Hot Vendors in Group Chat, 2015

Author: David Mario Smith
Topic: Collaboration
Date: July 22, 2015
Research Note Number: 2015-28

Issue: Issue: Who are the Collaboration providers and how will they evolve?

Summary: For many industries, persistent group chat is an important part of internal and external collaboration. Our 2015 Hot Vendors in Group Chat provide persistent group chat to help distributed teams collaborate securely.

Persistent group chat has long been an enterprise capability, even from the early days of enterprise instant messaging and before that with the IRC in the 1990s. While this functionality has been subsumed into other collaboration categories such as the emerging mobile collaboration space, it is still a standalone capability required by many enterprises for team collaboration. This research note highlights three hot vendors who are making a difference in Group Chat.

Persistent group chat was in many ways social collaboration before that even became a popular term. Persistent group chat offerings support the ability to create channels that users could subscribe to for team-based collaboration. It was common for lines of business such as marketing, Sales, IT and HR to create departmental channels to streamline project based collaboration initiatives and to keep track of departmental activities.

Most early enterprise Instant Messaging providers such as IBM and Microsoft support persistent group chat. We see persistent group chat being used often in industries such as financial services and defense. In defense, group chat is critical in areas where bandwidth may be limited and collaboration is needed in the field in combat situations. These are situations where lives are at stake, so secure chat capability is critical.

As the market is evolving to include chat with other UCC capabilities, group chat becomes an interesting launching pad to other real-time modalities such as web and video conferencing with in context file sharing. It is this trend that serves as one of the driving forces behind the emerging mobile collaboration space.

Persistent group chat offerings give the concept of a room or channel as a persistent space so team members can collaborate in context. Since it is persistent, whatever changes or updates are made in a group are saved so you can see updates when you log back in. This is powerful for project management if you are using project based rooms to collaborate.  It can provide efficiency to your project workflow where exceptions are very common.

Chat is also becoming a social media weapon of choice to engage with external people such as customers, prospects and peers in public moderated chat use cases. Marketing professionals commonly use this method for engagement and as part of their overall digital experience strategies.

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