Now that employees are working from home, businesses are especially reliant on team chats for work coordination. With so many apps on the market, which one reigns supreme?
Back in 2013, Slack pioneered a team chat app that can be used as a powerful collaboration tool to satisfy business needs. Since then, more and more messaging apps have emerged.
During the coronavirus outbreak, employees are advised to work from home instead of in the office. Hence, work chat apps have become increasingly important to bridge communication gaps and ensure the continuity of workflow. This article will introduce the most popular team chat apps in 2019 and look into the key features as well as the pros and cons of each app. This would, hopefully, aid you in making a reasonable decision of which chat software to use for your business.
WhatsApp is one of the most popular messaging apps used around the world, amassing more than 2.5 billion users. The app is free, easy to use, available on a desktop, and allows users to send messages and documents to a large group of up to 256 participants.
However, there are concerns that WhatsApp is not the best fit for professional users. Since Whatsapp was acquired by Facebook in 2014, it has been marred by controversies. Firstly, WhatsApp has been criticized for its failure to protect users’ data privacy. Using WhatsApp for classified business communications may expose your company to serious security risks. The app has often been the target of malware attacks as well. What’s more, in a report by Propublica published in September this year, it was found that WhatsApp would read messages reported by users. Millions of chats are sifted through by contract workers and artificial intelligence (AI) each week.
Secondly, using an app that is primarily designed for personal use may lead to embarrassing blunders when employees accidentally send personal messages to a work chat. While Whatsapp has a “delete for everyone” feature, recipients may still see the message before they got deleted or if the deletion was not successful.
Slack was released in 2013 and has quickly become the top work communication platform. The fast-growing popularity of Slack comes as no surprise. Firstly, Slack has an easy-to-use interface, allowing users to use “channels” to chat and collaborate with their colleagues about specific projects or subjects. Secondly, Slack allows users to integrate more than 1000 software and custom apps onto the platform. For instance, Slack users can connect their Google Drive to Slack, making this app an ideal platform for businesses that use Google Drive as its main content management platform.
However, some users have found that Slack can be challenging to use at times. Firstly, multiple, simultaneous conversations in different channels can be hard to keep up with, especially if one is working in a large company. Secondly, the file storage of the free plan version is minimal–with only 5 GB storage space per team. You can only pay for more storage, but many have complained about the price for the paid plans.
Microsoft Teams was launched in November 2016. It has deep integrations with Microsoft Office 365 tools, including PowerPoint, Excel and Word. Users can share any Office document, as well as accessing and editing it together with their colleagues without having to leave the chat software. This increases productivity by making all your collaboration, including chats, shared files and meetings, accessible in one single interface.
There have been some criticisms concerning Microsoft Team’s deployment and team administration processes. Firstly, to sign up, you would be asked your personal information, including phone number and credit card details, even if you are not signing up for the paid plans. Secondly, Teams doesn’t allow people outside the company to participate in its team, meaning it would cost extra for an Office 365 license for external collaborators. Thirdly, users who are dependent on using Outlook in Office 365 find it difficult to migrate from Outlook to Teams. Since a lot of people are still dependent on Outlook in Office 365, this has become an issue for many.
Before you commit to using any app, you must assess its pros and cons and make sure that it is suitable for your business needs.
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