Since this is the time where many people reflect on the past year and plan for the new year, we would like to make some predictions and highlight some trends for enterprise messaging apps in 2018:
1. Enterprise Messaging Apps Will Strongly Grow and Become Mainstream
The last years have been a seeding phase for the enterprise messaging market. By now several vendors have emerged that have nearly wholistic enterprise messaging apps. At the same time enterprises understand that messaging is a critical medium for the team communication, increases business productivity and especially for mobile use cases is better suited than the email. In addition the European general data protection regulation (GDPR) is a strong driver for businesses to solve the WhatsApp problem as part of the shadow IT and implement a compliant enterprise messaging app. Taken all together the demand for enterprise messaging apps will strongly grow and the market will become mainstream in 2018.
2. Simple Enterprise Messaging Apps Will Attack Unified Communications & Collaboration Tools
Currently the media mainly talks about unified communication tools like Skype for Business, which are rather weak in mobile messaging, or collaboration tools like Slack, which are rather complex (=>NOTE: For a better market understanding please read our market overview of chats apps and collaboration tools). However, the mainstream users want something that is very similar to WhatsApp, because this is what they know from their private use (=>NOTE: For a good understanding of user expectations please read the reasons why employee reject communication tools). The majority of employees will prefer simple to use enterprise messaging apps like Teamwire. Since enterprise messaging apps are normally cheaper than unified communications and collaboration tools, the business case for enterprises is often very interesting. Therefore more and more businesses will choose an enterprise messaging app instead.
3. Several Market Segments Will Demand Pure Enterprise Messaging and Industry-Specific Features
Many enterprise messaging vendors currently develop features for VOIP, video conferencing and online meeting, which will make them the new unified communication tools. While there is a clear enterprise demand for these kind of tools, there will be several market segments that demand pure enterprise messaging only. Actually some market segments have no requirement for VOIP and online meeting at all, but already demand specific messaging features for their vertical or industry. The demand by enterprises for advanced and industry-specific messaging features will strongly grow. We believe there will be a lot of innovation in the next 12-24 months of pure enterprise messaging apps and more industry-specific solutions will emerge.
4. Enterprise Messaging Apps Will Become Increasingly Important for Continuous Business Productivity
Security, data protection and compliance are often important reasons for businesses to deploy an enterprise messaging app. With the upcoming GDPR and its high penalties data protection will be a critical requirement for enterprises. Another scenario that especially larger enterprises assess is the dependence of cloud services. When businesses move in the Microsoft Office 365 or Google Apps cloud, their productivity depends completely on the availability of these services. In case of service interruptions enterprises need an alternative, independent tool, in order to keep the core business productive. For these kind of scenarios simple enterprise messaging apps are a perfect solution.
5. Real Leaders in Secure Enterprise Messaging Will Emerge
Many enterprise messaging apps currently call themselves „secure“. However, huge differences exist when an enterprise is properly assessing the data protection, security, encryption, compliance and administration features of the various vendors (=>NOTE: For a good evaluation of enterprise messaging apps please read the leading enterprise messaging app and secure WhatsApp alternative for businesses and the public sector). In 2018 some secure enterprise messaging apps will become clear leaders in the market, because they will be able to the fulfill the rather demanding requirements of the GDPR, to provide the comprehensive security feature set businesses demand and to show leading references and case studies in regulated industries.
6. Integrations Will Become More Important – Not the Ones Currently Available
Needless to say, integrations of a messaging app into the enterprise IT ecosystem are very important for business productivity. Integrations via an API can be used to automate workflows, establish chat bots, enable Internet of Things (IoT) and support Industry 4.0 projects. The use cases are endless. Most integrations of enterprise messaging apps currently available are for established US cloud services. Thus, there will be growing demand for new integrations – some being industry-specific requirements, some being relevant for on-premise software, some being critical for IoT, etc. These integrations of messaging apps will be important to drive the digitalization of enterprises in 2018.
In case you are wondering, why we haven’t written anything about cryptocurrencies, blockchain and bitcoins in relation to enterprise messaging apps: We believe there are certain use cases, but in general it is too early. You will have to come back and read our predictions for 2019! 😉
If you have questions regarding these predictions and trends for enterprise messaging apps in 2018 or would like to learn more about Teamwire, please contact us.