Software is due for a bundling event

In just the past couple of weeks, Microsoft, IBM and Facebook have all launched next-generation collaboration interfaces for enterprises. The key shift in these new messengers is the ability to integrate third-party software that can “push” messages with machine learning to help end users get only the data that is relevant. Key strength: Bundled with Office 365. The third-party integration is best in class, with tabs that can support fully contained micro apps delivered by third-party systems. The product out of the gate scales 5x in active users per channel past Slack. Key strength: Cognitive grouping of messages with extraction of summaries and action items. The product is also free for users to start using, a first for IBM. Cons: Slack has not been able to deliver an enterprise-grade product. Google Key strength: Can bundle with G Suite and Hangouts. Where it’s all going Two of the biggest enterprise players, Microsoft and IBM, are gunning for this market now.

Snap Inc. Opens Advertising Opportunities to SMBs
How to make fake friends and influence people politically with botnets
20 of the fastest growing business apps in 2016

How to join the network

We are approaching a new phase of enterprise software, where every niche of Software-as-a-Service has been filled and cloud companies are being consolidated into larger companies. Markets have a tendency to cycle from bundling to unbundling, and software is due for a bundling event. The cloud, open APIs, next-generation messengers and machine learning are combining to turn the end-user interface to enterprise software into a unified experience.

There have been attempts to do this, ranging from portal servers like Portal Software, to “Enterprise 2.0” collaboration software like Jive Software, to communications platforms like Yammer. However, none of these have stuck pervasively because they only solved one slice of the problem, various backends were difficult to integrate, it was hard to work with people outside of the enterprise and there was no machine learning to sift through all the data on users’ behalf.

In just the past couple of weeks, Microsoft, IBM and Facebook have all launched next-generation collaboration interfaces for enterprises. Slack kickstarted the reboot of Yammer and Chatter a couple of years ago, and now the big guns are back and swinging.

The key shift in these new messengers is the ability to integrate third-party software that can “push” messages with machine learning to help end users get only the data that is relevant. All of this is built on the rapid proliferation of micro services that allow easy access to most systems, including legacy systems. Some of the platforms even allow full integration of micro apps — simple, single-purpose apps that allow employees to quickly perform specific tasks.

The most convenient feature is to allow end users to drive micro flows, where they can complete simple actions such as approving a purchase order. As I wrote previously in TechCrunch, the unique combination of micro flows, micro apps and micro services is enabling a new architecture I call the “micro wave” architecture.

We at Sapho have had the privilege of working with most of these nascent platforms; here are our impressions.

Key strength: Bundled with Office 365.

Pros: Microsoft’s recent foray into this market is a very comprehensive, well thought-out product. The third-party integration is best in class, with tabs that can support fully contained micro apps delivered by third-party systems. The bundling of Skype’s voice and video features is seamless and performs flawlessly, and even integrates into a channel’s conversational flow. The product out of the gate scales 5x in active users per channel past Slack. This really is a new Microsoft: The desktop version of Microsoft Teams uses Electron and Chromium and the product is available at launch on Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android and, of course, Windows Phone.

Cons: The interface is a bit busy; it packs a lot into the messenger frame. Microsoft will likely iterate on this and clean up the interface.

Key strength: Cognitive grouping of messages with extraction of summaries…

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 0
DISQUS: 2