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#10YearChallenge – Enterprise Messaging

Insights January 25, 2019
#10YearChallenge
Dominic Kent

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#10YearChallenge – Enterprise Messaging

#10YearChallenge

If you haven’t heard of the #10YearChallenge just yet, you’ve either been hiding under a rock or have completed your mission to go off grid.

While Facebook and Instagram users scroll back to their profile photo ten years ago and compare it to their profile photo of today, we thought we’d take a look back at where the enterprise messaging leaders were this time ten years ago.

Messaging in 2009

It’s safe to say that in 2009, the enterprise messaging market was immature. Messaging was viewed as an informal method of communication. It was predominantly used outside of work and by the younger generation.

Lifewire published “10 Old IM Services That Used To Be Popular” back in September. The likes of Yahoo, AIM (AOL Instant Messenger), MSN Messenger and Skype all helped shape the enterprise messaging industry of today. With that in mind, it is surprising that none of these apps (except for Skype) live on in the consumer world. Although you could argue WhatsApp, Viber and We Chat have killed off the traditional keyboard chat messengers, in favour of a mobile-first experience.

MSN Messenger was a consumer favourite with the younger generation - stock images and all!

Microsoft #10YearChallenge

Of the leading players in the enterprise messaging industry, Microsoft has changed the most. What we know as Microsoft Teams was initally Microsoft Office Communicator.

Come 2010 and Office Communicator was superseded by Microsoft Lync. This introduced a user-centric look and feel and a raft of new functionality. Whilst there are some instances of Microsoft Lync in enterprises today, the majority of Lync users moved to Skype for Business. This was following Microsoft’s purchase of Skype in 2014. In 2015, Skype for Business was launched and combined features of Lync and the consumer Skype software.

As we reach 2019 and visit the #10YearChallenge for Microsoft’s messaging offering, enterprises are now using Microsoft Teams. In a bid to proactively move legacy Skype for Business Online customers to Teams, Microsoft has initiated auto-upgrades for small business customers. Perhaps the beginning of the end for Skype for Business.

Microsoft OCS has evolved into Microsoft Teams in the last 10 years

Cisco Webex #10YearChallenge

By 2009, Cisco had acquired WebEx – a video conferencing suite. At the time, Cisco said that its long-term plan was to absorb WebEx at both a technology and a sales level. Cisco WebEx has gone on to power 20 million meetings per month – purely as a meeting and conferencing solution.

In 2018, Cisco combined their Spark communication tool into WebEx and launched Cisco Webex Teams. Bringing together telephony, messaging and meetings into one solution split the Cisco community initially. However, with Cisco’s acquisition of BroadSoft in 2018, coupled with the addition of Tropo – an API platform, Cisco has quickly transformed Cisco Webex Teams into a complete collaboration solution with an extensive developer community.

Cisco Webex #10YearChalleng

Slack #10YearChallenge

Slack didn’t exist in 2009. Slack was initially released in August 2013 and quickly become the enterprise messaging tool of choice.

Before the launch of Microsoft Teams and Cisco Webex Teams, Slack was seemingly unrivaled. With a unique messaging and collaboration experience, Slack was set to change the way enterprises communicate for years to come.

As we start 2019, Slack has just revealed it’s new logo. The first major change since the platform was introduced. Replacing the traditional colourful hashtag – relating to #channels within Slack – to a simpler, flatter image.

Slack

Social media influence

In 2009, compete.com suggested that Facebook was the most used social networking service by worldwide monthly active users. Confirmed in 2010 by Facebook as 500,000 million users, the social media boom had well and truly hit.

The idea of a social platform and constant feed of information has since been toyed with in enterprises. In 2012, Microsoft bought Yammer. By 2014, it had been introduced as a business social platform as part of the Office 365 offering.

With varying levels of adoption, Yammer boasts large numbers across the globe but lesser since the introduction of Microsoft Teams. Outside the Microsoft stack, Facebook saw a major opportunity to utilize what they knew best and launched Workplace by Facebook in 2015. Despite security concerns relating back to data breaches and privacy scares on the consumer platform, Workplace by Facebook is now used by enterprises like Telefonica, Vodafone, Starbucks, GlaxoSmithKline, Walmart and most recently Nestlé.

Facebook now operates an enterprise offering in the form of Workplace

Big hitters enter the market

It would be wrong to say Google was just a search engine in 2009. However, the chat offering from Google, Hangouts Chat, has only recently entered the market and it’s future is uncertain. There are rumours of Google shutting down the messaging platform, merging it with the meetings platform and several other suggestions depending which forum you’re in.

What’s certain is that with the technology and innovation behind Google, they have made a big dent in yet another market as they continue to expand and expand.

Google Hangouts Chat

Likewise, it would be wrong to label Amazon as just for shopping in 2009. However, their enterprise messaging offering, Amazon Chime only entered the Unified Comms market in 2017. Amazon Chime now lets you meet, chat and collaborate with the security of AWS and is being touted as the next challenger to the leaders in enterprise messaging.

Amazon Chime

#10YearChallenge in 2029

It would be impossible to predict what the enterprise messaging industry will look like in 2029. Microsoft, Cisco and Slack look set to dominate the market in the coming years. Google, Workplace by Facebook, Amazon Chime and plenty other great alternatives are breathing down their necks.

What’s certain is that the enterprise messaging market remains fragmented. Whilst there are signs of interoperability in-house like Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams or Cisco Jabber and Cisco Webex Teams, and messaging across platforms via Mio, the enterprise messaging wars still rage on.

As we approach roughly episode 8 of Game of Messaging Thrones, there is no clear winner in the quest for market domination. See who industry experts suggested would win the enterprise messaging wars in our next blog.

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