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I started working in a corporate environment in 2004. Since then, I’ve watched enterprise communications dramatically change. Back then, we relied on Outlook, desk phones, and the occasional cell phone call. Today, the landscape looks completely different. We still have e-mail, but we’ve also added tools like iMessage, Slack, Microsoft Teams, and more. What’s ironic is that I feel overwhelmed at times. I joked with my wife that working in 2019 sometimes feels like keeping inboxes empty. Let’s take a look at the current state of enterprise communication tools.

About Apple @ Work: Bradley Chambers has been managing an enterprise IT network since 2009. Through his experience deploying and managing firewalls, switches, a mobile device management system, enterprise-grade Wi-Fi, 100s of Macs, and 100s of iPads, Bradley will highlight ways in which Apple IT managers deploy Apple devices, build networks to support them, train users, stories from the trenches of IT management, and ways Apple could improve its products for IT departments.


We have just published a new video webinar on our YouTube channel (you can watch below) that discusses the state of modern enterprise communications, all the tools modern workers are using, and the pros and cons of each.

During the webinar, I’ll break down the following tools: e-mail, Slack-style services, direct phone calls, and iMessage.

E-mail

E-mail is still the central tool for many businesses because it’s based on an open standard. E-mail is also available to internal employees as well as external people. Another critical consideration for a lot of businesses is archiving messages for legal reasons. While tools like Slack have options to store messages for compliance reasons, iMessage has end to end encryption, so your legal team will have no access to it outside of getting ahold of a device that is unlocked. A new survey also reports that 71% would prefer to use an service/app that combines all emails and messages in one place

iMessage as an enterprise communication tool

iMessage has its benefits because it’s built into all Apple devices, but that will limit Windows and Android users from taking part in the conversation. It’s fast-paced, but it lacks tools to deal with Do Not Disturb/Out of Office. While a lot of business communications happens over iMessage, it’s lack of archiving options, and lack of non-Apple device access should cause IT managers to guide their users to other platforms that are better suited for the task.

Slack and Microsoft Teams

I’ve been using Slack for many years now, and I am starting to see the cracks in how it works. Slack’s general channels can be challenging to follow if you aren’t paying attention to them. It’s akin to having to sit by the water cooler at work to be able to catch up on the conversation. Slack does a great job of letting you set “do not disturb” hours, but I think it could go even further by allowing you schedule messages to be sent when users are next online (or even on desktop mode). There are times when I can see someone is offline, I want to message them, but I don’t want to notify them on mobile (or Apple Watch). While these enterprise communication tools are useful, they also have their faults.

Enterprise communication tools wrap-up

I hope you enjoyed the webinar, and I look forward to your feedback either on YouTube or in the comments below. I don’t have all the answers when it comes to enterprise communications, but I do have a lot of questions. As we have more options to stay in contact, we have to be mindful of allowing people to have periods of zero interruptions so that we can write, work on a large project, etc. We have to strike the right balance.

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