Team Collaboration Twists & Turns

As activity around team collaboration applications continues unabated, this week brings word on an impending market entry from one company and a gambit by another to migrate Slack users to its own platform. That the offerings keep on coming is of little wonder given the potential uptake within the enterprise, as seen in results of No Jitter's inaugural survey on team collaboration.

The survey, conducted in May, asked members of No Jitter's enterprise audience about their interest in and use of team collaboration applications, as I laid out in a slideshow, published yesterday, featuring a sampling of our findings. Here are a few quick data points to consider:

  • Slightly more than three-quarters of the 422 survey respondents reported use of team collaboration apps within their enterprise organizations
  • Only 15% of respondents at enterprises using team collaboration apps indicated their organizations had standardized on a single app; the bulk estimated at least two -- but more likely three or more -- varieties in use
  • Team collaboration apps are on the technology roadmaps of 30% of those respondents whose organizations had not yet waded into the realm of the persistent virtual workspace
  • 73% of respondents at enterprises using team collaboration apps -- and 36% of those at companies not using the apps yet -- said the benefits of these tools are either underestimated or clearly identifiable

Check out the full slideshow here

What industry vendor wouldn't want in on that sort of action? Team collaboration apps have become the industry's lifeline for saving employees from the morass known as email or the sinkhole that opens up when forced to leave one app in order to collaborate via another. The seconds... minutes... hours wasted! Oh, the horror!

Older tools have lacked the persistency of a team workspace in which chats, calls, video conferences, and shared content can be oh-so neatly organized, and searched, for ready reference as your project unfolds or you bring on a new team member, for example. Add in automated functions for scheduling meetings, booking conference rooms, assembling to-do lists, and reducing the burden of any number of other time-suck tasks, and all is good with the world.

Team collaboration app vendors are preaching to the choir. As the No Jitter survey results show, more than 70% of respondents at all company sizes using team collaboration apps -- and as high as 84% of small company respondents -- selected the productivity boost as the chief benefit of using team collaboration apps. The idea of improved employee productivity resonated with a good chunk (58%) of the enterprise respondents at companies not yet using team collaboration apps, as well.

Join In, Migrate to

And so that brings me back around to the latest industry news on team collaboration -- that new market entry and Slack conversion initiative I mentioned up top.

The new entry comes from StarLeaf, which plans to parlay its position in cloud video to move into team collaboration with an app it promises will deliver a "simple, secure, and instant way to message, call and meet from anywhere and on any device. ... to keep everyone connected, informed, up-to-date and productive." (There's that magic word.) StarLeaf this week announced it is now offering limited beta access to the app, with general availability targeted for September. It will be previewing the app, which will work on all Microsoft Windows, Apple OS X and iOS, and Android devices, next week at Infocomm.

And then there's the Slack migration tool, which comes out of team collaboration pure-play, Flock -- the idea being that many Slack users having selected the team collaboration app essentially because they signed on prior to or without knowing about availability of alternatives, Allister Barretto, Flock's VP of strategy and product, told me in a briefing. The target is individuals and teams who are finding Slack, developed for more of a techie crowd, not intuitive enough for their comfort, he added.

With the Native User Migration Tool, introduced earlier this week, enterprises have the opportunity to change from one team collaboration ecosystem to another without loss of data while lowering the cost of collaboration and, Barretto said, improving productivity. (That magic word again.) With the Flock migration tool, all users have to do is "hit a few buttons here and there" to initiate the export of all contacts and teams; public and private channels; chats and chat history; and shared files, content, and URLs from Slack to Flock, "within a few hours," Barretto said.

While Flock did not bubble up in the No Jitter team collaboration survey, the company said its team collaboration app is in use within 25,000 organizations today. It has completed one beta migration from Slack to Flock, with that project comprising around 300 users, 250 channels, and one million messages for more than 10 Slack teams, Flock reported. Next up on Flock's roadmap: a migration tool for Atlassian's HipChat.

And so the team collaboration market continues to expand. But who will measure the productivity lost as enterprises investigate the growing pile of options?

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