5 Minutes with OpenMarket’s Tim Ritchie, VP of Sales

By Tim Ritchie, VP of North America Sales & Account Management, OpenMarket for MEF

What does OpenMarket do?

OpenMarket provides mobile messaging and payments services to major enterprise clients.  Messaging services include A2P SMS, MMS, and Push Notifications via APIs or through a customizable cloud-based mobile engagement platform. Our solutions route messages via OpenMarket’s industry-leading scalable, reliable network.

When did OpenMarket launch and what growth have you seen?

OpenMarket launched as Simplewire in 1999.  Simplewire was acquired by QPass in 2006 and QPass was acquired by Amdocs later the same year. Over the past fourteen years, OpenMarket has grown to 200 employees in Seattle, Detroit, New York, London, Melbourne, and our latest location in Pune, India.  As the market leader, OpenMarket supports thousands of clients and processes more than 1.5 billion mobile transactions a month.

What are OpenMarket’s main goals?

OpenMarket aims to help major enterprise clients grow revenue and increase operational efficiency by leveraging mobile messaging.  The most familiar mobile use case is marketing. However, we are seeing an increasing demand from clients looking for ways to streamline internal business processes, increase customer satisfaction, and augment or replace more traditional messaging channels like voice and email.

Our ambition is to support every Fortune 2000 and FTSE 100 company and improve their business by leveraging the mobile channel. Just about every company out there has a mobile need – even if they aren’t aware of it today.

Where do you see OpenMarket in three years’ time?

Three years from today, OpenMarket will be providing Fortune 2000 clients with a comprehensive suite of mobile messaging services including an integrated customer experience via our mobile engagement platform; multiple messaging channels including SMS, MMS, Push Notifications, email, and IVR; and robust professional services to integrate legacy systems, customize workflows and analytics.

What aspect of mobile is most exciting to you right now?

One of the things that draws me to mobile is the pace of change. It’s hard to predict from one moment to the next which emerging technology will spark the next mobile revolution.  Is it NFC?  The next killer APP?  Location?  Augmented reality?  Mobile voice interaction a la Siri and Google Now?  I can’t imagine a more exciting space.

The relationship between mobile subscribers and their devices is so powerful and intimate. Mobile is by far the most effective channel for reaching someone immediately or in the “moment.”  For the past several years, major enterprises have experimented with leveraging that relationship. Those experiments have been successfully completed and we are moving into scaling those solutions. Today enterprises are incorporating mobile messaging as “business as usual” technology – and the potential that holds for reshaping subscriber experiences is very exciting to me.

 What’s the most critical issue that will hit mobile within the next 12 months?

Any industry evolving at the speed of mobile has plenty of challenges to overcome.  Subscriber privacy and data security are challenges that I expect to receive focus over the coming year. These concerns arise because mobile is a supporting a technology serving global markets and diverse industries. For example, some security and privacy requirements overlap between best practices for financial, healthcare, and government organizations. However, each of those industries has tailored security requirements specific to their industry, or even down to individual clients. If you then layer on global mobile messaging, the web of requirements becomes incredibly complex.

 Apart from your own, which mobile companies are the ones to watch in the year ahead?

I hope that the “mobile” companies to watch in the coming year are not traditional mobile companies at all, but rather enterprises leveraging innovative mobile technologies to improve their service and customer engagement. Great examples of this innovation include Ford’s integration of Glympse’s location technology; a variety of healthcare companies using mobile messaging to increase treatment adherence and monitor patient response; and a variety of industries, notably financial and web-based companies that are using mobile messaging to improve security.

Increasingly, the line between “mobile” companies and “other” companies is being blurred.  Mobile is a powerful communications channel with the ability to positively influence nearly every industry.  As mobile subject matter experts, it’s our responsibility to educate and inform companies on how to use mobile to increase revenue, improve customer satisfaction, and reduce operational cost.