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5 Steps to Achieve Messaging Interoperability in 2019

Blog How We Chat April 12, 2019
5 steps to messaging interoperability
Joe Beutler

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5 Steps to Achieve Messaging Interoperability in 2019

5 steps to messaging interoperability

You’re probably here because you need to achieve messaging interoperability within your enterprise.

If you’ve invested in a team messaging app like Slack, Cisco Webex Teams or Microsoft Teams, the productivity gains will have no doubt paid back some of your investment.

Despite this and your more streamlined workforce, email remains the most commonly used communication tool across organizations today.

Why?

Because it’s the only place business leaders know that everyone will (probably) get the message.

Email remains the most commonly used communication channel due to lack of messaging interoperability
Email remains the most commonly used communication channel due to lack of messaging interoperability

While enterprise chat tools have a lot of benefits to offer, businesses are struggling to unlock their real potential.

The belief that teams need to use multiple best-in-breed collaboration tools, shadow IT and communication silos have led to confusion and turmoil in the business space.

We want to connect through messaging tools – but we don’t know how to combine all of the tools we need in the same place.

Start with these simple steps.

1 – Start your messaging interoperability journey with your users

The easiest way to encourage adoption of any tool is to start with what your people need and work backwards.

Don’t just deploy Slack because your CEO has heard of it.

Or Microsoft Teams because you love Office 365.

Figure out how specific tools can transform your performance.

Interoperability
  • Survey your employees: What features do they need most to remain productive at work? Maybe they want video conferencing, file sharing and instant messaging. Perhaps they like the idea of GIFs to express themselves.
  • Identify paint points: What issues will these tools help you overcome? For instance, do your teams currently waste time in their email inboxes? Experts predict we spend about 2.5 hours on email each day. Instant messaging should reduce this.
  • Decide the resources you need: What will it take to make this rollout successful? Do you need to pay for additional training? Do you have to migrate employees from legacy tools?

2 – Identify how messaging interoperability can be achieved

Messaging interoperability isn’t achieved simply by installing two platforms.

That means that you’re going to need another way to link your employee’s conversations. (We’ll get to that in a minute).

It’s worth checking that, no matter how your teams communicate, they all have access to the same plugins, extensions, and tools.

It’s easier to collaborate when everyone’s using the same resources.

For instance, imagine the gap that you’d have in your business if half of your team were using Dropbox to share files and half were using Box.

Check out places like the Slack App Directory, the Microsoft Teams app environment, and the Webex App hub.

Make sure that the tools that matter most to your employees are available with each provider.

Slack app directory
Slack app directory

3 – Find out who’s using which app

Are your developers and designers using Microsoft Teams because they like the way it works seamlessly with Office 365 applications?

Maybe they appreciate the fact that they can share Excel sheets and PowerPoint presentations at the click of a button.

Perhaps your call center employees stick with Cisco Webex Teams because they’re used to the Cisco brand on their desk phones?.

You may even have some employees using Slack to keep track of what’s going on with their coworkers. These team members might rely on Slack’s simplicity when managing day-to-day projects.

Knowing which tools your workforce are using will help you to create a more comprehensive plan for messaging interoperability.

Be prepared to keep your eyes open for any evidence of shadow IT – i.e. people using apps that they don’t tell the business about, to share corporate information.

Failing to discover what apps are in use can be costly when trying to avoid workplace silos.

It's easy to get lost in a software audit
It’s easy to get lost in a software audit

Start with these techniques to find out who is using what:

  • Survey all employees using a tool like Survey Monkey or Typeform
  • Install usage tracking software to find out which apps are installed on company devices
  • Hire an analyst or consultant to conduct a software audit

4- Formalize your strategy

Once you know which tools everyone will be using, it’s time to give your plan some structure.

Figure out why certain people are using specific apps, and how they’ll be using them.

Make sure that there are connections between vital parts of your messaging structure.

For instance, if your team relies on video calling and instant messaging, then all employees must have access to tools that offer those services.

Choose your messaging apps and formalize a strategy
Choose your messaging apps and formalize a strategy

With the basics in mind, you can consider how you’ll start to implement your new strategy for messaging interoperability.

It could look something like this:

  • Is there any new technology you need to roll out?
  • When will it be available to use?
  • Do individual members of your team need training for new tools?
  • How will they get it?
  • When will licenses be discontinued for apps that are no longer necessary?
  • If your users are all moving to Slack, do they still need their Cisco Webex Teams license?
  • What are the expectations you have for your workers?
  • Have you provided a set of guidelines to follows?

Remember, setting expectations will encourage adoption in your workforce.

Let everyone know why it’s important to follow specific rules like backing up their information and using secure applications.

Once you have decided on the apps, integrations, and devices for your messaging strategy – and you may have already done this – it’s time to address messaging interoperability.

5 – Get started with Mio

The most important thing you can do for messaging interoperability is findand plug– the gap between your collaboration apps.

While there’s overlap in the extensions and integrations that many collaborative tools offer, these programs don’t play well together.

There is no native interoperability between the major platforms.

That means that if you have one part of your business using Cisco Webex Teams, and another using Microsoft Teams, for example, you have a problem.

Even if each tool offers similar solutions like instant messaging, video calling and file sharing, when teams use apps by one vendor and not the other, your messaging strategy is completely redundant..

This is where Mio comes in.

Check out this video of what we do.

And it doesn’t need a ton of training or administration to get setup.

The way it works is simple.

You sign up for an account and grant Mio access to each team chat account you want to connect.

Mio then joins the channels within each platform, obtaining user information and mapping primary accounts within your network.

Once all of your channels and users are mapped, you can start sending messages on your aligned chat tools.

Mio receives those messages as API events and translates them into a language that Microsoft Teams, Cisco Webex Teams, and Slack can all understand.

The Mio service then sits in the background of your approved channels and spaces, allowing conversations to sync between every member of your team.

Ready to find out more about Mio for messaging interoperability? Click here for your guide to how Mio works.

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