A recent study conducted by Spiceworks revealed perceptions of business communication and collaboration solutions among IT experts. Spiceworks surveyed 448 respondents from a variety of industries ranging from nonprofits to government agencies. The survey included IT professionals from both large and small businesses. The results revealed that the most commonly used communication solutions include email, Skype for Business, Google Hangouts, Slack, Microsoft Teams, Atlassian HipChat, and Workplace by Facebook. Spiceworks conducted the study in December and used its findings to forecast a period of slow growth for Slack and Hangouts in comparison to Microsoft's Teams solution.
The company found that email still holds dominance over every other collaboration solution. Perceptions about other communication channels reveal that security of chat tools is still deemed not good enough compared to email. There also seems to be a preference for email in general, with only 25% of respondents agreeing that chat-based solutions will replace email in the next three to five years, despite the perception that email is both more difficult and expensive to maintain. These perceptions provide insight into areas where non-email solutions need to improve. However, Spiceworks expects other solutions will continue to grow, eating away at the lead email currently enjoys. The study also reveals a widespread belief that Skype for Business leads in security, reliability, and manageability. Slack comes out on top in innovation, user-friendliness, and platform compatibility. Meanwhile, Hangouts has a lead in cost-effectiveness.
Planned adoption of all available solutions shows that Microsoft Teams is expected to see 17% growth over the next two years. Google Hangouts is only expected to grow by 3% with Google beginning to wind down support for the application. Slack boasts an expected growth of 4% during the same period. Microsoft Teams is not yet available to the general public, but a large number of professionals expecting to adopt the solution puts Teams at 1% higher usage than Hangouts within two years. Skype for Business still shows a commanding lead among those surveyed over the next two years as it's currently at 36% with an expected gain of 11%. Facebook's Workplace and Atlassian's HipChat show little chance of seeing any substantial growth. It remains to be seen whether the results of this survey are indicative of what will happen in the often unpredictable world of IT.