Enterprise chat: what, how, and why [2024 edition]

Sara Ana Cemazar
September 14, 2023
min read

Enterprise chat has evolved to become a preferred medium of internal communication and collaboration among businesses. Startups have caught up to the pace and are leading the space with absolute dynamism, while enterprises are in some cases lagging behind in adoption due to various reasons. 

In this blog, we have covered the importance of using enterprise chat applications and how they can impact business success. We have also curated the features you must look for in a suitable chat app. 

What is an enterprise chat?

Enterprise chat refers to instant messaging and chat applications that businesses deploy to build a dedicated space for internal collaboration and external communication. 

Internally, work chat helps allocate tasks, seek updates, and promote collaboration among employees, manage remote teams and foster inter-department synergy. The chat applications also help foster real-time communication with external stakeholders, including customers, vendors, partners, contract employees, and more.   

Enterprise chat applications come with a plethora of features that help enhance workspace productivity by promoting instant communication between team members. 

How can businesses benefit from using enterprise chat?

From promoting deeper collaboration between cross-functional teams to facilitating easy sharing of files, enterprise chat applications help streamline workspace communication. A McKinsey study shows that enhancing communication helps businesses achieve 20-25% improvements in productivity. 

enterprise chat

Following are some of the ways in which chat applications impact business outcomes. 

1. Faster responses than an email

The average response time for chat is 6-15 seconds, while that for email is anywhere between 4-24 hours. When you use work chat applications, there are chances that your colleagues will reply instantly, and there is a quicker turnaround. This is more important when you have a distributed workforce working remotely. To solve such issues, chat apps help teams stay connected throughout. 

Also, composing emails often takes a little longer as they must comply with the business etiquette and writing format. This is unlike chat, where you can share informal, short notes and multimedia messages quickly.   

2. Project-based communication in channels and threads

In enterprise chat applications, you can create channels and threads to initiate project-based discussions. You can bring together relevant stakeholders, allocate tasks, seek updates, ask questions, and offer feedback to reach the project goals. The team can also share files relevant to the project. Users can also access and track project-based conversations later. 

3. Closer cross-functional collaboration

Notably, around 39% of employees believe that people working in organizations don’t collaborate effectively. The dynamics of evolving business space require cross-functional collaboration. Using chat applications helps categorize conversations by teams and manage tasks and deadlines effectively.

4. Easier document sharing

Enterprise chat applications allow employees to share large files, business assets, documents, and images with a simple drag-and-drop functionality. The file-sharing feature helps when employees work together on a specific document. Some apps also offer a thumbnail preview so employees can download only those files that are relevant to their tasks. 

5. Optimized communication for async and remote teams

In a Buffer study, 20% of remote employees have reported difficulties in communication and collaboration as a major hindrance to their productivity.

With instant file sharing and video conferencing options, enterprise chat apps offer a robust communication platform for remote teams to collaborate

What should an enterprise chat include?

The effectiveness of chat applications depends on the features they provide. For example: 

1. Enterprise-level security

Studies have estimated that cybercrime costs may reach a whopping 10.5 trillion by 2025. Live chat apps are susceptible to security threats and data breaches. So, it is important to look for systems that have stringent security controls like end-to-end encryption, two-factor authentication, role-based controls, on-premise hosting, and others. 

2. Easy to reach anyone in the organization

With enterprise chat, you can establish communication and interact with anyone in the organization. For example, some chat apps have sophisticated features like read status, where you can check if your message is opened and read.

Also, you must check for other valuable features like video conferences and voice calls. 

3. Granular control over user roles

Verizon’s 2022 Data Breaches Investigation Report reveals that 82% of breaches happen due to human error. So, check for chat apps that provide role-based permissions and allow you to configure and customize user roles. 

4. Ability to reach collaborators in external organizations

Often, you might end up collaborating with vendors, suppliers, and employees from external organizations. In that case, you must check if the chat app has features that help communicate with stakeholders outside the organization

5. Advanced customization capabilities

A robust chat app must have advanced customization abilities in terms of themes, communication flow, user roles and permissions, security controls, feature selection and configuration, integration, multi-language support, and more. Some chat apps offer API so you can build custom features. While choosing a chat app, check for the degree of customization. 

6. Chat history

Several times in between a project, you might want to revisit the conversation. So, while choosing a chat app, check if it can document conversations and advanced search functionality that helps retrieve them later.  

7. Scalability and integrations

A chat app must have the ability to support an organization’s growth and also go well with other business tools, sales applications, and CRM solutions. 

5 best chat apps for enterprise organizations

1. Rocket.Chat

enterprise chat

Rocket.Chat has almost all the criteria listed in the previous section and ranks at the top when it comes to enterprise chat apps.

It has robust security features like end-to-end encryption, custom roles and permissions, on-premise deployment options, and more. It is an open-source app, and you can customize the functionalities to meet your unique needs. Rocket.Chat seamlessly integrates with 150+ apps and offers many advanced features that promote internal as well as external communication. 

Get started with Rocket.Chat’s secure collaboration platform

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2. Microsoft Teams

enterprise chat

Microsoft Teams is a robust enterprise chat app that goes well with Microsoft products. It helps communicate with team members, documents chat history, supports video conferencing, etc. Yet, it does not have end-to-end encryption. Also, its customization abilities are limited.   

If you're operating in the EU, be careful how you use Teams because its GDPR compliance is being questioned!

3. Google Chat

enterprise chat

Google Chat remains one of the sought-after chat platforms for enterprises. It is a good addition to your work tech stack if you are using Google Workspace.

Google Chat helps create project-based channels, allows video conferencing through Google Meet, supports file sharing, and makes it easy to communicate with external stakeholders. However, its integration with other tools is limited, and it does not have encryption and advanced security controls. This could make it inappropriate for businesses in highly regulated industries like Defense, Healthcare, or Government.

4. Element.io

enterprise chat

Element.io attaches paramount importance to security and has advanced features like device verification, E2E encryption, and more. It is developed on the Matrix platform and supports unlimited one-to-one and group voice and video calls. However, it does not offer on-premises support in the basic plans. 

5. Slack

enterprise chat

Slack remains a popular collaboration platform and offers two-factor authentication to ensure enterprise security. However, it does not have E2E encryption. It lets you create channels and engage in project-based discussions. You can access all the message files whenever needed. The customization ability of Slack is limited when compared to other open-source alternatives like Rocket.Chat. 

The best enterprise chat?

There is no simple answer to what is the best chat for enterprise companies. As every company operates in different region and industry, it will have different priorities when looking for a chat to improve workplace communication among its employees.

If you're looking for a user-friendly chat whose features go beyond standard enterprise security, check out Rocket.Chat. Built for organizations in highly-regulated industries, it allows for complete data sovereignty. The security extends to collaboration with external partners and customers.

Learn more about Rocket.Chat's offer for enterprises and reach out to our team for more info.

Frequently asked questions about <anything>

enterprise chat

What is an enterprise chat?

What are the best enterprise chat tools?

Can you use enterprise chat and email?

Why are some chat apps work better for enterprises, while others work better for small and mid-sized organizations?

Sara is an SEO Strategist at Rocket.Chat. She is passionate about topics around digital transformation, workplace experience, open source, and data privacy and security.
Sara Ana Cemazar
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