What Differentiates Enterprise Messaging Apps?

It’s important to consider the difference between enterprise messaging apps and consumer messaging apps before making a decision when considering a messaging app for your company.

While the idea of using a free app like WhatsApp or GroupMe is alluring, these apps are not enterprise-grade — meaning they don’t have the security, administration and other features that are hugely important for the business.

Let’s dive into what those features look like, and how they impact your business.

1. Security

Security almost goes without saying these days. You definitely don’t want the sensitive data, conversations and information at your company being shared with the entire online community.

Your company’s data should always be encrypted, stored at a secure data center, and most importantly, meet rigorous security certifications. You should expect to see various security and compliance measures met such as:

  • TRUSTe
  • SOC-2 Type II
  • ISO 27001

Secure communication apps for the enterprise will also have secure sign-on mechanisms, such as multi-factor authentication or the ability to connect with your single sign-on provider. This means only the people who should have access to your company’s communications do. With consumer apps, there is no way to control access to outsiders or remove people from conversations after they’ve left the company.

One final security difference is that with enterprise apps, the business owns their data, rather than Facebook or GroupMe owning all the data. If you were to use a consumer app, you’d have no protection from policy changes that put your company’s data at risk.

For example, last year Whatsapp changed to its privacy policy to allow its parent company Facebook to get usage of user data gathered by the app for ad-targeting purposes.

2. Administration

Administrative control is a great benefit when it comes to ensuring effective communication at work. Effective communication is vital to employee and company success, so much so that it is a leading indicator of financial performance.

When you enlist an enterprise messaging app rather than a consumer one, you can manage team communications from an admin console to ensure communication flows freely through the organization.

Capabilities include things like:

  • Designated groups
  • Data control
  • Integrations with file sharing and other business programs

Having officially designated groups is a big business advantage for a few reasons. When you establish designated groups like Front Desk, Field Resource Coordinators, or North NJ Field Techs, employees know exactly where to go to get information. Additionally, new hires can be automatically be added to these official groups, making onboarding a smooth process.

Integrations are another key feature for efficient communication. The best enterprise messaging apps will have integrations with active directory, file-sharing programs (Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.), and other business programs like Salesforce. These integrations mean you can pull up any document you need in-app, rather than searching for it on your computer and sending an email.

3. Analytics

Analytics are crucial for tracking the effectiveness of internal communications and finding new ways to improve. But when it comes to consumer messaging apps, this feature is not something you are going to get.

With communication analytics, leaders have visibility into the conversations going on at the company, meaning they always have their finger on the pulse of the organization and can identify areas for improvement.

For example, conversation analytics could reveal that the training materials for a certain installation procedure aren’t robust enough. You could then proactively broadcast a short training video on the topic. These possibilities for improvement are almost endless.

Conversation networks and frequencies can also reveal new areas of focus for companies. At Vivint smart Homes, they found that employees who performed the best also communicated the most, and thus placed emphasis on good team communication.

4. Top-Down Communication

Because enterprise team messaging apps are built for the way businesses work rather than consumers, there are handy features that enable top-down communication. This means the ability to send company-wide or group-specific messages in-app, ensuring the message gets read.

This is a big selling point for enterprise messaging systems because this type of communication has long been a pain point for managers and executives. Most messages sent through email or posted on bulletin boards or intranets either go unopened, unread or both.

With an enterprise solution, you can send alert-style messages, or broadcasts, that go straight to your employees’ phones and require them to read the message to continue using the app. And with analytics, you can see exactly who has read the messages.

This is especially important in industries like construction where real-time safety alerts prevent injuries and casualties at work sites.

5. Support

The final big differentiator between consumer messaging apps and enterprise ones is product support. This means documentation, like articles and videos on how to use all features of the app, as well as live troubleshooting and implementation support.

When you’re using an enterprise communication platform, there are much richer features than you’d find on a consumer app, which are usually complemented by a Help Center that has how-to’s, FAQs, and more.

Additionally, enterprise apps come with account managers that walk you through the implementation process and are always on standby to help with any issues. This is especially crucial for larger organizations who will have various administrators and structured groups throughout the organization.

At Zinc, make sure companies have everything they need to best use our platform. Whether that’s coming onsite to oversee the implementation or devising specific communication strategies, our customer success managers help companies get everything they can out of Zinc.

Making the Choice

These five differentiators are the leading reasons why companies make it a point to get their employees off of consumer apps and onto enterprise ones. But the trouble is, enterprise-grade technology is often hard to use. With complicated interfaces and dull designs, there is a real issue with low adoption among enterprise messaging apps.

So when doing research on which solution to choose, look for ones that are intuitive and boast high adoption. The right app should have the same sleek, alluring design and easy-to-use interface that consumer apps have. And keep in mind that technology should work across any device. Field service employees are rarely on a laptop, but management at corporate offices are. Forcing everyone to use a mobile device to communicate isn’t the best way to do it.

Here at Zinc, we’ve designed the only intuitive communication platform built for deskless workers. Whether employees are out in the field or back at the office, Zinc enables effective, real-time communication that drives business results.

ABOUT Kristen Wells

Kristen is the senior manager of corporate communications at ServiceMax and editor of Field Service Digital. She is passionate about elevating the stories of women in field service and improving communication between the field and the office. Prior to ServiceMax, Kristen held content marketing roles at startups such as Zinc and cielo24. Kristen holds a B.A. in Communication with an emphasis on Professional Writing from the University of California, Santa Barbara.