Instant Messaging is instantly better | Blog

Instant Messaging is instantly better

Email in the bin illustration

So, you know the story, because I'm sure that you have some of the same issues: at VerseOne, we realised that we were sending large amounts of bulky and, sometimes, unnecessary internal emails.

The sheer volume of emails not only meant that our people were spending too much time sorting through them, but also that important communications were sometimes missed. So, we decided to change this by writing our own instant chat application, using the very latest technologies.

Over the last year, Vocoll Team Fusion has changed the way that we communicate—for the better.

Impressive stats

The headline stats don't lie: in just ten weeks, around 30 VerseOne employees sent over 32,000 messages. This has steadily ramped up as people have got more comfortable with the application, so that our current average is over 4,000 messages a week. In the 18 months or so, our staff have sent nearly 200,000 Team Fusion messages—and most have now  switched away from email as their default internal comms tool.

Not only that, but people have uploaded over 100MB of images and documents too. And, of course, they've shared a load of Spotify and YouTube videos (which can be watched inline) but we like to think they're all educational...

And me? Well, personally, the number of emails that I receive every day dropped from over 150 to less than ten (your mileage may vary).

Private Groups really work

The vast majority of those 200,000+ messages would previously have been sent by email—and many of those would have been directed at people who didn't need to be copied into the conversation. 

With Private Groups, however, we have been able to add relevant people into conversations about projects; if, however, someone has felt that they didn't need to be included, Chat gives them the power to leave the conversation (previously, they would have to send an email asking not to be included in future emails—crazy!)

This targeted approach, combined with the quicker response times that Chat tends to encourage, we meant that communication within VerseOne has become more effective. Fewer people miss important messages—and there's a good deal less shouting across the office!

Issues

Of course, there have been a few challenges. The first is quite simple—that people expect instant chat to get an instant response. As such, we have set expectations internally that a response may not be forthcoming for an hour or so. After that time, the app will send an email (I know, I know, but old habits die-hard) just in case they haven't switched on the desktop notifications.

The second has been that people are used to searching their emails for particular content. However, we have provided a Universal Search within the application which has given people confidence that they can find the information that they require within conversations.

The final issue, prosaically, is that people are still wedded to email—it's a 25-year-old technology, and people are used to it. However, VerseOners, and even some of our customers, are embracing Team Fusion and I, for one, cannot wait until we switch off internal email.

The Future…

We have been pursuing an aggressive weekly release cycle, so that we can incorporate our staff's feedback into the product. We are now sitting back and contemplating some bigger ideas—including how we can eliminate external email for good.

We love Team Fusion and we hope you’ve been inspired to try it out for yourself...