Will business messaging platforms ever become mainstream?

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Global businesses are constantly seeking faster, user friendlier and more secure collaboration tools as alternatives to traditional communication tools. However, while team collaboration apps are widely appreciated for their many advantages, they have still not become mainstream in use, like emails. One reason is that CIOs, CTOs and other decision makers are facing a host of challenges in their pursuit of enterprise collaboration apps. Resistance to change is the main obstacle at most companies. The reasons could include anything from existing workplace culture to falsely perceived cost and complexity in adopting enterprise collaboration tools.

Ultimately, the truth that collaboration has become crucial to the agile and knowledge driven workforce can’t be ignored. Organizations will benefit if they realize that the arrival of new business collaborative models can create high levels of differentiation and leverage to business operations. However, while the opposition is still present, there are certain positive trends that are helping enterprise messaging to grow and thrive.

Factors that are driving enterprise messaging growth:

A) Start-ups will fuel the trend towards enterprise messaging becoming mainstream

Start-ups are generally the fastest and most enthusiastic adopters of disruptive technology. Since most start-ups are riding the disruptive technology wave themselves, they are equally open to adopt other disruptive technology that serves their purpose. Other reasons factor in as well. Lower costs, smaller number of employees, and a lack of organizational hierarchy contribute to quicker adoption. In the case of enterprise communication, real-time communication across geographies, mobility across devices (especially if the start-up follows BYOD), easy file sharing, and host of other features are driving start-ups to use collaboration software. Moreover, the growing prominence of messaging platforms like Slack, Flock or Hipchat, will aid new startups to develop new apps and bots to improve the most routine functions at work. And this in turn will drive chat for businesses to become mainstream.

B) Growing acceptance of Cloud based technology

CIO’s are constantly on the lookout for specifically designed systems for enterprises to securely exchange information with customers, employees and business partners globally. In addition to end-to-end encryption, many team messaging apps provide the alternative of hosting data on premise, allowing for better security for confidential information. Team communication platforms further provide cloud based BCP (Business Continuity Process), providing easy data retrieval. This helps in data recovery too, especially in the inevitable situation of server crashes or if it isn’t located on the premises.

Additionally, you get global reach, delivery assurance, as well as a user-friendly web portal, campaign manager, opt-in/opt-out capabilities and messaging analytics, which cannot be found in the traditional modes of communication. Furthermore, its API-based approach allows the service to be seamlessly integrated with existing business applications and IT infrastructures, making it an attractive to CIOs.

C) Horizontal move across teams will boost quicker adoption of free messaging services for business enterprises

Collaboration tools for business enterprises that offer value driven customized use cases across teams in an organization will push for greater horizontal adoption within a company. Beneficial use cases such as quick and prompt decision making, protected and confidential conversations, easy sharing and integration and a permanent channel for mobile teams will prompt CIO’s to implement the use of enterprise messaging apps for all teams.

D) Lower IT dependence will power chat for businesses

The latest enterprise messaging apps, like HipChat, Flock and Teamwire, are all vendor agnostic solutions that require no IT dependence and can be implemented with any off the shelf hardware. The fluid adoption process of such free chatting software is a great boon for SMEs looking for tools with ease of installation, lower total cost of ownership, and greater accessibility. Lower IT dependence will also encourage more teams (other than IT) to use enterprise messaging to drive workforce productivity.

E) The developer community will take enterprise messaging to the next level

With enterprise messaging moving from being a medium to a platform, the future will see the developer community becoming the backbone of free messaging service for business enterprises. Secured, standard-based, reliable, and easy-to-integrate API’s of enterprise messaging apps will allow the developer community to immediately start developing new apps or chat bots or upgrade an existing app. The reduction in time to market and easy customization will fuel the need for greater adoption of enterprise messaging apps.

Enterprise messaging will reduce workflow dependency on email

Although there have been several internal messaging networks for use within companies by employees, none have managed to put to death the ubiquitous email. However, enterprise messaging, providing faster paced real time messaging for collaboration may succeed in reducing the dependency on email. With no more endless reply all threads, no more hunting through your inbox for information, and no more delays in communication, real time collaboration messaging is all set to become the next big revolution in workforce communication.

By Ninad Raval, Director of Product and Design, Flock – an enterprise messaging platform for teams

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