9 stories from a year talking to Slack, Webex, & Microsoft Teams customers
I’ve been talking to Slack, Webex, & Microsoft Teams customers for roughly a year now.
I regularly share my findings and experiences on my LinkedIn so this post is a roundup of anecdotes, lessons, and fun stories from my first year talking with Slack, Webex, & Microsoft Teams customers about interoperability, their collaboration issues, and how their businesses work.
1 – Why can’t we all just collaborate?
I was talking with a VP of IT at a major Investment Bank yesterday.
It was a thrilling conversation.
But to cut a long story short…
There’s a battle between the IT team that is heavily invested in Microsoft and another IT team that is just as heavily invested in Cisco.
So, the team collaboration predicament here is the classic…
Without any prompt from me – or anyone at Mio – the VP stepped in.
“It’s not Teams VS Teams. It’s Teams AND Teams.”
Mio turns VS into AND.
Why can’t we all just collaborate?
2 – Disjointed collaboration at every level
Recently at Mio, we’ve had quite a few people reach out to us for information that I never expected.
These range from huge conglomerates that definitely have interoperability issues but have traditionally been afraid of asking for help, to 10 person companies that have a problem with choosing one tool to collaborate across their remote locations.
Most recently… I’ve been talking with a lot of Executive Assistants experiencing collaboration grief.
It turns out, even at the C level, one exec is using one collaboration platform and another exec is on another.
And as I quickly found out, that doesn’t just create a headache for the C-level exec but everyone around them.
3 – Everyone needs to collaborate
Often, when on an introductory call with a company with a multi-platform environment, the IT Manager says something like:
“But I don’t even know who needs to communicate with who.”
I often say, “Yes you do. Anyone may need to talk to anyone. That’s why everyone used to have a phone on their desk and everyone now has a phone in their pocket.”
The desk phone enabled everyone to talk to everyone. Cell phones do the same.
So why then does business messaging forbid that?
4 – We’re back!
We just had a call with a customer who wanted to kick off a POC with Mio.
No, that’s not the story. That happens quite a lot!
Here’s how the conversation started…
“Yeah, we talked with you 18 months ago and we had decided that we were going to move everyone over to a single collaboration platform.
And now we realize we need Mio.”
5 – Not everyone gets it
I had an interesting conversation with a company that decided they didn’t need collaboration interoperability
It was talking with a Director of IT in a large hotelier.
I explained the product, the benefits, and that they are the target customer.
Why are they the target customer?
Easy. They are licensed across the company with Webex Teams and Microsoft Teams.
(Mistakenly) thinking it was a slam dunk, I said something like…
“You get it! You have the problem we’re solving. A disjointed comms network in your company. Information isn’t flowing freely. People aren’t communicating. Decisions are being stalled. It’s the problem we solve.”
He said, “I don’t see what the problem is. I just don’t open Microsoft Teams.”
6 – When you use Slack but everybody else uses Webex
On a recent customer visit, I sat down with a graduate on the engineering team at a 500 person company.
This engineer was struggling on a day to day basis with communication because everyone on his team used different platforms.
He used Slack to talk about projects, share code notes, and well, collaborate.
But the CTO and the rest of the company was on Webex Teams.
As we were sitting there… he had both platforms open.
As I sat next to him, he was literally translating a conversation on one platform to the other.
Notifications going off everywhere.
Needless to say, he’s been struggling with keeping up with all the communication channels and was thrilled to get started with Mio’s interoperability solution so he can stay on his favorite platform.
7 – The sheer number of collaboration apps
This prospect had a problem that I knew we could solve.
Half their employees use Slack.
Half their employees use Webex Teams.
Naturally, they are running a trial with Mio for messaging interoperability.
Curious, I asked…
“How many other collaboration tools do you use?”
Most of the time, I get the answers… hard to tell or we don’t know.
In this case, the answer was 14.
This company had 14 collaboration tools in use, in addition to Slack and Webex Teams.
A few hours later I was speaking in front of a Cisco user group and I told this story, thinking that 14 was outrageous.
I already knew that 91% of businesses use at least 2 messaging apps.
So, I asked the group the same question.
The answers? (At a Cisco user group, don’t forget).
I was surprised.
Collaboration interoperability, messaging interoperability, however you want to phrase it, is now a fundamental need for companies.
It’s not a “nice to have”.
8 – The repeat
This is going to sound like a story you’ve read above, but I promise it’s not.
I had a call last week with a Director of IT in a company of about 500 people.
They have Skype, Webex Teams, and Microsoft Teams all deployed and licensed through Enterprise Agreements.
The IT guy said:
“Someone said to me they’ve been sending messages on Webex Teams and haven’t got a response. I said to them, ‘I’m on Skype, you need to contact me there.'”
The way he said it implied…
You need to know what platform I’m on to contact me!
How is someone supposed to know that?
Not only does the IT guy – who everyone needs to talk to – only open one platform, he expects everyone in the company to know what messaging platform everyone else is using.
This is costing his company money, time, friction, missed messages, and missed meetings.
9 – Celebrating success
It’s pretty cool when you join a start-up.
It’s cooler when, within a few weeks, they sign a 7 figure deal with a Fortune 100 company for 4 years!
(I wish I had something to do with it!)
Thanks for reading the stories about my time so far at Mio. Be sure to follow us on Twitter and connect with me on Linkedin for more anecdotes of my time with Slack, Webex, & Microsoft Teams customers.