SMS Services for BPOs - Concept Paper by ValueFirst Messaging

Jan 29 23:00 2006 Vijay Shukla Print This Article

Overview

The business of providing outsourced services to corporates in India and abroad has seen a phenomenal growth in India. With this growth comes the challenge of providing excellent infrastructure and support to the employees working in BPO offices. BPOs typically have large workforce, working at odd business hours. Providing a proper and secure logistics support to the employees is very critical for BPO administration. In addition, real time dissemination of critical and useful information to a large number of stake-holders is essential to ensuring smooth operations at BPOs.

Key Challenges

The key challenges with the BPOs in India are as follows:

  • Ensure employee security
  • Provide real time information to employees
  • Minimise churn and attract talent and
  • Reduce turnaround time for processes 

Looking Ahead

Security is the biggest concern for the leading BPO’s with global operations.  BPOs in India need step up the initiatives to provide highest levels of security for its employees and infrastructure. Security includes three important dimensions -- people,Guest Posting technology and processes. People security took centrestage for BPO’s after the murder of Bangalore BPO employee in December 2005.

There are various measures being taken to meet the aforementioned challenges. Some of the challenges are addressed by adopting to the new media and new age technology-related services such as SMS services that connect computer systems with mobile phones.SMS technology is fast being adopted by BPOs to provide real time information to the employees. This information pertains to logistics, HR processes, and IT infrastructure management.  

Common SMS services used by BPOs: 

1. Logistics Information: Knowing the cab timing accurately is highly desired by the employees. In addition, there are last minute changes in schedule of cabs. At times the designated cab is not available and alternate arrangement is done. Change in route and time too in not infrequent. 

Current Process: Administration calls up each employee to inform change in timings, cab numbers and route. This takes lot of time and all employees are not reachable instantly. 

SMS Solution: BPOs maintain a database of cabs going on different routes. ValueFirst application VelocityPlus pushes the information on any change in cab timings, cab numbers to the members of the cab as SMS in an automated way. 

Benefits: Instant and automated transmission of message at lower costs and without manual intervention. Used by Convergys. 

2. Employee change in schedule: When an employee is on leave and is joining after a time gap he is not sure of the current timings and route.  

Current Process: Employee has to call up to know the current status.  It takes time as phones at the receiving end are frequently busy. 

SMS Solution: Employees send an SMS on a 4 digit number and information about their cab is sent as SMS to them. ValueFirst application VelocityPlus pulls all these SMS, queries the backend database pertaining to the mobile number and replies as SMS. Convergys employees send an SMS <CIS> to a 4-digit number to get their cab status on mobile phone. 

Benefits: Instant information with savings in communication cost. More convenient way of getting information. 

3. Emergency or last minute information to employees: BPO administration, HR department have to communicate with large number of employees very frequently who work at different timings. 

Current Process: Notices are displayed at various locations in the office. Many of such notices are either missed out by majority of employees or these are seen after a time gap. 

SMS Solution: Using ValueFirst Velocity application SMS are sent to employees for various information. Vertex sends interviews schedules for new recruitments to employees and employees refer candidates for interviews. 

Benefits: Instant, low cost, convenient dissipation of information to large employee force. 

4. IT infrastructure maintenance:  BPOs generally manage huge IT infrastructure. It is required to communicate any exigency to support staff urgently. 

Current Process: Servers generate a text message which goes as Email to support staff. At times Email is not checked immediately and problems are not attended to for some time. 

SMS Solution: Using ValueFirst Airmail service, Emails can be sent to support staff as SMS. Used by HCL Comnet. 

Benefits: Problems are attended instantly. Support staff does not have to sit on computers to track incoming mails or trouble ticket alerts. Also, in-built escalation in the service ensuring that the problem is attended to as per the SLA agreed.  

About Valuefirst Messaging

ValueFirst http://www.vfirst.com empowers its customers to communicate between varied IT back-end systems and mobile phones using SMS Services. ValueFirst provides a unique, end-to-end, global carrier-grade mobile data service. Its mobile data service offering includes "plug and play" application licensing and hosting. Employing a partnership with Mobile operators, ValueFirst acts as a Virtual Mobile Operator, with a clear focus on SMS mobile messaging. ValueFirst’s Mobile Messaging Platform is capable of delivering SMS services to virtually any CDMA/GSM mobile handset. 

ValueFirst SMS Service - Description

1. Send SMS directly to any mobile phone using a PC connected with the internet.

2. Receive critical emails as SMS when you are not connected.

3. Receive incoming SMS and reply in an automated way.

Both single messaging and multi-messaging communications facilities are available, creating a dynamic tool for cost saving communications, helping improve performance of businesses. 

Why is SMS effective?

SMS has evolved as a global communication facility with GSM network spanning in over 200 countries and more than 500 operators offering mobile services under its umbrella. In addition many CDMA operators also have embraced SMS in their bouquet of services. With SMS being the talk of the town, many technological initiatives have been taken keeping this highly cost-effective, globally approachable and secure means of communication directly in sync with the interest of the customer. Since, there is a network sharing understanding among most of the mobile network operators around the world, SMS becomes an obvious choice for expediting 2-way text based communication irrespective of the geographical location. In addition, there are several unique benefits of using SMS as a medium of communication:

Cost-effective

As a communications medium, SMS is the most cost-effective way of communicating to any mobile audience. The fact that SMS can be sent out to large groups of recipients in a manual or automated manner further means that fewer resources are required to action the communication.

High Reach

In India, more people can be reached via SMS than with e-mail communications. Currently, there are about 80 million mobile connections in India. 

Immediacy

An SMS is typically delivered within seconds. Because message is pushed to the handset by the delivering network’s SMSC and does not rely on the recipient retrieving it from a server, it is an extremely reliable means of pushing time-sensitive messages to recipients.

Automation

Should an organisation need to integrate SMS with its existing (legacy) database environments, automating SMS is easy. ValueFirst, for instance, allows for generic protocol integration such as e-mail, HTTP, SMPP, XML and windows application systems to its Servers.

Reliability

Since the time SMS was launched, it has excelled as an acceptable communications medium. With increase in reliability, end-to-end solutions providers such as ValueFirst are committed to achieving 100% reliability. Hence, SMS is getting widely accepted as a new business communications channel.

Message Reporting

SMS can be saved on customer’s existing IT infrastructure, and can also be logged with a full message report by the ValueFirst Servers. Messages can be searched based on date, content, destination number and product or ID employed.

Personal and Discreet

One SMS - one recipient. SMS messages are sent to individual mobile handsets where it is personal and aimed at that specific individual, allowing for compelling one-to-one communications. SMS is different from other kinds of mass media, in that it is direct and private.

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About Article Author

Vijay Shukla
Vijay Shukla

This article has been contributed by (Mr.) Vijay Shukla, Country Head, ValueFirst Messaging India (http://www.vfirst.com) Vijay has over 10 years of industry experience of management consulting and mobile data services. He can be contacted at vijayshukla@yahoo.com

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