TigerText revamps UI, analytics in crowded enterprise mobile messaging market

The app is now also simpler to deploy by IT departments

TigerText has revamped its enterprise mobile messaging app's interface and analytics, the latest player making moves to stand out and stay relevant in a crowded, intensely competitive market where consolidation appears imminent.

The updated app, also designed to be easier to deploy and manage by IT departments, is intended to help TigerText broaden its customer base beyond health care, where it's most popular, to other verticals like finance, government and legal.

TigerText is one of many companies that jumped on the opportunity to provide secure mobile messaging to enterprises, after seeing widespread and growing use of consumer apps in workplaces.

However, there's a consensus among industry experts that the market has gotten over populated with vendors. Even if there were few players, it's not clear that just providing enterprise mobile messaging is enough to sustain a business. Vendors in this market include Cotap, Heywire Business, Biba, Confide and CellTrust, to mention a few. And they're still arriving at the party. Avaamo, led by two former Tibco executives, went live in October after securing US$6.3 million in seed funding.

Another threat is the likelihood that large vendors will develop their own products or add mobile messaging capabilities to existing enterprise collaboration and communication suites. For example, Cisco recently launched a beta mobile app called Project Squared that offers messaging, video conferencing and file sharing.

TigerText's CEO Brad Brooks is confident his company will be standing when the dust clears in this market due to its emphasis on enterprise security from the beginning and to its track record so far: Founded in 2010, TigerText counts among its thousands of customers five of the top 10 for-profit health systems in the U.S., including Universal Health Services and Community Health Systems. This, he said, is telling because health care companies must comply with very strict data protection and privacy regulations.

"We started with a focus on security, with this notion that enterprises should be able to control in a central place how long [messaging] data lives in employee devices and not have it exposed, and when it's out there to have it encrypted and secured," he said.

Its app has been downloaded 4 million times, and 500 million messages move through its network every month. Its largest single deployment involves 30,000 employees. "We understand what's required to serve large enterprises," he said.

TigerText, initially characterized as a combination of WhatsApp and Snapchat because its encrypted mobile messages could be set to self-destruct after a period of time, focused on boosting its usage analytics in this update.

Specifically, reporting has been enhanced with access to real-time stats that contain metadata about every sent message so IT departments have visibility into message traffic and the ability to drill down into details about individual messages or to get a broader view on collective messaging trends.

In addition, TigerText has deepened its product's integration with enterprise directories so that it's simpler for IT departments to "on board" new users. The user interface has been reworked to make it more intuitive and the user experience more similar to consumer messaging apps.

On the back end, the TigerText app is now able to work with less bandwidth than in the past, so it remains usable in places with poor network coverage, and it's more battery friendly, requiring less energy to transmit messages.

Juan Carlos Perez covers enterprise communication/collaboration suites, operating systems, browsers and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.

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