Enterprise Communication Apps - The Modern Day Coffee Shop
The newest wave of the revolution is enterprise communication apps, and riding high on the crest of said wave are apps such as Hipchat, Flock and Cotap
Coffee shops have a long and extremely interesting history. I came across a brilliant TED talk on 'Where do Good Ideas Come From' by Steve Johnson, a popular science author and media theorist. Johnson describes coffee houses as a 16th century revolution in England that was crucial to the development and spread of the Enlightenment. However, the coffee house in itself was secondary; what actually played a very key fundamental part were the stimulants being served in these establishments. Up until then, the country was governed by a culture where the population was used to consuming alcohol from dawn to dusk, rendering them effectively drunk for most of the day. In this setting, coffee and by extension coffee houses became the catalyst for the inception and dissemination of great ideas. Coffee houses eventually became the breeding ground for ideation, the place where great minds would meet and where ideas could breed.
I enjoyed the metaphor of the coffee shop incredibly, more so because I think it applies to the business world today, and how they go about picking collaboration strategies for the workforce. We've come a long way from the state of being 'perpetually drunk' in the context of enterprise communication - a world where companies depended solely on face to face meetings and phone calls. We moved on to a slightly more diluted 'partially hungover' model of inefficiencies - an undefined mix of phone calls, face to face meetings, and email, which still proved to be ineffective when it came to meeting hard deadlines and ensuring that nothing fell through the cracks.
The newest wave of the revolution is enterprise communication apps, and riding high on the crest of said wave are apps such as Hipchat, Flock and Cotap. I firmly believe that Enterprise Communication apps are the modern day coffee shop, and the future of business collaboration and communication.
Much like their post-medieval counterparts, enterprise communication apps have become a hotbed for the birth of new ideas. Because these apps are far more conducive to getting work done quickly and more efficiently, they are capable of far more than email could ever achieve. Today's business ecosystem is one where speed of execution and agility are much more than just buzzwords - they've become the nucleus of the cell that drives successful companies and sets them apart from stragglers. And in such an environment, enterprise communication apps will bloom and play the part they were born to.
To clarify an underlying misconception, these are more than simple IM tools. They come chock full of features - everything from to-do lists, polls, reminders, video conferencing, file sharing and more. They're also available across platforms and devices, so they can be used even on the go. Gone are the days where you'd run around to someone's desk for a document, or send an email and wait hours for a reply. Enterprise messaging allows you to do all of that and more from the comfort of your desk, your car, or your home.
Enterprise messaging tools today are not just stand alone tools anymore. They've become complete end-to-end platforms, opening up a world of possibilities. There are apps within each of these chat platforms just waiting to be unearthed, integrated and to then start working to make work days easier. Chat bots are all the rage today - bots that can take commands and perform tasks for you like your very own sidekick at work. And all of these things are integrated into the ever faithful enterprise messaging platform, making it everything an employee would need at the office for that added edge.
Most enterprise communication apps boast about their potential to make teams more effective and to 'get work done faster'. These are by far, no tall claims. Organizations that have adopted these tools have the numbers to show for it. A 50% reduction in email for one. A 60% reduction in meetings and 40% increase in transparency for another. Factor into the equation the fact that these services have barely been in the market for a little over a couple of years, and you will understand their true potential. While email hit the scene in the early 90's and face to face meetings have been around since the beginning of time, the manner in which they have been employed has remained virtually unchanged for their entire shelf life. This is not the case with enterprise messaging tools - in the few years that they've been around, they've evolved from being just plain communication tools to full blown collaboration platforms.
I strongly believe that these apps are here to stay, and that organizations that make the switch as early as possible stand to benefit in incredible ways. On the part of these apps, we've barely scraped the surface, and while they have a long way to go, I believe that they'll get there very very quickly. I am confident that the idea for the next big thing will be born because someone in some corner of the globe was able to collaborate on one of these little tools, with someone on the other side of the globe, on this brilliant little notion he's been toying with for a while. Virtual caffeine, ideas and the future - brought to you by your humble enterprise communication app.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.