Anyone whoâ€™s familiar with the enterprise messaging space is certainly aware of the rise of a slew of new cloud-based collaboration servicesâ€”like Slack and HipChatâ€”that aim to fundamentally change the way end users communicate and collaborate.
These services bring a new dimension to collaboration, one that has been missing from most traditional unified communications (UC) platforms. As opposed to UC servicesâ€”such as Microsoft Skype for Businessâ€”Slack and platforms like it offer integration with vast number of business applications, such as Box, Salesforce and Zendesk, to name a few. For instance, users on Slack can share messages from Zendesk or files on Box during a chat session.
Investors are noticing this functionality. As a result, Atlassianâ€”the owner of HipChat, Slackâ€™s biggest competitorâ€”recently went public, with its valuation soaring to $5.8 billion on the back of a first day pop of 32%. On the other hand, Slack is valued over $2 billion as of its last round of funding.
But despite their strengths and torrents of positive PR in 2015, these two collaboration platformsâ€”and others like themâ€”come with obvious limitations.
As a recent TechCrunch article suggested, they â€œrun within self-contained platformsâ€ and do not support â€œopen protocolsâ€â€”such as SIP or XMPP. This, of course, critically restrains their reach.
As opposed to consumer messaging services which typically have been winner-take-all, the enterprise messaging market has room for multiple players.
To grow beyond just â€œlocalized network clustersâ€ within a single organization, Slack and HipChat must demonstrate â€œstrong network effectsâ€â€”which means interoperability with more established UC platforms. Otherwise, these services risk severely limiting the abilities of their end users.
For example, Microsoft has 180 million users on its Skype for Business platforms and services today, and Cisco WebEx Messenger has 60 million usersâ€”and thatâ€™s just naming two platforms out of many. So due to the closed approaches services like Slack and HipChat have taken to date, right off the bat, end users arenâ€™t able to communicate with 240 million potential business partners.
If these the crop of new cloud-based collaboration services fails to see the utility in supporting open protocols, according to Alex Moazed â€œthe market [for enterprise chat] could easily remain fragmented, with plenty of room forâ€ for new entrants.
Fragmentation on top of fragmentation, which doesnâ€™t really help make communication any easier.
A New Open Business Messaging Service
Unlike Slack and HipChat which are walled garden environments, NextPlane nCore is an open messaging platform with the built-in ability to federate with major UC platforms and services, including those from Microsoft, Cisco, IBM, BroadSoft, GENBANDâ€”to name a few.
nCore users have the ability to not only communicate with their internal colleagues, but also easily collaborate with business colleagues from any organization on Microsoft Office 365, Skype for Business or Lync with Open Federation; as well as any company on XMPP-based UC platforms, such as Cisco Jabber or Broadsoft UC One.
Moreover, users on nCore can communicate with peers in more than 400 companies across over 1,000 domains that are listed as federation-ready in the NextPlane UC Exchange Federation Directory.
Similarly, users on any of Microsoftâ€™s platforms and services with Open Federation, those using XMPP-based solutions, and UC Exchange members are also able to add nCore users to their UC clientsâ€™ contact lists. Once connected, users can leverage the power of presence, chat, group chat, file sharing, desktop sharing and voice and video calling with their business partners as if they were on the same platform.
Perhaps most importantly, companies and users using nCore wonâ€™t have to rely on their IT teams to set up federation. In other words, nCore is a turnkey service; federation with tens of thousands of companies has already been built in to the platform.
This is truly game-changing as it addresses key ingredients that are missing from popular collaboration services like Slack and HipChat: openness and interoperability.
Those services can certainly help teams improve their communications within company walls. But at the end of the day, users are still locked into silosâ€”which prohibits them from connecting with their external business partners.
To realize their full promise of making work easier, messaging services need to allow users to connect with all of their business partnersâ€”even those who use different platforms. Thanks to nCore, this functionality is now possible.