Should Integrators Use Text Messaging (SMS) For Business?

This is more of a 'business communication' question than 'security'.

When I was with my previous integration company, I had a very pronounced bias against employees using SMS for business communication: things like work orders, PO authorizations, and general business coordination belonged in email, not texts. Why? Because my IT platform had no engineering controls for SMS.

Our Exchange server was a core platform for the business. An employee could not say 'I never got that email' without IT being able to dig in and trace where the problem took place, and likely having a clear audit trail of what was actually sent.

I can't help but notice that SMS is becoming more mainstream. I met with an integrator this past week who primarily communicates with field techs through SMS. This seems really shortsighted to me, but maybe I just overamplify the weaknesses in my mind.

How about you? Regardless of which business you're in, how central is SMS to your communication?


Sending a text with information someone in the fields needs is a lot easier than waiting for something them to find something to write with, and it's right there. It's also a quick and easy way to send messages that don't need an immediate reponse, so you're not bothering them in the middle of something and they don't have to take the extra couple minutes to go through voicemails; the message is right there.

But I agree for more critical communication, email or a phone call is better. They both have their place, and depends on management's comfort level.

Nearly all my clients communicate via e-mail. On the rare occasion one starts a conversation via SMS, I reply via e-mail. Most get the hint and figure out what I prefer as my primary means of communication. Google Voice has the potential to fix the SMS audit trail problem, but integration is not seamless (except for maybe Sprint customers). I highly recommend using GV as your voicemail service, however. I have already used it once to find a six month old voice mail and settle a dispute.

Related: What type of phones do field techs have these days? If you have a smartphone, isn't email pretty easy to use anyway?

For my company, I supply the foreman with a smartphone. Everybody else is BYOD. This ensures at least one person has the ability to get me a photo of a problem quickly should the need arise.

While I agree with your sentiment (e-mail is just as easy as SMS), it is not what the "youngsters" gravitate to. In a way, I understand the appeal. SMS is faster because of how it restricts your options; 140 character limit, no formatting options (or even line breaks), spelling/grammar shortcuts are almost encouraged, fat-finger mistakes are forgiveable, etc.

We still deal with a lot of companies, agencies who have company phones and use thier own, so they dont have restrictions or big brother watching over them. At&t, Verizon

More Smart Phones (Droids,Iphones), Tablets (Galaxie, iPads). Most of the Tech people I deal with have multiple phone for privacy, and no restriction, monitoring, control. I still like my laptop, have droids, galaxy tab

Most want BYOD for latitude and freedom. Still have a lot of old techs who like simple (not all the bells & whistles). Younger Generation Love the toys

I agree with Luis, both have their place - sometimes we'll get a text that just says, "Check your email for a new work order", because SMS messages pretty much always come through immediately, while emails don't (even with push services, they can be delayed sometimes).

I love using text messaging to clients, prospects and techs. I really like scheduling appointments or answer questions after business hours because I don't have to spend 20 mins of my free time talking to them unless its an Emergency. Granted I try to email when possible but sometimes people don't check their email as often as texts

Of course, the main advantage to electronic communications - email OR SMS - is that you have a record of the exchange; a paper trail, as it were. I have emails archived back to at least 2004 or earlier. There are a number of call-recording apps for smart phones, but then you have wiretap laws to worry about, and having the text record makes things much more searchable.

In my opinion, text has its tactical place in business operations but for stratgic, contractural, procurement or other legal based documents I would avoid its use. Can you answer the question, "can an auditor follow the chain of custody of communications and provenance of the documents? Even more important in SOX driven, publically owned businesses.

Joel