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What to look for in a mobile enablement partner

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South Africa’s mobile messaging market is a fiercely contested space, it is therefore important that organisations examine their mobile channel requirements carefully to obtain optimal value in the future, writes Jacques Swanepoel, COO of Cellfind.
The mobile phone is at the heart of how organisations communicate with their clients – from sending invoices, payslips and statements to communicating special offers and promotions. Cost plays an important part in any organisation; however, it is imperative that enterprises do not compromise on reliability or performance. As such, bulk SMS is an important aspect of most organisations’ communications infrastructure.
Here are four questions that companies should ask of their bulk messaging partners:
• Can you offer a one-stop solution across different messaging services and networks? A competent mobile enablement partner should allow you to manage most of your mobile communication needs from a single account, streamlining management of your environment. Ideally, your mobile enablement partner should offer robust functionality for premium and bulk SMS, USSD, push notifications and e-mail to mobile apps as well as being able to bill customers for mobile services such as content delivery, subscription services, and ad hoc downloads. It should also offer direct connections to all the major networks and have trusted partners to deliver messages worldwide.
• What service level will you agree to in terms of uptime? If you are running a large bank or retail operation, you might need the ability to quickly reach hundreds of thousands of people via mobile messaging. For example, you are experiencing a technical glitch and need to inform customers that the problem has been identified and is being solved. Instances may include the need to communicate technical problems or to release time-sensitive marketing promotions. In addition, you could be using SMS and other mobile channels to send time-critical messages such as one-time pins and password reminders. It’s important to understand what service level your provider will agree to in the contract in terms of uptime as well as delivery times for different classes of messages.
• Do you provide least-cost routing options? An important feature to look for in a messaging platform is flexible routing. You want to be able to set up different routing profiles that can be configured to take advantage of message prioritisation, failover as well as least cost for each network, for any message. This will enable you to save a great deal of money on bulk messages that are not time-sensitive.
• What level of innovation and customisation can you offer? The ideal mobile enablement partner should be able to offer you more than competitive pricing – it should also offer you a customised solution that includes a mix of value-added services. For example, it should be able to offer you an interface that meets your needs and helps with integration and business process analysis. And it should also be able to wrap offerings such as mobile invoices and payslips, or location-based services around the basic messaging solution.