The past few years have been transformative for enterprise messaging. Organizations across the world are embracing team communication and collaboration platforms such as Flock and realizing efficiency gains.  Flock’s CEO Bhavin Turakhia shares his predictions for the year ahead.

Plus, with distributed teams becoming more common, enterprise messengers have become virtual meeting grounds and office spaces for teams everywhere. And with the launch and availability of APIs for almost every service, it’s become much more easier for enterprises to use and customize messaging apps. Bots have also become a key component of messaging platforms – both for personal use and in the enterprise.

All this however, is just the preamble to the sea of change that is upon us. I see the year ahead bringing in even more changes and improvements to the way we communicate and work together.

New technologies – AI, AR, VR and IoT

New technologies such as artificial intelligence, augmented reality, virtual reality and the internet of things promise to usher in new ways of communication in the workplace. Meetings in a virtual room, AI-enabled data analysis within messaging platforms, bots that do more than send notifications, and IoT-based automatic attendance systems – the potential is unlimited.

Customer-centric development

A side-effect of the Uber-isation of apps and services is that customer retention is more important now than ever. Product development is now shifting towards a customer-led approach, where customer feedback is key to the development of new features. Companies are spending more effort on enabling customer success to retain users. This is a trend that will continue to influence the enterprise messaging space in 2018 and beyond. Put simply, customer-centric enterprise messengers are more likely to succeed.

Third-party integrations

Efficiency is a magic word for any enterprise, and one of the ways enterprise messengers are increasing efficiency is by integrating third-party apps and services within the messaging tool. This saves customers the hassle of switching between multiple apps at work, and gives them time that can be put to better use. For example, one of the most popular apps in Flock is Shared To-Dos, which allows users to create and assign tasks to team members, and track their completion. It’s really a simple idea that reduces the usual runaround between a company’s messaging and task management tools, and gives users time to do more.

Custom integrations for enterprises are going to be bigger and better in 2018, giving users more out-of-the-box functionality in their enterprise messaging tools.

Process and workflow automation

SOPs are the daily drivers of almost every function in a business. Consider the processes we follow for expense reimbursements, or for hiring and induction – there is a certain method to the madness, and these processes often require repetitive human intervention at multiple stages. Process and workflow automation aims to solve the problem of repetitive human effort in such use cases.

Enterprise communication platforms that can integrate with existing HR and Finance systems, and automate some processes will lead to jumps in efficiency and productivity for the entire organization.

The adoption of AI and a host of technologies such as AR, VR and IoT, customer-centric development, better third-party integrations and process/workflow automation are key trends to look out for. I expect them to make a big difference to the evolution of enterprise messaging, leading to better communication and collaboration in the workplace.

Ultimately, the best enterprise messengers will adopt these new technologies, making life simpler for teams working on the next great thing.

Written by Jim O Brien/CEO

CEO and expert in transport and Mobile tech. A fan 20 years, mobile consultant, Nokia Mobile expert, Former Nokia/Microsoft VIP,Multiple forum tech supporter with worldwide top ranking,Working in the background on mobile technology, Weekly radio show, Featured on the RTE consumer show, Cavan TV and on TRT WORLD. Award winning Technology reviewer and blogger. Part time actor and security professional and brutally honest when it comes to opinions.

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