There’s a lot of stir in the collaboration and communication world about persistent or team-based chat as the “death of email.” However, what is “persistent chat” and is it even right for your organization? And if so, how easy is it to implement?
Let’s tackle what persistent chat is first, because there is some misunderstandings around the topic. Chat is normally considered instantaneous communication—as in it takes place in the moment, and normally requires both parties to be online in the chat tool. Now many chat providers have made “non-instantaneous” chat possible by allowing you to message someone even if they aren’t online—and the chat goes through with some sort of notification to the end-user’s device. Think of any mobile messaging app that still allows you to still get notifications if you are not using the app itself, so technically aren’t “online” for the instantaneous communication. Also—many chat programs have built-in archives and or message histories, allowing one to review the message thread or chat log of communication. However—while this may be confused with “persistence,” it really isn’t what is meant.
Persistent chat isn’t really anything novel—but everything that’s old is new again at some point. Perhaps many of you recall the use of chat rooms? Well chat rooms really are the birthplace of the concept of persistence when it comes to chatting. However, for chat to considered “persistent” it must be organized around a topic—and have history. This is different than chat-rooms of the past, which didn’t allow you review the thread of conversation and exchange that happened before you joined—and was lost when you “logged out” of the chat room. However, team-based or persistent chat allows you to organize teams or rooms around topics, and retains the history so new members joining can see the entire thread of the conversation.
So why should or would organizations be interested in persistent chat? Let’s review the potential benefits:
- Easy access to information Setting up topic or team-based persistent chats allow people searching for information to browse “topics” or “rooms” and then be presented with an entire community and conversation about the topic.
- Easy to monitor for new information Because of notifications to multiple devices—it is easy to know when someone has answered or responded to the topic or replied to the team. Unlike email that usually requires you to “log on” before you get notifications, persistent chat can notify you as soon as someone posts to the room.
- Cut down on email Persistent chat normally reduces email box clutter, as well as the managing of email distribution lists. Anyone joining the room gets the entire history of the chat room conversation—saving them from having to ask for previous conversations or email threads to be forwarded to them.
- Faster development Brainstorming, development projects, and sprint reviews are ideal for persistent chat because the topic is constantly evolving. Instead of starting and managing endless email chains of various subjects, one can simply post developments, new thinking, and updates in the room itself for all members to see, speeding up the development or completion of projects.
- File sharing and third-party integration
In the same place you share ideas, you can also share files. This newer form of communication and collaboration even allows you to integrate to other applications and share files which increases your ability to collaborate.
Most organizations find persistent chat ideal for things like brainstorming, organizing events, asking experts in an ongoing Q&A session, sharing information across multiple shifts or time-zones, and developing/testing of new products or features.
Which applications are available today? There are many options available: Slack, MS Teams, Atlassian Hipchat, FlowDock, Basecamp, and Campfire are just a few names that are offering this capability.
The great thing about persistent chat is—depending on if you’re using Office 365—you may be able to implement it without any increased cost. Having an expert, such as SoftwareONE, guide you through the needed implementation and configuration can certainly speed your company adoption and allow you to access all the benefits quickly.
In moving towards truly unified communications and digitally transforming your enterprise—consider implementing persistent chat for a quick way to show immediate benefits. Your organization will wonder how they ever managed without it in no time flat.