For the business communication with colleagues and teams, messaging apps are becoming more and more important. Of course businesses could use traditional instant messaging apps like Skype, ICQ, etc. or the newer versions of Whatsapp, Viber, Line and Co., but often a dedicated messaging app for business communication has advantages.
Desktop and Mobile Apps Offered
Most business messaging apps not only offer mobile apps for iPhone and Android, but a desktop client to enable easy access to your messages. This is generally great, but requires a good synchronization mechanism between the various clients and the server. Besides push notifications for new messages need to be delivered reliably.
Since some of the business messaging apps have their origin on the desktop, reliable push notifications and synchronization are often not certain. So if you select a provider, make sure to test these features beforehand.
Video Communication and File Sharing
Business messaging apps enables users to have 1-to-1 and group chats. Several apps also feature persistent chat rooms for individual projects, teams or entire departments. In order to serve more of your business communication needs, some of these messaging apps offer the ability to share files, and some even enable video meetings for small teams.
Strong Security and Privacy Required
Nearly all business messaging apps use an SSL encryption for the transmission of the messages, and promote the security of their services as being as safe as a bank. However, be aware that there still can be strong differences in the security and privacy features of the various providers. Depending on the level of security you need, you might want to ask yourself the following questions:
- Is only the transmission of the messages encrypted, or are the messages themselves encrypted as well?
- Are the messages stored encrypted on the server? And can the provider read the messages?
- Do user accounts and profiles get anonymized, so their privacy is fully protected? And if not, what user data gets stored?
- How regularly does the provider backup data, and on the other hand delete delivered messages from the server?
- Is the data stored in the USA (where it can be easily accessed by government agencies), in Europe (where data protection is much stronger) or elsewhere?
- From what country is the provider of the business messaging app, and what are the underlying data protection laws?
Relatively Young Market
Yet, there are not many dedicated and capable business messaging apps available. Several providers have started out with desktop and web apps and then extended into mobile (e.g. the business messaging services Yammer, Hall, HipChat and OneTeam). In addition, some new providers with a focus on mobile are about to launch: GoComm will focus on messaging for mobile workforces, and Teamwire will offer secure enterprise group messaging for instant, personal and private messaging with teams and colleagues.
Overall, it is still a relatively young market and it will be interesting to see, how business messaging apps will simplify and improve the communication as well as help to grow the productivity of a workplace.