Diary of a Communications Director: Launching in India

The following story outlines a real-life scenario of how enterprise executives are incorporating mobile into their internal communications strategies. 

June 2nd 2014…

As if I didn’t have enough on my plate already, I arrived into the office today to face a frantic IT Director telling me we are all-systems-go for opening a new office in Pune, India! Since I’m in charge of how Acme Corp. communicates internally with all of our employees, this opens up a whole new opportunity for me to see how we can effectively keep in touch with colleagues on the other side of the world and in a different time zone.

I wonder what I can do to make our new colleagues feel welcome and keep in touch with them in an innovative way…

June 3rd 2014…

To start prepping for our new locale, today I created a checklist of the most important components of communicating with all employees within our company:

Most important components of internal communications:

  • Must offer an immediate way to interact with each employee in a reliable and secure manner
  • Must be able to implement communication quickly and with little notice
  • Must be able to control the user experience
  • Must still be convenient and beneficial, not over-bearing for the employee
  • Must be low maintenance for our technicians

Like many organizations, we already use e-mail for some internal communications, but only for detailed information that has been prepared well in advance. We also occasionally call our staff, but that’s expensive and time consuming.

I’m thinking of something more short and sweet, something snappy that can be immediately read, perhaps something right onto the employee’s mobile handset… Considering all of the above, it sounds like SMS will be the perfect channel for communicating with employees in a simple and cost effective way. 

It’d be great if we can boost our communication efforts initially with our India team to introduce them to the various services within Acme Corp. that can make their work lives easier and more productive. I’m going to speak to our SMS provider, OpenMarket, who also has an office in India, to see if they have any advice…

June 4th 2014…

So OpenMarket was really enthusiastic about our new office opening and they had some great ideas and country advice for me on how we can interact effectively with our new employees in India. Here is what I discovered about India:

  • Each of the below services requires either one-way or two-way SMS and costs way less than I expected!
  • We can order an India Virtual Mobile Number (VMN) for our two-way SMS replies and this will only take a couple days to provision.
  • The India regulator, TRAI, imposes strict rules around Promotional SMS such as Do-Not-Disturb lists that protect users from receiving SMS between 9pm and 9am and an opt-out option in each SMS – however, since my traffic will be purely transactional not promotional, and contained to company employees only, these rules don’t apply this time.
  • All messages require a 6-letter Sender ID to be registered (we’ll use ACMECO)

Here are some examples of effective SMS use cases that are being run in India today that Acme Corp. could consider implementing for our employees in India:

  1. Welcome to Acme Corp.: Send a welcome text to each new employee before their first day to advise them of their new office location, who they should talk to on Day 1, what transportation links are available to them, etc. It’s a great way to keep in touch and keep the employee involved while they’re waiting to start their new job.
  2. Taxi-cab service: Send an SMS to an employee who has opted in to a company-sponsored taxi service to inform them of the pick-up location and driver/car details. Employees have the option to reply ‘CANCEL’ if they do not need the cab on that particular day.
  3. Bus service: Send an SMS to each employee who takes the company-sponsored bus to work with updates on bus route changes or alternatives.
  4. Disaster Management: In the event of a disaster in Acme Corp.’s office location, SMS provides a cost effective and most importantly, immediate way to contact all affected employees at the same time. Employees in a disaster area can each receive an SMS notifying them of the situation and requesting they respond with their status such as ‘safe’, ‘need help’, ‘in the office’, etc.

We’re definitely interested in pursuing these new services and more for our India employees. They are easy to implement via our connection with OpenMarket and we can set up all of our messaging services in OpenMarket’s Mobile Engagement Platform. I’m going to order an  India VMN today and set up some services to test so that we are ready for our employees’ first day!

June 10th 2014…

It’s a week later and we’re all set to go with internal communications for our future employees in India. I have an India VMN to use for all SMS use cases, and I’ve set up each of the two-way interactive services in OpenMarket’s platform already. We registered the Sender ID ‘ACMECO’ for India messaging last week and testing has gone well. I’m so happy that Acme Corp.’s internal communications are ready to go for our new India colleagues and we are now just awaiting their arrival!

With their Global SMS capabilities and Mobile Engagement Platform, OpenMarket has quickly become a one stop solution for all of our mobile messaging needs. I’m already starting to think about other internal use cases for our IT team and surely there are new ways we can use mobile to interact with our customers around the world as well.

Stay tuned…