Real-time business communications: is chat replacing email?

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Real-time communication is a critical aspect of business collaboration in the hybrid work model with more employees working remotely from home while others begin to return to their physical office spaces. This is a feature often highlighted in unified communications platforms, where “unified communications” covers voice, collaboration, chat and meetings as converging technologies.

According to Omdia, Informa Tech’s global research business, Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) is growing. Between the first half of 2020 and the first half of 2021, the revenue of this business line increased by 23% to reach 8.7 billion dollars, and is expected to reach at least 28 billion dollars by 2025. This type of growth suggests that more businesses and employees will change their real-time communications to integrate both chat and email into their workflows, as well as other elements of CPU.

Omdia said that while businesses have been using unified communications from cloud services for years, the COVID-19 pandemic has advanced this use because it offers more flexible real-time communication options.

Differences in real-time communications: chat vs email

Earlier this year, Swoop Analytics released a detailed report, the Microsoft Teams Benchmarking Report 2021, which examined data from nearly 100,000 teams in 33 organizations over a three-month period.

Among the main findings of this report: Chat is emerging as the preferred method of communication between team members rather than emailing each other for one-on-one communications.

This makes a lot of sense, especially in the past 18 months with most people working remotely, as the chat easily replaces the in-person conversations that typically take place in hallways, break areas, and members’ desks. the team. Chat for real-time communications provides a quick way to clarify a work-related item and then continue working around that item.

Real-time communications: use the tool that works best

As the issue of chat versus email gains traction, it’s important to note that each of these real-time communication methods have their pros and cons. While one may overtake the other in many businesses, as the Swoop report indicates, the two continue to hold a unique place in corporate communications.

For example, email can provide a chronological history of all the topics that are discussed at length in a discussion thread. Typically, emails support wider and deeper discussions in one place and these emails can easily be archived by any part of the email chain.

Microsoft, Google, and Slack all offer policy options for retaining both email and chat messages for compliance. These retention periods vary by industry and platform and will help any organization meet its legal obligations in this area.

The other reality is that chat will never completely replace email just because they are two different styles of communication.

Using them in the right situations is important for documenting professional knowledge. This includes not hesitating to take a chat conversation and convert it to an email to let other team members know about that discussion and its content.

Much like those missing discussions in hallways and break rooms due to a hybrid work model, the exchange of critical organizational knowledge remains an important aspect of any business team. Using the right tool at the right time for these real-time communications is the challenge for teams these days.

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