The Unified Communications and Collaboration space never fails to stay interesting.
Originally it felt like we had distinct categories of solution:
- Unified Communications – IM/Chat, Voice, PSTN/Phone, Video and conferencing
- Collaboration – persistent chat around a “topic” (team messaging), working on a project/document together, team workspace, shared files
- Enterprise Social – “social media network” but restricted to enterprise users and sometimes partner companies
Products in each category have always slightly overlapped into the other, you can usually “chat” in all of these for example, but it feels more than ever like the lines are blurring.
There are some interesting developments from the consumer products coming over to target Business/Enterprise. One of the original ones is Microsoft buying Skype consumer and then rebranding their Enterprise product (Lync at the time) into Skype for Business. More recently we’ve seen Facebook enter the ring.
In October 2016, after around 2 years of closed beta, Facebook formally launched “Workplace by Facebook”. Their product for the enterprise for what is a combination of Enterprise Social and Collaboration, you can get a brief overview of features here: https://www.facebook.com/workplace
Just today, WhatsApp (which is owned by Facebook) has announced they are targeting the B2C (Business to Consumer) market with verified accounts for Businesses. KLM are one of the first to have a “verified account”
These consumer platforms have some very impressive features and user counts, there is little to debate there, but will they be able to meet enterprises requirements and convince enterprises to try their solutions. I think in the B2C space it’s a no brainer, but in the Enterprise Internal/B2B I’m not so sure.