Employers are embracing a variety of tools to facilitate remote work, some of them purpose-designed and others that were basically drafted as solutions. That’s been good news for companies that offer communications and collaboration tools, such as Google and Slack.
According to Business Insider, both firms have moved to expand their enterprise presence since the COVID-19 pandemic began disrupting the workplace in the spring..@Google, @SlackHQ seek advantage as enterprises look for streamlined collaboration tools. #HR #HRTech Click To Tweet
Google, which has long coveted the community tools of Facebook and LinkedIn, has rebranded its narrowed-down Google+ for business use as Google Currents. Though BI says the service is targeting enterprise customers, a number of SMBs say they’ve been informed that their G Suite platforms will move to Currents, as well.
And whatever designs Google may have once had on the Facebook-style world of social networks, The Verge reports that Currents “appears to more closely resemble Slack or Microsoft Teams.”
Meanwhile, Slack’s been working closely with Amazon’s AWS to strengthen its videoconferencing capabilities. The company plans to replace its calling tool with Amazon Chime, and has also improved integration with AWS Chatbot.
BI observed that such close ties to AWS can help it keep up with the bigger, more well-funded Microsofts and Googles of the world. For instance, Chime offers Slack a neat way to upgrade its video-calling capabilities, while integration with AWS generally puts Slack in a better position to approach enterprise customers.
Need Grows More Pressing
Even before the pandemic, research showed that remote workers were frequently bothered by loneliness, lack of collaboration and lack of communication. BI cited one survey, from Blue Fountain Media, that said more than half of remote workers found it difficult to maintain healthy work relationships when they’re based outside the office. Since 77%, of HR leaders expect the shift toward remote work to continue even after the pandemic subsides, it’s a safe bet employers will continue to seek out tools that can temper such challenges.
Meanwhile, 54% of the executives surveyed by Forbes Insights said they’re reviewing their collaboration services with an eye toward consolidation. Of those, 74% believe consolidating these platforms would save money, Business Insider said.
That indicates that Google may have to simplify its offering. While Zoom is Zoom and Slack is Slack, the company’s span of communications and conferencing solutions isn’t always tied together: There’s Google Meet for video, Google Voice, Google Messages, Groups for Business and Jamboard to name just some.
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