Instant messaging software for businesses and enterprises serves as a form of internal communication tool that enables text-based messaging, voice and video calling, as well as file sharing.
Instant messaging apps can be divided into two main categories, internal and external communication tools. An external instant messaging platform is typically used by the general populace, represented by products such as Facebook Messenger, WeChat, Telegram and WhatsApp, just to name a few. While these instant messaging tools are typically used by individuals for social purposes, businesses use them for their marketing initiatives, lead generation, lead nurturing and customer support. Indeed, most businesses today utilize external messaging solutions to effectively connect with their target customers in real-time, via desktop/laptop computers and mobile devices.
With external instant messaging tools covering the business-to-consumer (B2C) aspect for businesses and enterprises, internal messaging solutions are designed primarily for internal business communication involving different departments, employees, executives and stakeholders. There is a certain level of disparity between conventional instant messaging apps and enterprise instant messaging software solutions, especially when it comes to chatbot automation and the message management process. Internally, instant messaging for business has the ability to connect key personnel within an organization to individual workers/employees and predefined teams, which effectively transforms a simple chat app into a valuable collaboration tool for project teams.
Internally, enterprise instant messaging software works to digitally connect individual employees, executives, departments and teams in an efficient and convenient manner. This is often done by having users install an instant messaging app or software in their respective devices, such as their desktop/laptop computers, smartphones and tablets. The app can serve as an excellent tool not just for group chats, but also for video conferencing and remote face-to-face meetings. It can also work as a collaboration tool for project development teams, which is why instant messaging is often integrated with project management solutions.
Instant messaging apps for businesses and enterprises are fully capable of facilitating direct messaging, one-on-one conversations and communications within predefined teams, groups or departments. The quick and efficient nature of instant messaging helps expedite the communication process within an organization, effectively eliminating the constant back-and-forth emails between users who might only be asking simple queries or are relaying concerns and suggestions. At its core, instant messaging software for business provides users with an internal virtual space to rapidly address their colleagues without resorting to informal means like SMS messaging, which requires a personal phone number.
Most businesses, regardless of the size or industry, use enterprise instant messaging software in combination with other software products, which are either built-in or fully integrated through integration tools or APIs. You see, there are comprehensive software products that offer native instant messaging apps as part of their feature set. Instant messaging is often built into business solutions like employee engagement software, task management software and employee intranet software, just to mention a few. Oftentimes, the instant messaging app is offered in the free plan or the free version of any of these solutions, making them an attractive option for small businesses and startups.
A good example of a good instant messaging app for business is Google Chat. The Google Chat app represents one of two different applications that constitute the replacement for the now defunct Google Hangouts. It is fully integrated into Google Workspace, previously known as G Suite. Google Workspace is a comprehensive suite of tools and applications designed for businesses of all sizes. The suite includes cloud computing, collaboration and productivity tools, software solutions and other digital products that are developed and marketed by Google.
Google Meet and Google Chat are available through the web, the App Store for iOS devices and the Play Store for Android. The Google Chat app can support more than a hundred users in a single chat group, while Google Meet is capable of supporting up to 30 participants in a video conference. Users can easily attach files, video and audio clips from Google Drive and Dropbox, as well as search or filter chat based on people, files and specific keywords from text. Businesses that are already using Google apps such as Gmail, Drive, Calendar, etc. are more inclined to use Google Chat and Meet as their primary internal communications solution.
Another example of enterprise instant messaging software is the one that Microsoft developed and marketed to businesses of all sizes, Microsoft Teams. While this instant messaging tool is relatively new compared to other existing products in the market, it has become one of the most popular and widely used instant messaging apps for business since its release. Microsoft Teams was initially developed to compete with Slack, another instant messaging software for business that is quite popular among groups and teams. Microsoft Teams comes fully integrated with Microsoft Office 365 business accounts, although it also supports third-party app integration. It is highly intuitive, very customizable and supports video conferencing, among other features.
Apart from instant messaging tools that are built into or fully integrated with comprehensive software platforms and suites, there are also standalone instant messaging software for business that provides extensive third-party app integration capabilities. These types of apps are equipped with both basic and advanced features, depending on the vendor. Of course, these apps will come with instant messaging as their core feature. Instant, direct messaging is indeed the main function of enterprise messenger software applications. They allow users to instantly send direct messages to other users or to a chat group where they are a member.
Another useful feature of enterprise instant messaging software is its file sharing capabilities. This is one feature that isn’t always available in many commercial or external-facing instant messaging solutions. With this feature, user can easily share files and documents through chat. They can share links to secured files and/or documents that are hosted in the cloud or attach files that are saved on a desktop computer or mobile device. Some instant messaging tools also include a screen sharing feature, which is quite useful in video meetings where a user might want to share a slideshow presentation, graphical data or any visualizations from their desktop or tablet.
Instant messaging has quickly become one of the most common and fast-growing means of communication in the workplace and in any business setting. This is one of the main reasons why enterprise instant messaging software became so popular as well, especially among businesses and organizations in need of a robust and feature-rich messaging app capable of supporting both internal and external communication.
Instant messaging for business provides much more than just rapid direct messaging and group chats. It is capable of so much more. Implementing the right instant messaging tool can help improve the communication process within your organization. Instant messaging apps provide a more streamlined approach towards one-on-one and team communications. They are especially beneficial for businesses that employ or work with remote employees, since such tools make it possible for users to communicate with other individuals as if they are physically in the same room.
Enterprise instant messaging software is also beneficial for project management and organization. An instant messenger for business, when equipped with the right features and capabilities, is a very effective collaboration tool. For users engaged in project development, one of the most crucial tools that can ensure effective coordination, proper task management and collaboration is a good instant messaging app. Business and team messaging tools allow for efficient organization, planning and communication among team members, project contributors and stakeholders.
A more streamlined workflow is another benefit that you can expect from implementing the right instant messaging software for your business. Even if you’re using a free instant messaging app, it can still help streamline your workflows in the most basic of ways. Imagine what an enterprise-grade instant messaging tool can do in terms of optimizing and streamlining your workflows. With instant messaging integrated into third-party business process solutions such as project management, task management, employee engagement and employee intranet software, you can expect your team members to be more productive and highly efficient in their work.
Enterprise instant messaging software also provides better accountability, especially when it comes to remote working environments. Employees working remotely have to be accountable for their work activities, assigned tasks and decision-making. Businesses and employers of remote teams need that accountability to ensure higher performance and productivity. As an internal communication tool, instant messaging apps are vital to remote work. Accountability can be difficult to achieve without the proper communication channel that most instant messaging apps can effectively deliver.
Commercial instant messaging apps allow users to exchange messages in real time, but enterprise instant messaging software can do so much more than that, particularly in a business environment. It can provide rapid text-based messaging, allow voice and video calling, host video conferences with dozens of participants, enable screen sharing and file sharing with ease, send notifications and alerts, as well as initiate surveys and polls.
Having the right enterprise instant messaging tool can be a huge factor in managing a productive remote workforce. Regardless of the type of business you’re running, whether you employ a physical workforce or a remote one, or even half-and-half, a feature-rich instant messaging app can be an effective solution to help manage your internal and external communications process. A good instant messaging app should allow for quick and efficient problem-solving, enable users to share information rapidly and send fairly large files in real time.