Email’s Fierce Competition-Can It Survive?

Competition Heating Up for Email’s replacement. While a variety of chat applications are available and used for enterprise communications, this is BRIEF comparison of enterprise grade workplace applications addresses four players in the space.

Microsoft Teams
Cisco Spark
Atlassian HipChat+Trello


Slack is the disruptor. A tool that grew out of a startup’s need for a fast and thin tool for communications with team. I believe they are currently the leader in this category as their store of “Bots” and focus around automation and community seem to have the largest adoption. However, Slack isn’t without weakness for enterprise requirements for a on-premise solution that some are more comfortable installing. In addition, even with the Google Drive addition recently, they still are lacking in the integration with ERP and other deeply embedded systems which leads us to the next player who has more experience in this area.


Satya Nadella wasn’t joking when he said the Microsoft was crafting a “Slack Killer”. A little ambitious out of blocks but there’s no question that Microsoft can bring tremendous enterprise integration within the Office 365 ecosystem. Add to equation, the decision-making ease that enterprises have by adding on “Teams” licenses to their suite rather than an entirely different “interface”. However, what happened to “Yammer”? The strength that Slack brings is its singular focus on solving a problem rather than the concern around “playing nice” with other product groups. Microsoft has “Bot” building experience so with the addition of Cortana they might have a winner.


Cisco has been trying to crack this nut for years. They might be getting closer this time around. However, for many they’re still considered a “hardware” company and focused on “networking.” In Spark’s case, that’s exactly the approach they are taking with this product. Isn’t communication and collaboration just about “switching” and “routing”? That’s Cisco’s wheelhouse however in this case they seem to be trying to unify WebEx and their Cisco Unified Communication platforms into a single collaborative space. Not sure the Millennials will embrace this design especially since many shun a “phone” on their corporate desks.


Atlassian? If you work in an enterprise with DevOps or software is eating your enterprise where even the mailroom is pushing code updates, they know Atlassian. Atlassian’s approach provides an entire suite of products geared around building things. Bamboo for code, Jira for tasks, Confluence for projects, and HipChat as the conversational glue among all of them. They have their share of “Bots” and with “on-premise” solution allow for enterprises to customize their installation and workflows around the culture of the business. This is critical. With the recent acquisition of Trello by Atlassian, it seems Atlassian is well position to fight for enterprise culture attention.

There’s a principle in DevOps referred to Conway’s Law which states “organizations which design systems … are constrained to produce designs which are copies of the communication structures of these organizations”.

We have been an email culture for many years and have built devices to fit email’s design. Will enterprise’s drop email and change their culture to embrace one of these tools? Let me know what you think. I hope this helps to start a conversation….on Linkedin (Microsoft)….

twitter: benmorris