The evolution of messaging in the workplace
The concept of messaging at work has been around for many years. From AIM to Microsoft Lync, BM to Cotap, a spectrum of messaging tools have enabled employees to better communicate and connect with one another.
In its early days, messaging took place via desktops. A wave of instant messaging/chat services emerged, including AIM, Yahoo Messenger and MSN Messenger, and gained huge popularity. These services would eventually blend communication in our personal and professional lives. Services like Lync (originally dubbed Microsoft Office Communicator) and Sametime satisfied the need for on-demand communication, in a more exclusive and secure way than the consumer apps could.
When it comes to the history of work messaging, we’d be remiss not to mention Blackberry messenger (BBM). At one point, Blackberry dominated the corporate smartphone market. Employees would swap pins and use BBM messages to stay in sync. But when people took to using Apple and Google phones not just at home but at work too, BBM all but became extinct. Fast forward to recent years: the way employees work, has changed. Telework has nearly doubled. That makes early desktop chat, a tool that required both people to be ‘online’ at the same time, a much less useful tool. As we spend more time away from the office, we need tools to better communicate and connect wherever and whenever we are.
In our personal lives, we’ve turned to consumer messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger to connect with friends and family. These apps have seen such astronomical success that employees are now taking them to work. However, as they lack higher security and built-for-business features, they present administration issues for the organization.
The good news is that there are enterprise options. That’s why mobile-first tools have emerged to keep pace with new ways of working. These tools bring the rich experience employees have come to expect from consumer apps coupled with business features such as file sharing and a shared company directory that enable them to get the job done faster. Much like we saw with the shift from AIM to Lync, these enterprise ready tools are ushering in a new era of messaging in the workplace.
Messaging sure has come a long way. Between calls, emails, texts and social media apps, employees are connected any time of the day from nearly anywhere in the world.