Enterprise collaboration platforms: India market will take a huge upswing, say experts

For the period 2017-2022, collaborative applications is the fastest growing software segment in India with a CAGR of 47.8 percent, says research.

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With the need to make enterprises more efficient and collaborative, the last few years have seen communication solutions rise steadily. While Slack remains at the top of the list for such solutions, startups such as Flock are fast catching up to give Slack a run for its money. While the market is relatively young at the moment, especially in India, the future hold immense potential for such platforms

In addition to merely offering a productive communication service to employees, enterprise messaging applications also integrate multiple software tools in their offering which can further enhance employee productivity. Enhancing workplace efficiency with the use of such platforms are expected to find a unique place in almost every business, whether big or small.

"Large amount of time inefficiencies in the organization today are largely due to communication inefficiencies. If you think about enterprise communication, it actually hasn't changed much except for the last 2-3 years when Flock, Slack, Microsoft Teams and many other companies made the foray into the space," says Bhavin Turakhia, founder and CEO, Flock.

Bringing context into conversation

Enterprises today process massive load of information using a variety of tools and there is nothing as a fabric connecting all of this to bring context into conversation. Employees have to constantly spend time switching between these tools. By bringing all information into one place where conversation is happening, enterprise messaging platforms have an opportunity for the first time to be that fabric.

“As enterprises start taking such apps more seriously, the market for such platforms will take a huge upswing. We think this is a new trend. Enterprise messaging is today is where email was 25 years ago.”

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   Bhavin Turakhia, Founder & CEO, Flock

What makes enterprise messaging and collaboration platforms very valuable to organizations is that they are bringing context into conversation. Hence, all issues plaguing organizations can be sorted out on the platform itself without the need to continually switch among different apps.

“We have made 60 plus integrations into Flock so you have the information right where the conversation is taking place instead of pulling out from multiple places. For example, if a software developer commits a code to Github or creates a pull request for an issue, the message can come inside a chat conversation where the issue or the code can be seen without going to Github," explains Turakhia. 

How enterprise communication apps enhance efficiency?

Using such communication platforms, all departments in an organization can be connected at the same time. Additionally, platforms like Flock help integrate third-party tools for developers, project managers, sales and marketing teams which can increase the collaborative efficiency. Apart from third-party integrations, the platform such as Flock has a to-dos app, video conferencing and the ability to make calls among employees.

"Collaborative applications in general and messaging platforms in particular have grown in demand as they possess the potential to enable transformation initiatives in enterprises, especially in industry verticals that are characterized by a millennial workforce such as IT/ITeS, FMCG, and the vibrant start-up community. The need for the workforce to collaborate real time and enhance productivity are the major drivers for the rapid adoption of such solutions. Several enterprises have registered tangible as well as intangible benefits, ranging from increase in productivity of employees, greater engagement of teams, rise in real-time collaboration, and so on," elaborates Sandeep Sharma, research lead of software and IT services at IDC India.

"Collaborative applications in general and messaging platforms in particular have grown in demand as they possess the potential to enable transformation initiatives in enterprises, especially in industry verticals that are characterized by a millennial workforce.”

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    Sandeep Sharma, ‎Software & IT Services Practice Lead - ‎IDC

Enterprise messaging platforms can also be used to integrate internal communication with AI and machine learning to derive deep insights. "Chat is an important part of deriving insights, where a lot of people are communicating. We know so much but we are only operating in a transactional way. Chat is transactional but how do you create value out of it? At Flock, we have started R&D efforts around these processes using machine learning and artificial intelligence so as to increase the value of the system," says Devashish Sharma, CTO at Flock.

Security is critical for adoption of enterprise messaging apps

For the enterprise collaboration and messaging app market to thrive, data security and privacy must be top notch. While security on popular platforms may be subject to leakage, deploying dedicated enterprise messaging apps like Slack and Flock may ensure better security. “By using public platforms like WhatsApp, there is a risk where sensitive information could be leaked. Organizations need to understand that popular apps need not be safe. Our aim is to be the most secure channel of communication for internal communication” said Turakhia.

The future of enterprise messaging platforms in India

For the period 2017-2022, collaborative applications is the fastest growing software segment in India with a CAGR of 47.8 percent, according to research by IDC. This is indicative of its importance in digital transformation initiatives of Indian enterprises. 

"In India, the adoption of enterprise messaging platforms will depend on the existing needs of an organization. If it is a big organization which has an equivalent full scale enterprise suite, it will take care of everything. However, a small organization which has not invested in a full scale solution, it can integrate across applications using platforms like Flock.”

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   Ritu Madbhavi, CIO, FCB Ulka Advertising

Despite being at a nascent stage of development, the large scale adoption enterprise communication platforms like Flock and Slack with third-party integrations, technologies such as AI, AR/VR, IoT, ML will drive organizations to the next level of workforce transformation.

Enterprises have already started taking such platforms seriously and a good example of this is the rapid growth that Flock has experienced. Since the launch of its premium subscription at the beginning of this year, the enterprise messaging platform has seen a month-on-month growth of 200 percent in the number of licenses sold.

"Unlike the US where enterprise messaging is a mature market, India has still a long way to go. As enterprises start taking such apps more seriously, the market for such platforms will take a huge upswing. We think this is a new trend. Real enterprise communication today is where email was 25 years ago. There are a billion email addresses, and only 6 million users of enterprise communication tools," states Turakhia. 

India has one of the largest number of SMB enterprises across the world and enterprise messaging and collaboration platforms with integration capabilities across the board will serve extremely useful. "In India, the adoption of enterprise messaging platforms will depend on the existing needs of an organization. If it is a big organization which has an equivalent full scale enterprise suite, that solution provided by a single vendor will take care of everything. However, a small organization which has not invested in a full scale solution, can integrate across applications using platforms like Flock," elaborates Ritu Madbhavi, CIO at FCB Ulka Advertising.