10-Oct-2016

Messaging apps are very popular among consumers. Whether it be WhatsApp, Messenger, WeChat or others, billion of users have adopted them.

Why consumer messaging apps are not suited for businesses?

Messaging apps are very popular among consumers. Whether it be WhatsApp, Messenger, WeChat or others, billion of users have adopted them. Because these apps are very handy for mobile communications, much faster than email, and very convenient for group collaboration, professional workers tend to use them for business purposes as well. But that’s not without challenges and risks.

Here are the 6 reasons why consumer messaging apps are not suited for businesses

1. Security

Would you allow your employees to use their personal email accounts for work? Probably not. This would represent a threat for your organization. You wouldn’t be able to close down their accounts if they were to leave your company, you wouldn’t have control over data storage, nor over access rights to potential confidential data. Well, the same applies to messaging apps. Your employees should use an enterprise-grade app, that you have selected and which respects your security policy. As an example, Whatsapp has recently announced a big change to its privacy policy allowing its parent company Facebook to get usage of some user data gathered by the app for ad-targeting purposes.

Some consumer messaging services are also hosted in the USA where data protection laws and broad surveillance cannot meet European customers requirements due to strong data protection European laws.

2. Desktop & mobile usage

Messaging apps are very convenient for mobile communications, and this is one of the reasons why employees tend to use them for business when they’re away from their desk. But, not all their colleagues and business contacts are mobile (back-office functions, call center agents, support) nor do they all freely communicate their mobile phone number. For your business, it’s essential to use a messaging app that works across desktops and smart-phones, using email as the identifier.

3. Administration

Furthermore, consumer apps have no corporate admin portals to ensure easy roll-out and user management, monitoring of usage, company-wide policies, back-up, data loss prevention etc.

4. Support

Support is critical to businesses. When something’s not working, immediate action is required. Only enterprise-grade apps offer monitoring , support and SLAs and dedicate personnel to these functions.

5. Telephony & corporate directory

Corporate directories are permanently changing as employees join or leave the company. So the best way to keep up to date is to allow integration between the messaging app and the corporate directory. In addition, when you’re looking for a business contact, you shouldn’t have to browse through the list of your friends to find it. Business and personal contacts should be separated.

Consumer apps don’t allow integration with another key collaboration tool, your desk-phone. Only (few) enterprise-grade apps enable desk-phone presence (available, occupied, ...) to be reported into the app, showing at all time if a colleague is really available or not. Integration with enterprise phone systems, also enables employees to click-to-call from their app and use their desktop phone to call (instead of their PC or cell phone), to listen to their voicemails from their app, to transfer calls..... in a nutshell, to use their messaging app, not only to chat, call, video, share, but also to monitor their phone settings.

6. Integration with corporate tools

Collaborating in the business environment is not as simple as in the consumer world. Your business contacts are not only sitting on your smart-phone but also in a corporate directory, a CRM, a supplier referential. Content you share is not only a picture taken from your smart-phone, but can be any document stored on your PC, or on any file-sharing solution.

Your business probably has many mission-critical IT systems that your success relies on, whether it be your ERP, your logistics system, your accounting tool, your HR app. Integrating with your existing IT assets is key to your end-to-end productivity. Consumer apps can’t provide it.

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