the organization's workforce, suppliers, and customers.

By CBR Staff Writer

It is important that enterprises can instantly contact mobile employees, alerting them to important events. SMS is a wireless technology that is available now and ubiquitous among all mobile phones – not just high-end smartphones. For those who consider SMS to be the sole preserve of the youth market, it is time to reappraise their preconceptions as the text messaging habit has now taken hold with the over-35s. After previously being a communication tool for the younger generation, SMS is now a messaging medium that is becoming acceptable to all of the population.

Business solutions based on SMS have a number of advantages over email. Alerts can be issued automatically and do not require the recipient to dial in. An email client capability is still the preserve of laptops, or more expensive smartphones. The vast majority of handsets have SMS functionality, and messages immediately reach the device without user intervention. Companies can use SMS as an authentication mechanism, a marketing channel, to access information, and to alert on-call IT staff of network and server outages. SMS can also be used to reduce the number of telephone calls received by a contact center.

The adoption trends for text messaging in all sectors of the market present an opportunity for mobile network operators, retailers and advertisers to gain significant commercial advantage by using SMS alerts to inform customers of specific offers or promotions. Research indicates that many users consider SMS information to add value, even when accompanied with advertising, and users are likely to pursue additional information as a result of receiving a message. Clearly, this is a medium enterprises should not ignore.

SMS can be more than a simple communication tool. Organizations should look for the cost-efficiency savings and competitive advantage that can be obtained from using SMS, and look to integrate SMS into corporate systems and infrastructure. However, they should be circumspect in the use of SMS. It is vital, if SMS is to become a successful communication channel, that recipients have agreed to be sent text messages, and that the content matches their profile. Just as SMS can be a unique means of adding value, there is the potential to alienate people if it is used incorrectly.

Source: OpinionWire by Butler Group (www.butlergroup.com)

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