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Team messaging apps face hype vs. adoption dilemma

Some IT departments are evaluating whether team messaging apps would be a good fit for their organizations. Meanwhile, employees are downloading these apps, not telling IT and using them to collaborate.

But despite the hype, the actual adoption of team messaging has been low as IT groups continue to weigh the pros and cons, said Irwin Lazar, a Nemertes Research analyst. Team messaging apps -- notably, Cisco Spark, Slack, and Unify's Circuit -- promise easy collaboration among co-workers via instant messaging, calling, and file sharing.

Last year, in the world of unified communications and collaboration, Nemertes clients focused intently on Microsoft Office 365, Lazar said. This year, those clients are now keenly sizing up Slack, the wildly popular and disruptive messaging service that's looking to add voice and video calling. At last count, Slack, just 2 years old, reported it has 2.3 million daily active users.

For the past two years at Enterprise Connect, a major UC conference in Orlando, Fla., Slack was a hot topic -- even though the company didn't have a presence at the conference. IT groups and enterprise workers like Slack, Lazar said, but they're not sure the service is enterprise-ready. As a result, companies may look to more traditional vendors, such as Cisco or Unify, for their team messaging needs.

Microsoft, meanwhile, has a muddled messaging strategy that includes several applications, such as Groups, Yammer and Skype for Business. But the vendor might not see messaging as a real threat right now, Lazar said.

In this video, Lazar discusses Slack and the team messaging market. He goes on to address the disconnect between UC vendors and users. In another Enterprise Connect video, discover some of the latest video conferencing trends.

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Why do you think team messaging apps have not yet been adopted widely across enterprises?
I suppose real enterprises are often just too large, consisting of different businesses, with widely varying products, projects and teams to all be connected. If we do all connect, we get even more notification overload and many messages that are not interesting to us.

Team messaging apps only work with smaller audiences, when used to communicate within groups that *need* to work together closely, on some product/project. 
All great points, Eric76. Thanks for taking the time to comment, and thanks for the keen insight. 

I suppose a messaging app could be deployed company-wide and yet siloed as certain teams could just collaborate within their own groups, i.e. sales with sales, marketing with marketing, etc. -- and that way teams wouldn't get messages that don't pertain to them.
Because management don't see any benefits? Because in enterprises any work, even internal, need to be billed?
Good points, Albert, thanks for the comments. Getting management buy-in is indeed important. At this point, team messaging apps, it seems, are deployed in lines of business, and these business units are the ones paying for these (inexpensive) apps.
Distraction is a big enemy of productivity. Team messaging neutralizes an urge to respond, while letting anyone to contribute to the conversation in their own time.
More good points, thanks, Albert. There's still a human element involved with team messaging apps, you're right. And the persistent, always-on element of these apps lets people respond to messages when they're ready.