Monday, 24 November 2008

SMS Home Routing, it's all about trust

The report from our lunch discussion has now been published: Home Routing Under the Spotlight it's worth a read.

The subject matter is admittedly quite dry, it's fairly technical subject but it is one which has potentially serious commercial implications for the mobile messaging industry and the wider business community.

Firstly a big thank you to Michael and Ralph at Tyntec for treating us to a first class venue. Along with Mike Grenville of 160Characters, they had assembled a great cross section of the industry to talk through the issues.

Home routing lunch

The Trust Issue

The big concern for me is the potential erosion of trust. It's this key factor that, I believe, threatens to derail the burgeoning enterprise SMS market.

Here at Esendex we are increasingly seeing customers use SMS as part of their business workflows. The expectation they all have is that when a message is indicated as delivered, it means just that, the message has been delivered to the handset.

This delivery event is used to drive business decisions, work flow events, SLA compliance and trigger a host of events and processes as a result.

This is great for business. Using SMS opens the door for all sorts of process improvements, efficiencies and cost savings.

One of our clients (case study not signed off so can't name them) use our service to assign jobs to freelance contractors. They have a process SLA that requires the contractor to respond in 15 minutes from job assignment indicating that they wish to accept. No response in time, no job, no money.

The delivery receipt is key. If the message is on the contractors handset at a known time, there is no dispute over whether there was sufficient time to respond.

In the opaque SMS routing scenario, described in the article, this 'knowledge' about whether the message is on the handset can no longer be relied upon, trust is broken.

All it takes is for one or two bad apples to implement home routing in this way and the whole use of SMS to drive enterprise workflows is brought into question.

This is obviously bad for service providers like us and operators. Enterprise use of SMS represents a big growth opportunity that we would all miss out on.

It's also bad for business. They will lose the opportunity to improve and save, perhaps at a time when this is needed the most.

I'm a big fan of home routing, it represents a huge step forward in the functionality that SMS services can offer (just so long as the operators give us wholesale access). Let's now ruin the market in the process.

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