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8 Business Leaders Share Challenges of Using Multiple Messaging Platforms

Highlights December 5, 2019
Real life stories of multiple platform usage with Slack , Microsoft Teams, and others
Dominic Kent

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8 Business Leaders Share Challenges of Using Multiple Messaging Platforms

Real life stories of multiple platform usage with Slack , Microsoft Teams, and others

Are you still struggling to use multiple messaging platforms at once?

According to the Mio Workplace Messaging Report, the answer is probably yes. 

3.3 is the average number of workplace chat apps used in the workforce today. 

What’s more, 63% of the companies using Microsoft apps use Slack in parallel.  

Clearly, there’s still an issue with siloed workforces in the current landscape.

Once we’d validated that multi-platform use definitely existed, we wanted to find out exactly how businesses were using them and what the most common challenges were.

We posed one question to business leaders:

“Tell us about the benefits and challenges of managing multiple platforms.”

Here’s what we learned…

Slack is the core platform when multiple platforms are used

Firstly, we asked which platforms each business leader used.

Slack appeared in every response, highlighting the obvious popularity of the service. 

This corresponds with our own research, which found that 65% of businesses are using Slack today

Slack is the most used app when multiple messaging platforms are in use
Slack is the most used app when multiple messaging platforms are in use

However, the apps that each respondent used alongside Slack varied. 

Slack and Zoom for video conferencing was a common pairing, with over half claiming to use the two apps together.

“Internally, we use Slack, Asana, and Zoom to keep up communication as a remote team. We have found an effective system that works as we use Slack for quick chats, Asana for tasks, and Zoom for meetings.”

– Bailey Hahn, SEM Specialist at Summit Digital

Other platforms in use include among business leaders included:

  • Microsoft Teams
  • Cisco Webex Teams
  • RingCentral Glip
  • Monday.com
  • Skype for Business
  • Facebook Messenger
  • Asana
  • Evernote

Some respondents even told us that the use of multiple apps was crucial for their productivity.

“When it comes to using multiple platforms, you have to ask what purpose those tools are serving. It may not be the worst idea to have 2 or more tools in your belt depending on what you need them for. We use both Slack and Monday to communicate. They both have a purpose and fulfill our needs.”

– Tim Brown, Owner of Roofing SEO

Multiple platforms exist due to their unique benefits for internal communication

There are plenty of reasons why employees in a company might choose to use more than one chat app. 

After all, if you transition from a company using Microsoft Teams to Slack, then you might not want to give up the app you’ve grown to love just because you’ve changed roles. 

Personal preference will always win

“No one uses the same platform or combination of platforms. This means that new employees will have to learn new platforms, get comfortable with them, and download them to whichever device they’ll use regularly.”

– Shayne Sherman, CEO of TechLoris

Often, giving employees access to multiple platforms means empowering them with the apps they prefer. 

At the same time, some tools are simply designed to work better for certain tasks. 

“Zoom provides a screen share feature which is useful for onboarding new remote employees. They can visually see what I’m talking about instead of trying to explain often complicated information via text or phone.”

– Shayne Sherman, CEO of TechLoris

Businesses will always have primary and secondary apps

For some companies, certain products become a crucial part of their operations, while additional systems are tacked on over time according to employee preference. 

“Zoom has become the cornerstone of our business for meetings. We rarely use the phone. It’s always a Zoom meeting. I love that I can screen share quickly – even on my phone.”

– Marco Hernandez, Director of Sales and Marketing at Kaizen Social
Zoom and Slack is a popular combination when multiple messaging platforms exist
Zoom and Slack is a popular combination when multiple messaging platforms exist

Marco also commented on how important the use of secondary apps is for communication in his business.

“Slack is the best messaging platform for quick communication. We find it more efficient than using Facebook Messenger. Asana and Monday are also great for follow-up , assigning tasks, and keeping our company structured. Everyone knows that in there they can find the details they are looking for and the tasks for the projects.”

– Marco Hernandez, Director of Sales and Marketing at Kaizen Social

Speaking to customers and IT Managers on a regular basis, we’ve learned that there are many different use cases for multi-platform use.

This is one of the most common we find:

“Slack will be the primary chat application and the primary connected app to all our business applications. Microsoft Teams will serve the function of facilitating meetings and sit in the background until it’s needed.”

– Lyndsay Lantz, Senior Manager of Enterprise Systems at SailPoint
Business often weight up Slack vs Microsoft Teams - but they could be using both interoperably
Business often weight up Slack vs Microsoft Teams – but they could be using both interoperably

Multiple platforms exist for external communication too

When you buy a new phone system, you don’t buy one that only lets you call people internally.

The same must be true for business messaging.

“We try to keep communication with clients simplified to email, Zoom meetings and the occasional phone call or text. However, some of our clients have existing platforms in place that we have to adjust to. For example, some of our clients use Basecamp.”

– Bailey Hahn, SEM Specialist at Summit Digital

At Mio, one of our most frequently asked questions is:

“Does Mio support external federation?”

For users and administrators, our latest product Universal Channels will enable you to sync a channel with another organization using Slack, Webex Teams or Microsoft Teams. You can track the progress of Universal Channels on the Mio public roadmap.

External Federation

Interoperability and integration makes chat apps more appealing

When we asked each business leader what features stood out the most in their favorite messaging tools, interoperability and integrations were common themes. 

“The best feature of Slack is that it has so many integrations. We use the Bob bot to keep up with our employees’ schedules and time off.”

– Adam Hempenstall, CEO and Founder of Better Proposals

Similar applies when Slack and Zoom are in use together.

“The best feature of Zoom is that I can integrate it with Outlook and Slack to run instant meetings. This is important because a lot of times meetings are brought up in email or chat, so instead of logging into a new platform, I’m able to host right from the platform I’m working in.”

– Nicole Royer, Innovation Consultant at Innovative Revolution

While most messaging apps play well with other business-critical apps like CRM and HR platforms, they don’t always integrate well together. 

For example, while Cisco Webex and Microsoft Teams work together for meetings, they’re not perfectly aligned for an everyday chat. 

You can now launch a Microsoft Teams meeting from a Webex device – but you cannot message across platform without a third-party app running in the background.

Native cross-platform chat is only available via Mio

Even with basic interoperability, allowing employees to use their own tools without an interop strategy can lead to problems. 

“Managing multiple platforms was a big challenge for us. Initially, we allowed our team to choose which platform to use for different processes. Some were more comfortable with Skype for video calls, while others preferred different platforms. Ultimately, this led to inefficiencies because of the lack of alignment. I get flashbacks to hundreds of wasted minutes at the beginning of conference calls as colleagues tried to sync different accounts and send account names.”

– Nikola Baldikov, Digital Marketing and Sales Manager of Brosix

The biggest challenges of managing multiple platforms

Though integrations allow for a single-pane-of-glass experience, there’s incredible demand for full messaging interoperability. 

When we asked what the biggest challenges of using multiple platforms were, we got responses like these…

Duplicated junk and context switching

“Having to open them up or keeping them open at the same time and the amount of junk each generates. It becomes overwhelming when users generate conversation.”

– Marco Hernandez, Director of Sales and Marketing, Kaizen Social

Finding a start, middle, and end across platforms

“Our biggest challenge when managing multiple communication platforms is the effort to start, continue and finish a project or task within the same channel. We often find a project will start via email or Zoom but we have to refer to multiple channels to see the project through to launch. To counteract these challenges, we have implemented additional Slack workplaces for some of our clients so that communication is almost instant. We can add the client workspace to our internal Slack, so all messages and alerts are in the same place.”

– Bailey Hahn, SEM Specialist, Summit Digital

Lost information

“The biggest challenge when using our combination is that things get lost. We’d say something in Messenger and struggle to find it later on. No matter how hard we try to talk about one specific aspect of work on one platform, things eventually get mixed up.”

– Adam Hempenstall, CEO and Founder of Better Proposals

Lack of alignment in internal communication

“In the end, we decided that we needed more alignment in our communication and started using our own product, Brosix IM. It saves a lot of time on the inefficiencies and provides a unified security approach. The text, audio, and video chat features are encrypted end-to-end on a private network, which is important for us. Security is a growing concern, and our Brosix network makes it simple to protect or communications.”

– Nikola Baldikov, Digital Marketing and Sales Manager for Brosix

Conclusion

It is clear that businesses of all backgrounds and sizes are reliant on more than one tool for productivity and collaboration.

We already knew that 91% of businesses use at least 2 messaging apps.

Having reached out to business leaders that have these problems, the validation for message interoperability is black and white.

In this article alone, we found out that lack of interoperability when using multiple messaging platforms leads to:

  • Duplicated junk and context switching
  • No clear start, middle, or end for conversations
  • Lost information
  • Lack of alignment for internal communication
  • Wasted time app switching
  • Juggling primary and secondary apps
  • Battling everyone’s personal preference

The demand for a multi-app workforce has even prompted integration and interoperability to become one of the most sought-after features in chat tools. 

Businesses even go as far as to create their own integrations when the ones they need aren’t available. 

With apps like Zapier and IFTTT, businesses are able to create manual triggers for certain events. 

But this is time-consuming, ever-changing, and simply not enough. Only a small part of the problem is solved.

With Mio, you can natively sync your combination of Microsoft Teams, Slack, and Cisco Webex Teams, all with one simple tool.

There’s a one-time configuration and no need to install a new app. 

Instead, your team members can send messages directly from Slack to Microsoft Teams or Webex Teams (and vice versa) and the experience will be just like they were working in the same platform.

Are you still struggling to use multiple messaging platforms at once?

Watch this video to see how Mio solves exactly this problem.

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