Unlimited vacation time. Conference calls during the morning commute. Checking in with clients from a pediatrician’s waiting room. These are just a few examples of how today’s messaging applications are blurring the boundaries of work. Users can decide how, when and where they get their jobs done. These apps present great opportunities for bringing efficiencies to how you work – as long as they’re secured properly.
Apps such as Cisco Spark, WhatsApp, Skype for Business, Slack, WeChat and Facebook Messenger are not bound to a device the way email applications and phone lines of yesterday were. Users can access them from any device in any location at any time. These apps enable users to be more available, accessible and productive.
This means that the traditional 9 to 5 workday is likely going the way of the public payphone. Since users can log into text, voice and video messaging tools from any location, they no longer have to stay at an office to get work done. They can go home, have dinner and log in after tucking their kids into bed. They can travel to the Caribbean and still make it to that critical client meeting. A user can message a manager at 8 p.m., get an answer and finish the project that evening.
Messaging Improves Communication and Collaboration
Not only have new messaging apps made workers more agile, but they’ve also improved the effectiveness and efficiency of workplace communication and collaboration. For instance, since we started using Cisco Spark here at CDW, we’ve practically eliminated what I call “email chatter.” That’s when five or six people are on an email thread, but they’re responding to messages out of order because they’re checking email at different times or their messages are coming through at different rates. With Spark, we can all see and participate in conversations in real time.
We can also easily share documents. At CDW, we integrated Box with our Spark platform. Not only is that more efficient than emailing files, but it’s more organized; instead of tracking down old email threads, we create “rooms” for different projects and initiatives so that team members have easy access to discussions and content.
Another advantage of newer messaging tools is that since so many users employ them in their personal lives, there’s little to no learning curve. Instead of two days of training, users can play with highly intuitive apps such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp and be up and running almost instantly. Most of the apps are also seamless across platforms, so they look the same whether on a tablet, desktop or smartphone.
Security Must Be Top of Mind
This is not to say a messaging deployment doesn’t face any challenges. Many of my clients are trying to determine how to leverage these apps in the enterprise and secure them, along with the confidential information they contain. Security must be top of mind for organizations that deploy messaging tools. Fortunately, apps such as Cisco Spark and Skype for Business have been investing heavily in securing their platforms. WhatsApp recently announced they are going to fully encrypt all traffic.
Another issue is the blurring of professional and personal lives. While it can be convenient to work anytime anywhere, it can also become overwhelming.
Presence features in messaging apps can help create boundaries separating work and home life, when needed. So while one worker might choose to sign off when he’s lying on the beach, another might view that setting as the ultimate workspace.
That’s the beauty of these apps: The only boundaries are the ones you place on yourself.
To learn more about how you can add a secure messaging platform to your enterprise system, contact your account manager or feel free to leave me a message below.
Lastly, for the latest in collaboration trends, check out BizTech Magazine for more information.
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