Today, TigerTextexpanded its enterprise-grade texting service, hoping to add to the 5,000healthcare facilities that already use its secure cloud-based network. Thefive-year-old company also has its eye on expansion into the financial servicesand government sectors, which face comparable challenges in controlling theinformation shared by workers.
If IT leaders have learned nothing else during the BYOD era, they learned thatresistance is futile. Workers will use their own smartphones at work and thebest strategy is to help them to do so safely. In healthcare, for example, doctors and other caregivers form shadow networks to share updates on patient statusand other factors, often in violation of government privacy regulations andemployer information governance policies.
"We specifically targeted healthcare as ourinitial vertical for a variety of reasons related to compliance," TigerTextCEO Brad Brooks told CMSWire in an interview. "Usually, they're a laggard.But in this case they're a leading adopter of SMS and mobile communication.Combined with compliance, it created a perfect storm ofopportunity for us."
The company has now upgraded its effort with featuresdesigned to please both the CIO and the employees, including advanced reportingcapabilities, simpler setup, a user-friendly interface, lower batteryconsumption and the capacity to support multiple inboxes for each user. Like itsearlier tools, the service can connect securely with in-house networks, givingmobile workers the ability to safely share attachments of up to 10 MB.
Because it ties into a company's secure network, the texts can include alertsfrom the system and workers can contact anyone on the employee roster withoutusing their mobile number. The metadata attached to each message is recorded,but the contents remain private, providing both the documentation ofcommunications and the privacy required by regulatory agencies. Additionally, customers can apply their own governance polices, such as length of retention,and can download all data to on-premises servers as often as they like, even in real time.
"Security and compliance is how we get their attention," saidBrooks. "How we win the day is by providing a really powerfulworkforce solution because people have to use it. They have to feel they'regetting value around it."
Several other companies also offer secure text services,particularly in the healthcare industry. Brooks said five of the 10 largestfor-profit healthcare companies use TigerText along with the largest nonprofit,Ascension Health.
"It's not a very high threshold to create a messenger, a good one,"he said. "But to do it on the level on which we're doing it -- as far as the scale, theinfrastructure, the reliability and also all of the administrative backend -- that's actually a very, very substantial undertaking."
Many financial and government entities to this day require workers to useBlackberry phones because of RIM's renowned security standards. "From astrategic point of view, we'll probably sequence those next because they'recycling out of the Blackberry and moving to the BYOD environment," Brookssaid.
The privately held Santa Monica, Calif.-based company has raised just over$30 million in funding, including $21 million in a series B round in Januarythat was led by ShastaVentures. Other investors include OrbiMed,ReedElsevierVentures, TELUS, EastonCapital, New LeafVenture Partners and NewScience Ventures.
It now has about 100 employees, with 40 of them working on productimprovements and about 20 in sales. Sprint and Verizon offer TigerText as anadd-on service for business, and the service is also offered by CDW, theIllinois-based B2B technology reseller.
In addition to hundreds of paying accounts, TigerText offers a free version of its app that is used by "tens of thousands" of organizations,according to Brooks. It charges $5-10 per user for the full service, depending on the numberof users within a company.
Despite the service's popularity, Brooks said he never thinks about takingthe company public. "I don't manage to exit," he said. "I'm muchmore worried about how I'm going to triple the business again next year."
Title image by Tom Murphy