8x8 Shifts Team Messaging Strategy

In the crowded team collaboration field, cloud communications provider 8x8 has stood outside the fray, opting to offer an interoperability solution for linking disparate apps or different teams using the same app, rather than crafting an offering of its own. Today, with the introduction of 8x8 Team Messaging, that strategy has shifted.

 

That's not to say interoperability among team messaging apps isn't still a core offering for 8x8, company executives told me in No Jitter briefing. But 8x8 has learned a lot since acquiring the Sameroom.io interoperability service in late 2016 -- including that there's plenty of opportunity beyond the big names, and that connectivity is key, said Dejan Deklich, chief product officer at 8x8.

So while 8x8 has built Team Messaging from the ground up to be an integral component of its X Series platform for voice, video, collaboration, and contact center implementations, it's made sure the app natively integrates with Sameroom. That means Team Messaging is interoperable with nearly two dozen team messaging platforms, including Cisco Webex Teams, Google Hangouts, and Slack, the company said.

With this introduction, 8x8 is giving a nod to the importance that companies are increasingly placing on team collaboration -- "one of the last big pieces missing from our portfolio," Deklich said. "After we acquired Sameroom, we saw more and more people shifting to chat ... and we knew we absolutely needed to play in that space."

 

 

That imperative extends beyond the confines of traditional enterprise communications and collaboration solutions, Deklich said. Team Messaging represents a fundamental shift in what 8x8 is trying to do, he said. "It's not just communications and collaboration inside the enterprise; it's also how to allow enterprises to reach their customers."

With that in mind, 8x8 didn't approach Team Messaging as just another messaging tool for project teams. Rather, it architected the application to scale for enterprise-wide deployments and with cross-company collaboration in mind, said Meghan Keough, VP of product & solutions marketing at 8x8. As one example of how that has manifested itself in the product, Team Messaging automatically hooks into a company's global directory, she added.

"It's not just about some group in engineering working with another group in engineering. It's about connecting engineers with sales associates or allowing HR to share information across the organization in real time," Keough said -- something that "people can go back and look at over time." In other words, while 8x8 has architected Team Messaging to scale technically for deployment within the largest enterprises, it's also scaled on a use case basis, she added.

Additional Team Messaging features include public rooms for cross-departmental and cross-organizational collaboration, with Sameroom providing real-time collaboration with external constituents; searchable archives within rooms, for establishing institutional knowledge; and private rooms for sharing confidential content. And, of course, Keough noted, users can move seamlessly from chat to voice or video meetings.