Brian Riggs
Brian is a member of Ovum's Enterprise team, tracking emerging trends, technologies, and market dynamics in the unified communications and...
Read Full Bio >>

Brian Riggs | April 04, 2018 |


Managing Message App Overload

Managing Message App Overload Are messaging apps supplementing or supplanting other means of communicating within the enterprise?

Are messaging apps supplementing or supplanting other means of communicating within the enterprise?

At what point do many messaging apps become too many?

Speaking for ourselves, this question is fairly easy to answer. After all, we each have a different degree of tolerance as messaging apps like Slack, Spark, Teams, Circuit, Connections, Jive, Workplace by Facebook, and Yammer join an already crowded set of email, voicemail, SMS, and other applications used in the workplace.

In an ideal world, I'd be able to choose the three or four (or five or...) that I find the most useful while ignoring the rest. In the real world, however, different individuals or groups of individuals have adopted different messaging applications, and if I want to interact with them I have no choice but to use the apps they've chosen.

Recently, while a colleague and I were using the chat function in Google Sheets to discuss the spreadsheet we were co-editing, I was studiously ignoring both pop-up notifications from someone else messaging me on Slack and the Outlook icon in my system tray indicating the arrival of new email. (I've long since turned off notifications from voicemail and our internal social app, so one email provided a transcription of a recent voicemail and the other let me know that someone mentioned me on Yammer.)

But if you decide to draw a line in the sand, would you say, "I use these apps and will add no others," or would it be, "For every new app I start using I'll stop using another"?

Jettisoning Voicemail
At Orange Business Services, gave me an interesting example of how some businesses are -- perhaps inadvertently -- taking the latter course. The provider has long sold its hosted UC services -- Business Together Cisco and Business Together Microsoft -- to large enterprises around the world. With the rise of IM, SMS, or email as a fallback, voicemail has been trending down in use. Some customers started questioning the value of voicemail as an effective way for employees to communicate with each other within their organizations.

It makes perfect sense to me. Like many office workers, I've long used email and SMS as my predominant and preferred forms of business communications. It's unusual for anyone to call without first messaging me, so it's relatively rare that I miss calls anymore or for callers to record a voicemail message. When I do miss a call and the caller leaves a message, technology -- in the form of forward-to-email features and transcription services -- are in place so I hopefully don't have to interact with the voicemail platform. But I'd just as soon take voicemail out the equation entirely.

And this is precisely what some Orange Business customers have done. One enterprise customer disabled Cisco Unity Connection, turning off voicemail for 4,400 employees. The test was to see if anyone noticed! After IT turned voicemail off, only 28 users -- out of 4,400! -- said they wanted it back.

While hosted UC sans voicemail probably isn't the norm among Orange Business customers, it has been popular enough for the provider to now make voicemail optional and decouple it from specific plans, Burrell said. The provider's least expensive plan offers hosted telephony only (telephony as a service), with no other Cisco applications whatsoever, whether Unity, WebEx, Jabber, or Spark.

This is a good option mainly for businesses looking to keep communication costs to a bare minimum. In fact, reducing the company's overall communications spend is probably the driving factor for most Orange Business customers eliminating voicemail from their organizations. But, at the same time, eliminating voicemail is one way of confronting the messaging-app-overload issue head on.

Eradicating Email
Email, of course, is another stodgy old app that we'd all like to see eliminated -- or at the very least reduced -- in favor of more modern messaging apps.

If there is spectrum of companies seeking to eradicate email through the use of other apps, Atos occupies one end. It was way back in 2011 that the company said it would eliminate internal emails in favor of IM, social networking, and good old-fashioned face-to-face conversations. By 2013, employees were receiving 60% fewer internal emails, a figure expected to rise to 80% by mid-2014, Atos said.

Things get murky after that. Relatively recent articles tend to present the same figures from 2013. Atos hasn't really highlighted Zero Email (a term it trademarked along with The Zero Email Company and Zero Email Certified) in recent annual reports. I'm guessing the annihilation of internal emails wasn't absolute. But perhaps the company's carefully executed strategy, which has included company-wide deployment of Unify Circuit for collaboration and, with the incorporation of blueKiwi, for social networking, has not only reduced dependence on email, but also curtailed rampant adoption of random messaging apps within different groups.

On the other end of the spectrum is Wells Fargo Bank. When it rolled out IBM Connections as the social networking platform for its 263,000 employees worldwide, Wells Fargo didn't retire other applications with similar capabilities. Rather, the company sees Team Moments, as it calls its Connections-based social platform, as an added capability, said Eric Schmautz, enterprise community management manager at the bank, speaking last month at IBM Think.

Though he doesn't actively encourage it, Schmautz said he expects the use of email, Salesforce Chatter, Microsoft SharePoint, and other applications to decrease gradually as Team Moments becomes part of various workflows. And he expects this to take place by itself -- the result of promoting use of the social platform, not banning the use of other apps.

Coming next: Purging Persistent Messaging ... Attempts to stem the tide of team collaboration apps flooding the enterprise

Follow Brian Riggs on Twitter and Google+!
Brian Riggs on Google+


September 26, 2018

Join Kevin Kieller, Microsoft UC&C expert, along with Ribbon Communications and Polycom, for an update on Microsoft Ignite, and a focus on critical things you need to know about your voice deployme

August 29, 2018

Moving your voice services to the cloud introduces new challenges for 9-1-1 services. These include the need to serve multiple locations, and the increased mobility that comes with having a phone t

August 8, 2018

Artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming a reality for your contact center. But to turn the promise of AI into practical reality, there are a couple of prerequisites: Moving to the cloud and integr

March 12, 2018
An effective E-911 implementation doesn't just happen; it takes a solid strategy. Tune in for tips from IT expert Irwin Lazar, of Nemertes Research.
March 9, 2018
IT consultant Steve Leaden lays out the whys and how-tos of getting the green light for your convergence strategy.
March 7, 2018
In advance of his speech tech tutorial at EC18, communications analyst Jon Arnold explores what voice means in a post-PBX world.
February 28, 2018
Voice engagement isn't about a simple phone call any longer, but rather a conversational experience that crosses from one channel to the next, as Daniel Hong, a VP and research director with Forrester....
February 16, 2018
What trends and technologies should you be up on for your contact center? Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center & Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2018, gives us the lowdown.
February 9, 2018
Melanie Turek, VP of connected work research at Frost & Sullivan, walks us through key components -- and sticking points -- of customer-oriented digital transformation projects.
February 2, 2018
UC consultant Marty Parker has crunched lots of numbers evaluating UC options; tune in for what he's learned and tips for your own analysis.
January 26, 2018
Don't miss out on the fun! Organizer Alan Quayle shares details of his pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon, TADHack-mini '18, showcasing programmable communications.
December 20, 2017
Kevin Kieller, partner with enableUC, provides advice on how to move forward with your Skype for Business and Teams deployments.
December 20, 2017
Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst with ZK Research, shares his perspective on artificial intelligence and the future of team collaboration.
December 20, 2017
Delanda Coleman, Microsoft senior marketing manager, explains the Teams vision and shares use case examples.
November 30, 2017
With a ruling on the FCC's proposed order to dismantle the Open Internet Order expected this month, communications technology attorney Martha Buyer walks us through what's at stake.
October 23, 2017
Wondering which Office 365 collaboration tool to use when? Get quick pointers from CBT Nuggets instructor Simona Millham.
September 22, 2017
In this podcast, we explore the future of work with Robert Brown, AVP of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, who helps us answer the question, "What do we do when machines do everything?"
September 8, 2017
Greg Collins, a technology analyst and strategist with Exact Ventures, delivers a status report on 5G implementation plans and tells enterprises why they shouldn't wait to move ahead on potential use ....
August 25, 2017
Find out what business considerations are driving the SIP trunking market today, and learn a bit about how satisfied enterprises are with their providers. We talk with John Malone, president of The Ea....
August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.