2019 Enterprise Chat Predictions [Revisited]
At the end of 2018, the Mio team got together to predict key events and trends in the enterprise chat and team collaboration space.
As we near the end of 2019, it’s time to see how accurate (or not) we were.
1. More interoperability across Slack, Microsoft Teams and Webex
Both VP of User Experience, Meredith Schulz, and VP of Engineering, Ian Hannaford, suggested that 2019 would be even more crucial than 2018 for interoperability across the three most used platforms.
Since posting, the following has unfolded:
- January Pexip and Videxio merged to bolster the interoperability message in video conferencing
- March Cisco announced interoperability between Webex Teams and Office 365
- March Cisco announced interoperability between Webex Meetings and Google Cloud
- April Slack unveiled interoperability with Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft OneDrive
- June Mio launched private channel sync for Slack, Cisco Webex Teams and Microsoft Teams
- November Cisco Webex and Microsoft Teams introduced video interoperability so devices could be supported across platform
Verdict: Meredith and Ian were spot on, and there’s sure to be more interoperability cases as the year goes on.
2. App confusion
My suggestion was continued app confusion throughout 2019.
I said that “users will want to stick to their app of choice, but have to flick to another app, reset their password and message their colleague or client that uses a different app.”
Ian predicted the continuation of a fragmented workplace as more and more vendors would bring new platforms to the marketplace.
At the time, he referenced Amazon Chime as new entrant. Since then, we’ve seen new vendors and new platforms from existing vendors. A small sample includes:
Select Hub lists a total of 56 core UC platforms. Alternativeto lists a further 173 alternatives to Slack and Capterra suggests there are now 224 alternatives to Slack.
We’ve done our best to round up the top 50 alternatives – but there’s an ever-growing selection.
One thing that is certain is that fragmentation and app confusion has definitely been a theme of 2019.
Verdict: It’s hard to argue either way whether users are still suffering from app confusion. Some businesses will have a one-size-fits-all strategy and have plenty of users that are catered for.
However, just because there is one company-wide platform doesn’t mean that there aren’t rogue instances of shadow IT platforms in the workplace.
What can be said is that as more UC and collaboration platforms are added, the decision of which platform (or platforms) to use remains a tricky one to figure out.
3. Feature parity
Mio CEO, Tom Hadfield’s predictions for 2019 included the theme of convergence in enterprise messaging.
“Major platforms will achieve feature parity by converging around a common set of UI elements, including threading, emoji reactions, interactive buttons, etc.”
As the market continues to mature and expand into different industries, commonalities across vendor platforms, and internally within vendors, are cropping up more and more.
Firstly, Cisco announced the bridge between Jabber + Webex Teams collaboration: team messaging mode for Jabber.
Later in the year, Cisco took this one step further and announced a unified experience for Jabber and Webex Teams users.
Microsoft had already announced its intentions to provide feature parity between Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams.
As the year has rolled on, Microsoft Teams has not only gained features to bring it closer to Skype for Business in meeting, calling, and collaboration categories, but we now see a whole host of advanced features.
Verdict: We haven’t seen feature parity across vendors. For instance, Slack has strengthened its video conferencing offering by partnering with Zoom, rather than developing a built-in video suite.
However, the end-user requirement for legacy and modern apps to work together and provide the same functionality has proved a key theme so far in 2019.
4. Compliance and security
James Cundle, Mio CTO, suggested that compliance and security would play a major part in 2019.
You’ve no doubt seen news around various security concerns raised with some vendors in the space. While it’s a genuine minority, lessons must be learned by all vendors, partners, and customers.
It’s a common and high priority discussion point that we have with the majority of customers – and rightly so.
Verdict: Nearly all customers that Mio has spoken with this year have posed strict requirements to adhere to when evaluating and implementing all areas of messaging and chat tools.
Recent events only reinforce the criticality of compliance and security through any communications estate.
James also highlighted the potential for deeper integration across the board.
“I expect to see much deeper integrations via the platform APIs as platforms expand more seamless programmatic developer offerings. Potentially we should start to see much tighter and seamless integration with voice and chat in the UI.”
The range of out-of-the-box integration available in Slack, Cisco Webex Teams, and Microsoft Teams is vast.
This is good news for department managers and IT managers alike.
Department managers can choose from a variety of integrations designed for their niche area. IT Managers can rest easy knowing there is little deployment and support efforts required.
To make your life easier, we’ve put together a list of the best integrations apps available for specific departments – for each of Slack, Webex and Microsoft Teams.
APIs have been utilized more than ever before. For bespoke integration work, platforms like Slack, Webex Teams, and Microsoft Teams continue to be widely open for developer work.
With the rise of CPaaS and open APIs, in-house work has become the norm when working with team collaboration and messaging platforms.
If you haven’t yet started, we’ve put together some tips and examples of how to leverage the available APIs in Slack, Webex Teams, and Microsoft Teams.
Verdict: Out-of-the-box integrations have become part and parcel of the team collaboration play.
The most used and most liked platforms, according to our independent research, all include a huge array of integration options available.
It looks like we weren’t too far off…
But there’s more to come in 2019, for sure.
There are some large collaboration events still to come in 2019, so there remains plenty of time for vendors to release new features, partnerships, and technical advancements.
We’re always keen to get your take on what our audience is experiencing and would love to hear what you think will change throughout the rest of 2019.
Maybe there’s something you need or have heard rumors about?