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6/11/2014
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Mobile Business Without The Apps

SAP technology helps Brazilian job site contact workers where they are -- on cellphones, but without apps.

Jacob Rosenbloom approached Brazil's labor market as an investor. He saw, he said last week in a media conference at SAP's SapphireNow conference, a labor market of 102 million people, of whom only about 15 million have any education beyond high school. How could a company build a labor market to serve a laborer who doesn't know what a resumé is and has never used a personal computer? According to Rosenbloom, CEO and co-founder of Emprego Ligado, the largest blue-collar employment site in Brazil, his firm did it by building a company that was mobile from the ground up.

SAP, which announced general availability of the SAP Mobile Platform 3.0 on May 22, provides the backend application that allows Emprego Ligado to take information from cellphones and turn it into records that potential employers can use. The process is complicated by the fact that the workers in Emprego Ligado's target labor pool tend not to have smartphones, so an app isn't a good option. The company turns, instead, to standard SMS messaging to build a profile of each worker and communicate with them concerning job opportunities.

The lack of an app doesn't mean that Emprego Ligado has the luxury of ignoring user interface design. "Customers are so used to being spoiled by beautiful UX that we need to understand the wants and needs of everyone who's going to touch our app. The way the customer interacts with our system is through SMS -- they think they're talking to their mother or a friend. We had to look carefully at the language we use to maintain the relationship," said Rosenbloom.

[Learn more about SAP. See SAP Chairman Hasso Plattner: Exclusive Q&A.]

Careful use of the SMS interface coupled with backend analytics allows Emprego Ligado to match job seekers to jobs based on one of the most important indicators of a successful match: physical proximity to work. "We found that the defining factor in someone's success in interviewing was how close they are to where they'll be working," Rosenbloom said. He explained that this is an issue for both the workers and the companies that are Emprego Ligado's customers. "When turnover is too high, it's a problem for everyone."

Rick Costanzo, executive VP and general manager of global mobility solutions at SAP, pointed out at the media conference that mobile is the most prevalent technology in emerging markets. Rosenbloom agreed, saying, "We looked at the tools available to consumers in the emerging markets: They don't pay to have a professional network profile created, and they don't use mobile professional tools, but they do have mobile devices in their hands."

Rosenbloom's observations are in line with the results of the Pew Research Global Attitudes Project survey on mobile device use. According to the survey, 80% of Brazilians own a cellphone, with only 15% of those qualifying as smartphones. The cellphone ownership numbers compare with 49% of Brazilians who say that they either own a smartphone or occasionally use the Internet in another way. Since smartphone ownership and Internet use are each highly correlated with education, it's obvious that simple cellphone text messaging is the dominant technology for reaching blue-collar workers -- and is likely to remain so for some time to come.

Costanzo says that, while he has no question about the power and impact of the SAP Mobile Platform, there is one aspect of the product line that has a less rosy future: the product description. "Mobility is an archaic term because everything is mobile now," he said.

IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, and SAP are fighting to become your in-memory technology provider. Do you really need the speed? Get the digital In-Memory Databases issue of InformationWeek today.

Curtis Franklin Jr. has been writing about technologies and products in computing and networking since the early 1980s. He contributes to a number of technology-industry publications including Information Week , ChannelWeb , Network ... View Full Bio
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D. Henschen
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D. Henschen,
User Rank: Author
6/11/2014 | 1:19:30 PM
It doesn't have to be Brazil
Salesforce.com customer Stanley Black & Decker did a mobile app using SMS right here in the USA. The company's MAC Tools truck drivers, who go from shop to shop delivering tools, wanted something fast and simple to verify deliveries and orders, and not all of them had smart phones. SMS is stupid simple, relaible, and cheap. Those are attributes more businesses should consider before investing a bundle in expensive, hard-to-maintain native apps or even Web apps.
Curt Franklin
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Curt Franklin,
User Rank: Strategist
6/12/2014 | 2:41:23 PM
Re: It doesn't have to be Brazil
@Doug, "KISS" is one of those design principles that too many app designers jettison when they become lead on a project. One of the things that impressed me was that they haven't forgotten about user interface: It's still quite critical to their success, it's just expressed in a much simpler way than most of us think about.
Ashu001
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Ashu001,
User Rank: Ninja
6/28/2014 | 2:43:26 PM
Re: It doesn't have to be Brazil
Henschen,

The way I look at it,the Telecom Companies would love it if Consumers simply used SMS for everything today.

Given how High the Profit Margins are on SMS today;its an obvious solution for them.

Doubt if that will provide the best consumer experience though.

Regards

Ashish.
zerox203
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zerox203,
User Rank: Ninja
6/12/2014 | 1:04:27 PM
Re: Mobile Business Without The Apps
Seconded on Rich and Mr. Henschens's points both (which really aren't so different, when you think about it). You hear it repeated in meeting rooms across the globe - the key is to understand your target audience, and market something they want to them in the way that they want. A lot of companies give what you've referred to in the past as 'lip service' to that idea, Curt, without really doing it. This is a great example of it being done right. Think about all the money that would have been wasted with a smartphone app!

The Black & Decker example brings up another great case. It doesn't have to be simply that you're reaching for a lower level of customer for you to choose a simpler solution. If you have a variety of customers, the simple solution may still be the best. The question is whether it will save you time, money, and effort, while still maximizing success (although, hitting your lowest common denominator is part of that). In the end, nothing else really matters, does it? Nobody's going to look at your flashy accelerated graphics when your department's in the red, are they?
Curt Franklin
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Curt Franklin,
User Rank: Strategist
6/12/2014 | 4:11:25 PM
Re: Mobile Business Without The Apps
@zerox203, I think that the idea is wrapped up in a design principle I learned early in my software dev career: Make things as simple as possible, and no simpler. There are still too many designers who equate simplicity with a lack of sophistication: I think they're quite mistaken in that belief.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
6/12/2014 | 1:22:04 PM
Re: Brilliant
This is certianly quite clever. I guess I only have one question-- if everyone in Brazil had smart phones would they have selected a different strategy, because appless to me sounds good under any circumstances.
Curt Franklin
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Curt Franklin,
User Rank: Strategist
6/13/2014 | 8:15:31 AM
Re: Brilliant
@Dave, if everyone in Brazil had a smartphone I'm guessing that they would have made a different choice -- though if everyone in Brazil had a smartphone it would be a much different country. The Pew research showed an amazingly high correlation between smarphone use and higher levels of education: Those who stopped their education earlier skew heavily toward feature phone use.

There are all sorts of other implications for that correlation, but I think the real takeaway is that the company took the time to learn about their target market and used the right technology to reach them. That's a solid lesson for just about any enterprise.
StaceyE
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StaceyE,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/30/2014 | 8:20:15 PM
Re: Brilliant
That is a good point. Appless sounds good to me too.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
6/12/2014 | 1:23:58 PM
Everything is mobile now
Costanzo nails it with this closing comment:  "Mobility is an archaic term because everything is mobile now."

Right on, and this project is an excellent example of how smart use of technology can not only serve business needs but actually change people's livees for the better by opening them up to employment oppoortunities.

@Curt (+ rest of community): Do you see opportunities for applying a similar approach to other markets (I'm thinking of Detroit for starters). If so, what would be the key differences between doing this in a US market versus the market served here?
Curt Franklin
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Curt Franklin,
User Rank: Strategist
6/13/2014 | 8:22:57 AM
Re: Everything is mobile now
@Susan, I think the principle of finding the right technology would certainly work, but the US market is much different than Brazil's when it comes to cell phones. According to Gartner (and others), smartphone sales passed feature phone sales in the US a couple of years ago. Now, we're still much less likely to perform certain tasks (like banking) on our phones than people in some developing countries (notably India and most African nations), but as a population we've embraced smart phones in a big way.

The key here is figuring out how to provide a great user experience for people of many different education and cultural backgrounds. If you can crack that particular nut then you have a shot at real success.
PedroGonzales
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PedroGonzales,
User Rank: Ninja
6/13/2014 | 11:59:26 AM
Re: Everything is mobile now
@ Curt.  The key is finding out which solution and technology fits better with the unique business problems in a country.  Smartphones and apps may not work for everyone.  I agree that finding out the best user experience for a wide variety of people is a huge challenge; the same with market research, different age group have various challenges.

 

 
Curt Franklin
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Curt Franklin,
User Rank: Strategist
6/19/2014 | 1:23:26 PM
Re: Everything is mobile now
@PedroGonzales, one of the key issues is being able to discover which technology (or technologies) your audience has in place. For those who are trying to sell products or services to the general public, that can mean figuring out what sort of gadget "everyone" is using. One of the things that's becoming obvious is that there are huge differences from region to region or even nation to nation -- a situation that creates enormous challenges for companies trying to sell things around the world.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
6/13/2014 | 2:59:20 PM
Re: Everything is mobile now
@Curt: While your point is well taken, I wonder what the smartphone penetration is for less-privileged regions of our country. Or, among the elderly population. Something like a text-based solution that you're talking about here could work if the goal is to be as egalatarian as possible to reach all members of society.

I fear the digital divide in the US is becming greater every year, and the digital/mobile have-nots are going to miss out on many important services and, even, job opportunities because of economic hardship. 
Curt Franklin
IW Pick
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Curt Franklin,
User Rank: Strategist
6/19/2014 | 2:38:43 PM
Re: Everything is mobile now
@Susan, the information I've seen indicates that the split in the US is more generational than socio-economic, and that the age split is an issue that will solve itself in the next decade. Those in their 70s and 80s still lean heavily toward feature phones while younger users are already deeply into smart phones.

Companies like Wal-Mart have made smart phones quite cheap here in the US: The real question for marketers is which platform to support with apps.
Ashu001
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Ashu001,
User Rank: Ninja
6/28/2014 | 1:31:42 PM
Re: Everything is mobile now
Curt,

I have seen this issue firsthand myself too.

The Older Generations[Primarily the Boomers];take time to get used to Smartphones and their various Apps.

However, as Demography changes this issue will sort itself out.The only issue is that most future Generations are much smaller in size than the Baby Boomer Generation here in America.

This will affect the whole App Development Game in ways we can't imagine today.Also,the Boomers will need Apps which are more intuitive/Larger Sized to take care of their weaker eyesight .

Guessing,more Voice is the way to go here?

Regards

Ashish.

 
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
7/2/2014 | 1:08:11 PM
Re: Everything is mobile now
@Curt: It's true there are generational forces at play here too (though I often like to point to my 80something Aunt Mary -- who is more tech-savvy than some 22-year-olds I know -- as the exception to that rule). My concern in the socioeconomic sphere is not limited to the phones themselves, but also the cost of data plans and montly access fees.

 
batye
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batye,
User Rank: Ninja
8/2/2014 | 11:56:42 PM
Re: Everything is mobile now
I think it affecting everyone one way or other as cost vs data on cellphone... also generation gap the way we use technology...
batye
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batye,
User Rank: Ninja
6/13/2014 | 3:39:05 PM
Re: Everything is mobile now
Susan, I think with Internet of things our life is changing already...
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
6/13/2014 | 4:16:26 PM
Re: Everything is mobile now
@batye: are you using anything yet that is served by IoT? Wearable technology? M2M to monitor your power usage? If so, I'm curious to know what your experience has been.

I have not used wearables though our power and water usage is monitoring remotely now (no more meter readers coming to the house every month).
batye
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batye,
User Rank: Ninja
6/13/2014 | 4:19:00 PM
Re: Everything is mobile now
No, not yet... as my wife still worried about Wearable technology could give cancer... 
batye
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batye,
User Rank: Ninja
6/13/2014 | 3:39:06 PM
Re: Everything is mobile now
Susan, I think with Internet of things our life is changing already...
Ashu001
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Ashu001,
User Rank: Ninja
6/28/2014 | 2:23:59 PM
Re: Everything is mobile now
SusanN,

Obviously this revealation has many ways of impacting consumers here in the US also .

If one has to look at Differences,I would say that Smartphone Percentages (particularly iPHones) would be very-very high in America.

This is not because Americans in General are richer than the Average Brazillian(they are'nt they are just in much more Debt) but Because telecom firms give away Smartphones with 2 year/3 year contracts relatively easily.

You can't do that in most other countries so consumers have to largely pay for these Phones in Cash(especially if they have poor Credit History).

How app designers use the fact that there are more iphones in American Consumers hands to deliver the best possible App Experience remains to be seen going ahead.

You feel its possible for the Authorities in Detroit to communicate the fact that they plan to cut off Water Supplies much quicker than they do?

http://news.yahoo.com/no-money-no-water-detroit-shutting-off-h2o-204442922.html

Regards

Ashish.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
7/2/2014 | 2:56:40 PM
Re: Everything is mobile now
@Ashish: Ow! that water example from Detroit really stings, and it's emblematic of the truly horrendous state of affairs in that city. I was, of course, thinking of more positive uses, such as information on where to get food, clothing, financial guidance, or other public services. But if the city has no money to provide water I suppose it's a moot point.

The basic structure of the telecom market is indeed very very different here in the U.S., although even with carrier subsidies the cost of an iPhone is probably well beyond what most people living below poverty level can afford even here. Typically, the phone is offered for $200-$300 with the carrier subsidies, and you need a good credit rating here in order to get a contract with a wireless carrier. They lock you into a 2-year contract with costly data plans. 

I'm not going all #firstworldproblems on you, I truly get that the situation for those living in poverty around the world can be truly dire and in no way do I seek to minimize that.

Rather, my fears are additive: We all too often overlook those who are going hungry in our own backyards here in the U.S. -- as your link to the Detroit water news so aptly points out. And the divide between rich and poor is growing wider and wider here as well.
Broadway0474
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Broadway0474,
User Rank: Strategist
7/10/2014 | 6:21:25 PM
Re: Everything is mobile now
@Susan, you make a spot-on point about the greater picture of poverty in this country. But surely if we could get past the social cache of having an unnecessarily "bling" phone, the less advantaged in the US as elsewhere would benefit from a cheap SMS device that can be used entrepreneurially.
Ashu001
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Ashu001,
User Rank: Ninja
7/30/2014 | 11:59:00 AM
Re: Everything is mobile now
Broadway,

Precisely!!!

I could'nt say it any better if I wanted to.

You spoke my mind here entirely.

Consumers have to learn to save More and Spend Less.

Living within their Means is not such an old fashioned notion after all.Is it?

Broadway0474
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Broadway0474,
User Rank: Strategist
7/30/2014 | 10:33:00 PM
Re: Everything is mobile now
@Ashu, two things. Living within your means is a learned skill. If you warch your parents live off debt, you will think that's the way to go, and you simply won't know how to budget. Two, the whole US economy --- really, any "developed" economy except maybe Germany --- is predicated on consumers overspending. I thought things would change after 2007-8, when this proved to be folly, but there must be no other way to drive GDP in this country because nothing's changed ...
Ashu001
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Ashu001,
User Rank: Ninja
7/31/2014 | 3:09:53 PM
Re: Everything is mobile now
Broadway,

Trust me its changing.

All the latest Spending Data in America clearly says that the Under 40 Generation is Starting to Save More and Spend Less via Credit Cards.

All the Debt that they do rack up today is tied mainly to Student Loans,Auto Loans and Finally Housing Loans.

The Boomers on the other hand are a totally different story.

 
batye
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batye,
User Rank: Ninja
8/3/2014 | 12:19:24 AM
Re: Everything is mobile now
could not agree more interesting point/observation.... as everyone want latest and greatest... with out end in sight... but at this economy everyone tend to spend less or find way of spending less...
batye
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batye,
User Rank: Ninja
8/2/2014 | 11:59:50 PM
Re: Everything is mobile now
in some places in third world countries people could not afford the simple food, but they do have top of the line cellphone.... go figure:)
Ashu001
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Ashu001,
User Rank: Ninja
7/30/2014 | 11:57:21 AM
Re: Everything is mobile now
SusanN,

The US has its own Unique set of Problems today(it really does'nt help that most Americans are in way-way too much Debt today).

Latest Data puts 77 million Americans are being Chased by Debt Collectors practically everyday!!!

[As a Percentage of the Population;that is a very-very High Number].

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/07/29/a-third-of-consumers-had-debts-in-collections-last-year/

It seems Financial Inclusion has'nt quite worked out as well as planned for most Americans today.Has it?

Clearly,tells you so many Americans are just struggling to make ends meet.

This also tells you that maybe all this Consumerism and Materialism is'nt quite awesome as its cut out to be(Thanks to MSM);maybe its time to cutback and Start Saving more and Paying off existing Debts?

I hope this is'nt really a quaint notion for most Ordinary Rank and File Americans today.

Regards

Ashish.

P.S A Dollar Saved is equivalent to about 2 Dollars Earned is most Financial  Planning Gurus say usually.
Curt Franklin
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Curt Franklin,
User Rank: Strategist
6/12/2014 | 2:42:23 PM
Re: Brilliant
@Rich, it's amazing the kind of things you can do if you take the time to learn about your audience, isn't it? I might be thinking about things too simply, but it seems to me that there might just be a lesson in the way they're doing things.
Curt Franklin
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Curt Franklin,
User Rank: Strategist
6/13/2014 | 8:24:09 AM
Re: What is the IW Pick Badge?
@Rich, I have no idea who hands out those badges -- I'll put that on my list of questions to ask as we get used to the new digs over here. As for putting it on our resume, I'd say "absolutely." It looks very impressive!
Laurianne
IW Pick
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
6/13/2014 | 9:05:28 AM
Re: What is the IW Pick Badge?
Rich, the IW Pick badge shows up on a comment when one of the writers, editors or community members (like you) clicks the thumbs up sign on to indicate that it is an intriguing comment or one going down an intelligent path of conversation. Thanks for joining us. Laurie
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
6/13/2014 | 2:56:46 PM
Re: What is the IW Pick Badge?
Uhoh, @Laurie. That means @Rich is in BIG trouble...

"one going down an intelligent path of conversation..."

:D
Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
6/16/2014 | 8:01:27 PM
Re: What is the IW Pick Badge?
@Laurianne    Thanks for the explanation of just what the IWpick is.      I like the idea, but it looses some of it's luster if a person can like their own comment.   (Thanks for pointing this out Rich.)
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
6/17/2014 | 6:50:05 AM
Re: What is the IW Pick Badge?
Technocrati, the badge system hasn't been dominated by self-promoters to date :) Hopefully everyone finds it useful.
Broadway0474
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Broadway0474,
User Rank: Strategist
6/17/2014 | 11:01:25 PM
Re: What is the IW Pick Badge?
@Technocrati, most any social media platform allows you to like your own junk. I have friends who do it, and have fought to urge to un-friend them ... on a lifetime basis.
nomii
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nomii,
User Rank: Ninja
6/18/2014 | 3:20:02 PM
Re: What is the IW Pick Badge?
@Broadway0474 is there anything wrong in that :). I think its perfectly fine to appreciate your own comment as others might not have that insight. But feels that it should be ....... I hope you can make out what is comming next.
Broadway0474
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Broadway0474,
User Rank: Strategist
6/19/2014 | 10:28:48 PM
Re: What is the IW Pick Badge?
@nomii, as an editor, I know firsthand what it's like when someone thinks their stuff is the greatest ever ... when it's really not that decent. That's why editors have always existed, and why crowdsourced content is contingent on other people's opinions ... not the creator hitting like over and over and over ... ; )
Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
6/21/2014 | 6:48:53 PM
Re: What is the IW Pick Badge?
@Broadway0474      Interesting I didn't know that but I agree.  Liking your own stuff is bush league.  : ) 
Broadway0474
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Broadway0474,
User Rank: Strategist
6/21/2014 | 11:28:28 PM
Re: What is the IW Pick Badge?
@Technocrati,maybe I am being a little harsh. I am friends, after all, with people who like their own stuff. But err on the safe side. Don't do it!
Ashu001
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Ashu001,
User Rank: Ninja
6/28/2014 | 2:03:35 PM
Re: What is the IW Pick Badge?
Broadway,

You are'nt the only one.Believe me,I have been in that very same boat dozens of times previously.

It has often reached a situation for me personally that I abandon FB and other Social Networks for a significant degree of time when I don't feel like it.

Speaking about Facebook,I just came across this interesting article on how FB is fighting a Court's Demand for Access to User Data.

Guess its okay when FB wants to sell the Data to the Highest Bidder around but if the Court wants to use that Data to protect Taxpayer Resources its a problem?

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-28055909

LOL!!!

Regards

Ashish.
batye
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batye,
User Rank: Ninja
6/13/2014 | 3:38:11 PM
Re: What is the IW Pick Badge?
interesting observation, Rich... interesting :)
Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
6/16/2014 | 7:57:08 PM
SAP Real-Time In Real- Time
Kudos to Brazil and SAP for finding an innovative way to address a very difficult issue.   I think SAP is on the right road in their thinking.   Their goal is to be "real-time in real-time".   I encourage everyone to check out the link furnished by Curtis ( thank you Curtis).

The first video will give you an idea of just what SAP's overall business goal is in this area.
Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
6/16/2014 | 8:05:27 PM
Re: What is the IW Pick Badge?
As for going down an intelligent path of conversation, it's funny how many different directions people can take on that path. There are lots of collisions on that road.

 

@Rich    Or some might argue it is a path not much traveled.   But of course that doesn't apply here !  Lot's of heavyweights at IW.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
6/17/2014 | 4:45:47 PM
Re: What is the IW Pick Badge?
@Rich: Heh Heh. Then you've come to the right place.

 
kstaron
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kstaron,
User Rank: Moderator
6/19/2014 | 1:16:20 PM
Working with what you have
This is a wonderful example of targeting a strategy to the people who are going to use it with what they have. By not expecting the workforce to go out and get something to be able to access the program, they worked with what they already had and can make some really good positive change.
Ashu001
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Ashu001,
User Rank: Ninja
6/28/2014 | 1:36:30 PM
I have seen similar trends in place in Africa for Mobile Commerce
Curt,

I have seen similar trends in place for Mobile Commerce in Africa;where again you get consumers using just Basic SMS for Financial Transactions.

And surprisingly the solution works very well.

Maybe there is a lesson for all of us Techies here?

A little less Complexity and a little more Practicality is essential to gain the Best Benefits of Technology?

Regards

Ashish.

 
Broadway0474
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Broadway0474,
User Rank: Strategist
6/29/2014 | 10:46:33 PM
Re: I have seen similar trends in place in Africa for Mobile Commerce
The example of SMS usage in the developing world is simply a matter of users making use of the best technology at hand. Give them some bandwidth and iPhones, and I think you'd have app development. In fact, that's what's happening in Latin America and Asia where smartphone usage rates are increasing.
batye
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batye,
User Rank: Ninja
7/1/2014 | 7:19:13 PM
Re: I have seen similar trends in place in Africa for Mobile Commerce
interesting as I do see trends where everyone uses SMS but not voice calls... it would be interesting if any one come up with SMS device with out voice capability... like yahoo chat device in 1999/2002...
Ashu001
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Ashu001,
User Rank: Ninja
6/28/2014 | 1:44:31 PM
Would'nt Geolocation work wonders here?
Curt,

I was wondering about your post;especially the Point where you said most employees tend to look for Jobs in Areas close to where they work and wondered;Can't you get all this Data directly from the Phone Company?

I mean,why go to all the trouble of interacting with all these Consumers in the first place?

Sure,you would have to pay the Phone Company then;in addition you won't be able to provide Consumers with a personalized /customized Service.

But apart from that I don't see any major obstacles here.

Just Thinking.

 

Regards

Ashish.

 
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