By Sean Hungerford, Head of BBM Management, Blackberry, for FierceMobileIT
It’s no great secret that mobile technology has changed the way we communicate with one another. As noted by Facebook’s Jane Schachtel, mobile devices have become so ubiquitous that they are at this point more of a behavior than a technology.
To put it another way, we’ve grown so familiar with the constant connectivity offered by smartphones and tablets that it’s almost second nature now; we communicate through our mobile devices with such frequency that it feels inherently natural–the average American uses one for over two hours every day.
For millennials in particular, mobile messaging has become the preferred way of talking to one another, second only to in-person conversation,” wrote Radial Point’s Alexis Smirnov. “For [this] reason, it shouldn’t be surprising that enterprise messaging is taking off. Habits people form in their daily lives change the way they work and drive the trend of consumerization of the enterprise.”
There are very real advantages to this consumerization. Modern employees can communicate with one another in real-time, regardless of location; this allows them to share pertinent updates, receive notifications about their work, collaborate on projects or even host digital meetings. This ease of communication in turn leads to greater productivity and ultimately improved efficiency throughout an organization.
At this point, it should be clear that mobile communication has changed the enterprise for the better. The problem is, according to a survey recently carried out by the International Data Corporation, not all businesses are entirely onboard with that change. In other words, although they’re aware of the value that mobile messaging brings to their business, many decision-makers have yet to tap into it.
“Despite a high-level acknowledgement of the value of mobile messaging, deployments of the technology remain relatively immature across all global regions,” Steve French, OpenMarket vice president of product management and marketing, told CMS Wire. “Traditional mobile messaging is the most ubiquitous form of mobile communication available to every one of the three billion mobile subscribers worldwide…businesses should be utilizing it more than they do.”
What’s stopping them?
There are three primary roadblocks that are all closely related to one another: security, usability and simplicity. In order to gain acceptance within enterprises, a mobile messaging platform needs to work just as well as any of the commercially available apps. Not only that, it needs to be able to support the wide range of devices typically used within an enterprise. All of this while still securing the messages employees send and receive–employees must be able to communicate about sensitive topics through their messaging app without having to worry about data leakage.
Of course, even with the right application, your business needs the right practices in place to use it effectively. That brings us to our core question–how can your business better use mobile messaging? How can you tap into the power of real-time communication to make your organization and its employees better-connected and more efficient?
- Know what you’ll use messaging for: The most important step in any mobile messaging strategy is to first establish what you want it to do for your organization. Do you want to improve customer relations or simply implement an internal communications system? It’s worth noting here that there’s nothing wrong with a multifaceted approach.
- Understand the mobile messaging landscape: Just as consumer devices are seeing widespread use in the enterprise, so too is consumer messaging. Consumer messaging applications are growing incredibly popular, leading to what many have referred to as the “messaging wars”. An understanding of this market–and why consumer messaging apps are so popular–is absolutely necessary if you’re going to develop a sufficient messaging strategy.
- Consider your employees: If you intend to make use of a mobile messaging app within your organization, it’s imperative that you understand how your employees use whatever messaging apps they use in their free time. Knowledge of their usage tendencies will better equip you to put their needs first. What’s more, if your application isn’t as intuitive as the consumer alternatives, then people aren’t going to use it. It’s as simple as that.
- See to security: To date, data leakage through mobile messaging apps is among the largest security weaknesses in the modern enterprise. Especially with the widespread use of messaging within businesses, this must be addressed; messages need to be properly encrypted to protect important company data. IT administrators need to regain control of mobile messaging and make this a key element of their IT strategy.
Mobile technology has brought about a fundamental shift in how we communicate both in our personal lives and in our work lives. The ability to communicate in real-time with anyone regardless of location is extremely powerful–but enterprises are still adapting to it. By understanding the mobile messaging landscape, formulating a solid mobile messaging strategy and making use of the right tools, your business can be among those that enjoys the productivity, efficiency and financial gains represented by real-time messaging.
Trust me–it’s better that you do sooner rather than later.