In the wild, an ecosystem’s diversity is its strength. In the business world, diversity tends to be another word for fragmentation. Your revenue teams are in one world, your engineering teams are in another, and your product teams are caught in the middle. Prior to the rise of cloud-based SaaS applications, IT tended to have greater control over what a company’s tech ecosystem looked like, but with self-install and a low cost to entry for most applications out there, how can you look to reestablish control? Look to your communications system as a foundation for your tech ecosystem, and build off of it.
The problem with fragmented tech ecosystems
Earlier this year, Mio’s workplace messaging report found that of 200 polled organizations, 65% had implemented Slack, 61% had implemented Microsoft’s Skype for Business (which is nearing the end of its life), and 59% had implemented Microsoft Teams.
That means that at least 9% of organizations have implemented at least two communications tools.
Speaking to ComputerWorld, Blair Pleasant, president and principal analyst at COMMfusion had an even more eye-popping statistic: “Many companies have [four to seven] collaboration tools that people are using. Some are trying to bridge the solutions rather than replace all of them.”
Here’s the problem: with one part of the company in Platform X and another part of the company in Platform Y, those two orgs aren’t talking to each other.
When adding even more communications channels to the mix, the issue of siloing increases exponentially. Maybe it’s not really a problem if your payroll team can’t talk to your engineering team, but what if your marketing team can’t talk to your product team? What does that do to business efficiency? Are efforts being duplicated? Are the right questions being asked? Consider, also, the cost to the bottom line: you’re paying for seats in multiple platforms that do the same thing.
Why you should use Slack or Microsoft Teams as the foundation of your tech ecosystem
Standardizing your communications system allows you to standardize across the board. Want to ensure every new hire enjoys a great onboarding experience? That starts with making sure they can talk to the people they can learn from. Making communication easy leads to a collaborative company culture. But the benefits go beyond that. When you invest in one communications platform, you can build the rest of your workflow on top of it.
Whether you go with Slack or Teams, intentionally choosing one platform (instead of living in four) is going to allow you to easily identify the kinds of applications you want to add on to your tech stack.
Remember, not every application out there integrates with both platforms — and some that do give very different user experiences based on which ecosystem you’re part of. Teams, after all, is naturally tied into the rest of Microsoft’s offerings, so if you’re already invested in Office 365, you can expect a native integration of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, and ongoing support for that integration. Slack’s Office 365 integration is built on a public API “with no special help from Microsoft.” With the two going head-to-head for the same audience, this may not be a future-proof solution.
On the flip side, that integration does still exist for Slack — and it looks amazing! One of the benefits of Slack is its API that allows anyone to build an integration. Want to design something bespoke for your own company’s benefit? Slack gives you that opportunity. In fact, plenty of companies (ahem) have taken advantage of that openness to build amazing products designed to work where employees spend most of their time.
And it’s that part that’s the key. Communications platforms should be foundational to a tech stack because that’s where the day-to-day actions happen in companies — especially those with multiple offices.