In just three years, between 2017 and 2020, there was a 900% increase in the use of team messaging tools. Use went from 50,000 organizations to 500,000 during that span. Team messaging is a way to cut through the delay of email and get work done faster.
Waiting on email and going through back and forth “replay all” chains has become inefficient for a lot of internal company communications. IM messaging platforms like Microsoft Teams, Slack, and WhatsApp provide a way to have a quick conversion and keep everyone on the same page.
People also tend to be less wordy when writing an IM than they do when writing an email, reducing the time it takes for information exchanges. This improves productivity and makes the experience optimized for everyone.
There are multiple team messaging platforms out there, so how do you choose the best one for your team to use?
Here are several factors to consider when determining which IM platform is going to fit your team best.
Not all IM platforms respect your user security. Some apps will collect data from the phones of users without you even realizing it.
Integration with Other Business Tools
Good business infrastructure is fully integrated, this means that you can connect your task manager to your CRM to your messaging app, etc. The free flow of information between business apps improves efficiency and reduces time-consuming manual entries.
When looking at integration you want to look beyond the company’s features page. For example, an IM platform may say that it’s compatible with Salesforce, but when you try to integrate them, you realize they mean through a third-party app like Zappier or IFTTT.
Native integration offers the best experience because when going through an intermediary app, functions are usually quite limited.
One of the most well-integrated messaging platforms if you use Microsoft 365 is Microsoft Teams. And not only does it work natively with all the other Microsoft apps, but it is also going to be fully integrated with Windows 11.
Some messaging apps don’t allow easy organization of your conversations. They have a main messaging window that is much like an SMS interface. You can put together “group” chats, but there’s no robust structure of channeled chat conversations.
Platforms like Slack and Teams are designed with corporate communications in mind. Allowing you to create group conversation channels based on any criteria you like (project, department, etc.).
Think about how your team will use the messaging tool and if chat organization and channel security are going to be a benefit to your users to keep conversations easily found and searched.
The security of the platform itself is a major consideration especially because it’s most likely employees will be sharing sensitive information and possibly data that’s considered as PII (personally identifiable information).
Review the encryption standard and security controls that the platform has, and then look further into the security settings.
Do you have the ability to restrict which chats people can access?
Are shared files protected and only accessible by the group?
What other ways can you protect your data inside the application?
There are so many messaging apps to choose from that there is no reason not to shop around and get your money’s worth for the features you’re getting.
While all messaging apps will have similar capabilities as far as sending and receiving messages and files, their features sets can vary widely beyond that.
Some apps will be made mainly for messaging and not have many other features or capabilities. Others will include messaging as just one part of a larger package.
An example of one of the most full-featured IM apps is Teams. The messaging component is just one part of this online work hub. It also includes things like:
- Video conferencing
- Webinar planning
- In-app collaboration in MS Office and other programs
- Company Wiki
- Praise icons
- File storage
- And more
Is It Going to Be Around?
It’s not always possible to see into the future and know how long an application your team adopts will be around. But you should still have longevity as one of the considerations when choosing a platform that is going to be central to your team’s workflow.
An example of “might want to think twice before using it” is Skype. Microsoft has already phased out Skype for Business and has been promoting Teams for both business and personal use, so it might only be a matter of time before the current basic Skype app is gone for good.
Keep the company and app’s future in mind when choosing between the multiple IM platform options.
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