Talking tech since 2003

For quite some time now I’ve been interested in the evolution of how we interact and communicate with other people in our daily lives. Technological innovation has greatly increased the speed, accessibility, and ease in which we connect with one another, yet at the same time, the lines between our personal and professional spaces are increasingly blurring.

In our need for faster and more direct communication, we’ve long since replaced email with messaging platforms in the majority of our day to day personal communications. In the professional realm too, email is increasingly giving way to messaging platforms. Nearly 25% of professionals already utilize private messengers like Facebook and WhatsApp for business discussions. I myself, often speak with colleagues, clients, and interviewees over text messaging.

Businesses are jumping on to the personal messaging bandwagon too. Just this week, Facebook is announcing its live chat bot and chat plugins for businesses, at its F8 conference. Soon we will see automated B2C discussion taking place over messaging, with the potential; to replace companies’ dreaded 1-800 numbers.

Workgroup app.
Workgroup app.

However, we are starting to see push back against the use of our private messaging platform for non personal use, and startups are taking advantage of this. Take Slack, the unicorn messaging platform with several million users. The app seeks to replace both email and personal messengers when communicating amongst colleagues at work. Yet, when it comes to communications between professionals at different companies, there is an absence of a dedicated messenger that one London startup is trying to fill – Workgroup.

The idea behind Workgroup is simple, it’s an app that makes “work group” communications easier, fast, and convenient, through messaging. While Slack is great for internal office communications, those wanting to talk business with a group of people outside their company are left with long email chains with endless CCs, or have to use their personal messaging platforms.

Workgroup is geared towards professionals and people dealing with multiple clients, external businesses, and contractors, calling each of these multiparty collaborations “workgroups,” hence the name. The app brings together a host of features into a compact and easy to use UX, including multi platform-functionality, file sharing, and voice conferencing. However, what stands out to me the most is Workgroup’s universality and ease of adoption.

No matter how much you love a new communication tool, if the people you need to talk to haven’t adopted it yet, then the tool is useless. Business people are especially reluctant to switch to an unknown communication platform that their clients haven’t yet implemented. In an effort to get around this hurdle, Workgroup has developed a function whereby users can create a new group chat, or workgroup, and invite their contacts either by email, or by sending them a direct link to the conversation. Inside the workgroup, invitees can see the entire preceding conversation. The app also allows users to move whole email chains to the platform, turning them into a workgroup, with all the participants added, and the contents of the last email message available for context.

Ideally, an app like Workgroup would allow collaborations that once took place over numerous meetings, calls and correspondences to be done instantly via texting. For freelancers, event planners, and those working with multiple client teams, Workgroup may be the communication tool they have been waiting for. The app could allow them to separation their business communication from their personal social platforms. Yet this is reality, and while Workgroup has identified an interesting niche to fill in the lack of a dedicated B2B messenger platform, the app’s success hinges on users willingness to conduct their business over a new and untested medium.


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