Today, we have a guest post from Greeshma Suresh of MindLink Software, who explores and seeks to dispel the myths around Enterprise Chat. 

Data and privacy issues often mar the usage of chat in the Enterprise. 

Chat is nothing new in the corporate world. Something whose seed was planted in the financial industry over a decade ago–investment banking in particular–has grown into an established staple for enterprise collaboration in virtually any industry and company of any size.

And yet many firms fail to generate measurable ROI in terms of reducing support costs for instance or improving productivity and operational efficiency. Collaboration is unachievable without the ability to share knowledge instantly. So, here we are with our take on the common misconceptions of enterprise messaging, or chat, and what may be stopping companies from adopting it.

1.    Chat is for ‘Chatting’

Although chat has its roots in the corporate world, due to its revolutionary footprint in the consumer space with chat apps such as WhatsApp, MSN, and WeChat, as well as some data and privacy scandals along the way in the early days of consumer chat. It is now perceived by companies as a tool for sharing viral content.

Let’s take a step back and look at “why” it is so popular amongst users. Chat is predestined for real-time content sharing; it’s snappy, and informal. Chat looks and feels a lot like the way we speak than the way we write–which makes its adoption so easy and wide-spread.

Chat is equally impactful whether used by consumers or enterprises. If consumer chat apps are for staying in touch, enterprise chat apps are for “purposeful collaboration”; to resolve business critical issues, real-time. How it caters for the enterprise needs is by being:

  • Persistent – enabling the storage of conversations and data making it easily searchable for future references thus building a knowledge repository
  • Cross Platform – making it easier to collaborate from any device, any time
  • Secure & Compliant – Enterprise data security assured with administrator controls, MDM/ EMM support such as Citrix XenMobile and compliance features added to archive data and messages
  • Resourceful – enterprise features for easy task assignments and alerting during emergencies thus getting work done quickly

2.    Chat is for Millennials

Now there is a common perception about chat: that it is a tool mostly for the Millennials (born after 1980s). The senior members of staff may be more familiar with traditional forms of communications, such as email. But the business world is changing and companies are looking for faster and efficient ways to collaborate. Chat is one of the easiest mechanisms to use compared to emails. Chat condenses all communication and requires less to no training. For older members of staff, getting used to an app that can benefit their organisation tremendously can be effortless.

3.    Chat & Security – an Oxymoron?

Can Chat be secure? We all remember the data breach stories that trended the news last year such as The South Korea Data Leak and Financial Services fines. Regardless of these incidents, the answer to whether or not chat is secure is YES. It all boils down to ownership. If you are deploying an Enterprise Chat app designed specifically for business purposes, then it comes with security features protecting your enterprise data. Encryption of course but also MDM/ EMM support such as Citrix XenMobile and/or compliance features archiving your conversations thus adhering to industry regulations.

With a rise in companies embracing a BYOD/CYOD strategy, companies are under growing pressure to stay abreast of the industry trends. And Enterprise Chat in a secure container is the only trusted form of collaboration where you can maintain your peace of mind while your employees use their own devices to work with modern day chat apps.

4.    Chat is just another App

We already established that Chat, for enterprises, is about facilitating business-critical decisions. Now to add context to it, enterprise chat allows integration of line of business applications. You are not just chatting in real-time, but viewing contextual data in one centralised place to back up your decisions e.g. by piping your support tickets, CRM data, selected RSS feeds or trading information straight into chat channels. Consumer chat apps don’t tend to have a need for tight knit integration. Enterprise chat understands the need for integration with existing applications like CRM, Social Media, Email or corporate portals like SharePoint, and enables integration, thus saving time instead of going back and forth and searching for the data which you can access within your chat rooms.

5.    Chat yields no ROI

Chat is designed to help you collaborate by collecting resources from across the dispersed organization to make effective decisions. Can we gauge the impact of those decisions? The simplest way to measure the effectiveness of chat is by measuring how much time you saved by collaborating through chat instead of sifting through dozens of emails.

Studies have found that group chat can reduce support costs by *43% due to the fact that dedicated support staff on dedicated channels resolved customer issues faster. Increased productivity by *20% as well as enhanced customer satisfaction have equally been reported.

If you’d like to dig deeper, we have a webinar lined up:

Securing chat applications for the enterprise

Time – July 28, 2015 | 9:00 am to 9:30 am PDT

Sign up, now!

*Results based on research carried out on Microsoft Lync Persistent Chat

Greeshma Suresh is the Marketing Executive, MindLink Software