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How team messenger apps revolutionised the way employees collaborated this year

Bhavin Turakhia
5th Dec 2016
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Workplace tools and collaboration platforms—messaging and collaborative software with easy-to-use interfaces and multiple features—are rising trends and have taken the enterprise communication landscape by storm. And, why not? With the growing need for on-the-go, real-time communication in the business world, a convincing alternative to the traditional email was much awaited.

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2016: the year that was for enterprise messaging apps

Witnessing an ever-increasing base of daily active users, team messaging apps are disruptive for sure, but their growth is not driven by hype alone. With features that are paving the way for better and more seamless real-time collaboration, team messaging is gaining popularity among enterprise users in a big way. Several global studies and reports have estimated that almost 80-90 percent of an enterprise will make a transition to messaging apps for communication through various devices.

Considering the vast number of new and emerging chat apps and enterprise collaboration tools, as well as the growing desire for such products, experts predict that this space is likely to witness more action and several winners, in terms of both the users as well as the developers of these apps and software.

There’s also a big opportunity for workflow and analytics using team messaging apps. While companies are just beginning to make use of all the great possibilities that there exists with cloud communications, team messaging apps—which are majorly cloud-based applications—can be utilized to leverage more advanced benefits.

Besides the entry of many new messaging apps and tools, what truly make 2016 a memorable year in enterprise messaging history is the tie-ups and partnerships that occurred in this space. This year, big names like IBM and Salesforce threw their hats in the team messaging arena, lending their wisdom and rich experience of the enterprise, which may drive better adoption of these apps among businesses.

Features that made team messengers a popular choice

Team messaging applications are being touted as "email killers," or at least potential alternatives to email as a primary means of communication, and it’s not hard to see why. When trying to manage a project, multiple strings of email messages pose several obvious challenges.

Messaging apps, on the other hand, are not only chat applications but loaded with powerful features. They help keep all information on the fingertips of every team member and allow them to be accessed from a single, centralized place. However, where such team-based tools really shine is in their ability to add the human element to team collaborations through face-to-face interactions via video. Some team messaging apps also have sophisticated alert systems so that a person is notified when an important conversation is happening around a topic that's central to their work. Thanks to these features, some surveys have even indicated that these team messaging apps actually cut down on the use of email by half or more.

Innovations in team messaging apps

While team messenger apps are packed with features, they are becoming even richer in functionality. Integrating with companies like Salesforce and flexible application programming interfaces (APIs), many of these apps are enabling even deeper app integration than previously possible. This will help businesses tie together all the third-party services they are using, including help desk software, CRM, and other business intelligence (BI) tools.

In fact, messaging and collaboration tools are likely to see more and more integrations and shared capabilities, with everything from enterprise project management solutions to calendar applications and WebRTC. In case the essential integrations don’t exist by default, the software will include an API for developers to code and deploy on their own.

With the rise of visual messaging platforms, messaging is moving away from being command-line centric. The command line is easy and powerful to developers but it’s less intuitive for others to access powerful commands.

As and when team messaging apps become more intuitive and predictive, they may turn into something more than a collaborative tool, instead of just helping teams to stay connected and, on the same page, they may even help them make data-backed decisions and more.

Among other innovations, the growing wave of bots, machine learning, artificial intelligence and robotic process automation will continue to change our work life in ways we never envisioned before.

Where team messaging is headed

Enterprise communication is in the crosshairs of a major transformation, driven majorly by the need for better and more effective collaboration solutions. While team messengers may not kill the email any time soon, they can be a more productive email replacement for teams that need to tightly coordinate their activities.

Team messengers are yet to become prime enterprise communication platform. However, with newer developments, it shows promising signs of becoming the go-to communication tool that will promote higher levels of engagement and interaction among teams.

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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