Businesses, who are looking for an enterprise messaging app, often wonder how the various vendors compare, what differentiating attributes the solutions have and which must have features a messaging app should have. In the following we would like to give businesses a little help and guidance, how they can select the right enterprise messaging app (like e.g. Teamwire) and what criteria they should evaluate:
1. Cloud vs. On-Premise Solutions
Does your enterprise require a cloud or an on-premise deployment? Most enterprise messaging apps are cloud solutions. Also the older PC-based universal communication tools increasingly move towards the cloud. While especially for larger enterprises there are good reasons for an on-premise messaging solution, there are fewer professional vendors.
2. Group Messaging
The most important use case of an enterprise messaging app is group communication. Does the solution provide professional group messaging? Are group chats persistent? Are there read receipts for groups? Can a user easily manage groups chats and members? Can an IT administrator pre-configure groups for users (e.g. via LDAP/AD synchronization)?
3. Digital Content Sharing
The second most important use case of an enterprise messaging app is digital content sharing. Generally users expect a similar feature set to leading consumer messaging apps like Whatsapp or Line. Thus, an enterprise messaging app should allow to easily share photos, videos, voice messages, locations, links, calendar dates, etc. Since exchanging files is a frequent business use case, the file sharing solution in use by the enterprise should be integrated in the messaging app.
4. Data Protection, Security and Encryption
With regard to these criteria there a big differences between enterprise messaging apps and between German/European and American/Asian vendors. Does the messaging solution really provide strong data protection? What are the data protection requirements by law for a specific vendor? How is data processed, stored and protected? What encryption is used and how strong is it (e.g. some enterprise messaging apps only use a rather weak SSL encryption for the transmission)?
5. Mobile Application Management
The enterprise messaging app and its data needs to be protected on mobile devices. The solution should either support leading mobile device management vendors or provide an own mobile security layer (e.g. for data loss prevention and access management). Currently not many enterprise messaging apps offer these kind of security features.
6. Cross-Platform Apps
The enterprise messaging app should be available on all required mobile and desktop platforms (e.g. iOS, Android, Windows and Mac). To ensure optimal productivity of mobile and office workers, the app should have the same feature set on smartphones, tablets and desktops. Besides, all chats should get instantly synchronized between all the devices of a user, to enable a seamless communication on whatever device is being used.
7. Scalability of Solution
Scalability is especially important for larger enterprises, since several solutions are only optimized for small and medium-sized businesses. Does the enterprise messaging app work well and performant for larger enterprises? Is the server as well as the app scalable (e.g. many apps cannot handle enterprises with more than 1000 users in a performant way)?
8. Product Strategy and Roadmap
The better business messaging apps focus on the “Whatsapp for enterprise” scenario. Since users nowadays prefer fast and easy to use single purpose apps, complex or integrated solutions should be avoided. In addition, better apps increasingly integrate into the enterprise IT ecosystem. The product roadmap should show, how an enterprise messaging app will automate, improve and accelerate workflows and processes, in order to increase the overall productivity of an enterprise.
By evaluating these criteria, enterprises will see considerable differences between various messaging solutions and their vendors. If you have questions regarding an evaluation and what criteria to look at in your specific case, please contact us anytime. If required, we would even have RFI/RFP documents at hand.