TigerText CEO Brad Brooks: We’re balancing two very disparate requirements

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Brad Brooks, the chief executive officer of secure enterprise messaging provider TigerText, has been a particularly busy man over the past couple of weeks.

The Santa Monica-based firm recently released a bunch of new features to its app, including advanced reporting capabilities and a more streamlined user experience, in an attempt to stay among the winner’s enclosure in a highly competitive market.

Having been around for more than four years, Brooks (left) feels TigerText is more than equipped to beat off the ever increasing competition with its HIPAA-approved solution, strength in healthcare and $21m of series B funding. Avaamo, led by former TIBCO executives Ram Menon and Sriram Chakravarthy, was the latest to roll into town back in October with $6.3m of funding under its belt.

“Some of the features that we built in are very much reflective of cycles that we have with our customers, getting the feedback, and tweaking product to incorporate certain features that they need,” Brooks tells Enterprise AppsTech. “[As] our ecosystem of customers gets bigger and bigger, we also start to be able to translate things across the customer base.

One of the key aspects of mobility is agility. Research from VMware last month showed that, on average, employees have to wait two weeks to be equipped with mobility solutions. TigerText’s latest app includes a slicker onboarding process, so new users can get started on the app in a few quick steps. Yet Brooks is quick to warn over the complex nature of what the firm is trying to achieve.

“This is just not a simple ‘you snap your fingers and you create an enterprise texting app,’” he adds. “We’re balancing two very disparate requirements around end user reusability and a feature set at the administrative and security side – this is something that requires a great deal of capital, time, effort, cycles, and customers that grow with you.”

TigerText speaks of SMS as a “priority channel” for enterprise employees to communicate with each other as opposed to email, which is “overburdened with so much clutter”. In essence, Brooks argues, their strategy is a successor to corporate IM but in a mobile-first world.

“We keep that all secure within the enterprise, but to do it in a way that is very mobile, and texting-centric, we think it’s the next logical evolution of corporate communication, and something that is the confluence of a lot of stuff coming together,” Brooks explains.

He adds: “Whether it’s BYOD [and] SMS, then SMS is the priority channel, and [you have] an app, SaaS based installation that doesn’t force a company to install a bunch of new hardware – which is very archaic relative to where things should be today.”

Brooks notes it’s divided as to whether the employee or the employer drives this productivity change.

“Some of our most successful deployments have been driven by the employees who recognise that this is an incredible opportunity to leverage these smart devices that everyone’s carrying – they tend to be more visionary employees,” he says. “By the same token you do have certain IT enterprise administrators...trying to figure out how to address the security issue, but then also came to realise ‘this is an amazing opportunity that we think will improve communication dramatically.’”

With collaboration a key driver for productivity in the mobile enterprise, some of the giant tech vendors, notably Cisco and Microsoft, have a wide variety of toolsets for a bespoke portfolio, including enterprise messaging alongside social networks and collaborative spreadsheet tools.

This makes life tougher for the likes of TigerText, although recent research found that while many companies were using Microsoft enterprise tools, they weren’t using them in concert. Nevertheless, a palatable USP and an intelligent selling model is more important than ever for the single market players.

TigerText has its core strength in the healthcare industry, although Enterprise AppsTech understands the company is looking to move into other verticals in the near future. As for the selling model, it’s freemium, and similar to other companies; it’s free to use from an end user point of view, but for archiving and admin control, enterprises have to pay up.

Brooks makes it clear how the two styles balance each other out. “We definitely have a clear sales effort in place, and sales people, and resellers, but by the same token we also want to promote that free viral, stimulating end user demand,” he says. “We think that you need that combination on both sides.

“If it’s not resonating at the user level, we’re a failure as a company.”


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