That's drawing the attention of outsourcers who believe financial institutions will want a partner to manage the scale and infrastructure behind alerts and other real-time information.
A case in point is Infinite Convergence, which just launched its Enterprise Messaging Service (EMS), a cloud-based messaging service that can be used for marketing, account queries or employee alerts. Chicago-based Infinite Convergence was formed as a result of an alliance between Infinite Computer Solutions and Nokia Siemens Networks. It supports more than 130 million subscribers globally and offers a range of messaging solutions for Tier 1 and Tier 2 wireless operators. Using the cloud is an alternative to the current method used by most banks, which is to purchase a solution from a tech company and install it on site. Remote hosting is designed to make the system more flexible in cost and server resources.
"When we look at the growth of enterprise messaging, we felt there was a worry in the industry with regard to supplying enterprise messaging volume. With our experience with Tier 1 and Tier 2 wireless operators we felt we could manage messaging and delivery on large amounts of traffic," says Anurag Lal, CEO of Infinite Convergence. Infinite Convergence is targeting financial services, travel and healthcare; financial services use cases include alerts for real-time account activity, payment reminders, security alerts, marketing, and balance messages.
EMS offers outbound SMS; two-way SMS; a campaign management user interface that allows administrators to upload a list of mobile numbers to send broadcasts, marketing, quizzes and other content; opt-out/opt-in triggers; analytics that measure use and response to campaigns; and management tools such as access control. The product includes an application programming interface that enables the service to be integrated with existing business application and IT infrastructures. Lal did not release names of EMS users, but says the product is currently being piloted.
Analysts say the hosted model for enterprise messaging is relatively new, but there is an emerging market for companies that can simplify the delivery, volume and management of different operating systems, security and compliance involved in mobile messaging.
"Push messaging over mobile channels is looking likely to be an area of huge innovation and commercial opportunity and risk over the coming months and years. It's an opportunity if the correct commercial and technical models are adopted. It's a risk if there is huge investment in approaches which prove later not to gain material traction in the market," says Nicholas Brewer, a senior analyst for Aite Group. Brewer says this growing importance means that mobile communication capability is becoming a core activity for banks and other financial institutions, hence forming a strategic part of their long-term technology and operating plans.
Bernard Golden, CEO of Hyperstratus, a cloud computing consultant, says that under the Infinite Convergence model, technology that was previously installed on-premise at the data center is being made available as a cloud based service — or "Saas-ified" as Golden puts it. In this case, operational responsibility is shifted away from the bank.
"[The host] presumably has much greater expertise in operating the product than any end user would. Regarding this product, that would presumably include operational requirements regarding security and compliance," Golden says. "It allows the customer to focus on the important part of the application, which is its use and content. Regarding this product, this would be the content of the messages and the use of the application, such as what triggers messages to be sent, and any scheduling or campaigns associated with messages."