Symphony Blog

What’s Really Going On In That Chat?

Katherine Kilpatrick

The rise of enterprise messaging has been sudden, disruptive and profound. IDC estimates that the global market for enterprise collaboration tools will reach $3.2 billion by 2021. And according to Gartner, by 2022, 70% of teams will rely on collaboration tools as the primary means of communicating, coordinating, and sharing information.

With all this rapid change, we at Symphony wanted to take a step back and understand how both users and IT executives were looking at the implementation, usage and adoption of these tools. To better understand the attitudes of each group, we conducted a survey with 150 executives who are responsible for adopting and deploying team collaboration applications for their companies, and 150 “in the trenches” workers who use collaboration tools frequently at their jobs.


What we found, overwhelmingly, is that the results point to continued success, innovation and adoption within this space. For instance:

Users and executives alike agree that team collaboration apps have made them or their teams more productive and efficient:

  • 88% of executives surveyed think that collaboration tools have made workers more efficient and productive and 81% of users believe the same
  • In addition, 70% of users said that using collaboration tools has made them more successful at their job

Users report that collaboration tools have reduced their use of email and accelerate their response time:

  • Users report spending increasingly similar amounts of time on email and collaboration apps
  • 70% of users report that team collaboration tools reduce the number of emails they send
  • 67% of users respond more quickly on a chat app than via email

Of note, the security of these platforms was one of the main points of disagreement between the executives and end-users we surveyed. As the market continues to grow and collaboration tools become more prevalent, we expect to see CIOs, CSOs and IT executives more critically evaluate which collaboration tool to adopt.

Employees’ attitudes toward security are wildly inconsistent with IT executives’ views on security:

  • 95% of CTOs, CIOs and other IT executives surveyed listed security as extremely important or important for a team collaboration tool and 29% of companies wish their team collaboration platform were more secure
  • Yet 65% of employees were not concerned with the security of their communications at work and 14% of CTO/CIOs and other IT Execs report that their team collaboration app has been hacked at least once

We’re also excited to see how users and IT teams will work together to introduce more integrations and automation into collaboration platforms as the space matures.

Executives want to see more capabilities in their collaboration tools like chatbots and workflow integrations, and plan to invest in these:

  • 33% of companies report the number one thing they wish their collaboration tool did better was integrate with more systems and workflows
  • 65% of executives report they are planning to increase their use of chatbots and 64% are planning on integrating their collaboration tools with other software

Ultimately, the enterprise messaging and collaboration is still young, still growing and still changing. As our CXO, Jonathan Christensen wrote earlier in this blog:

“The team collaboration market is booming and will undoubtedly be one of this years’ most exciting to watch. As more companies realize the value of deploying team collaboration software, a surge of new startups will be inspired and major market events (for instance, Slack’s recent IPO announcement) will become increasingly common. New ground will be broken, with collaboration tools providing greater efficiencies and organization to users, but new threats will emerge, too.”

This survey was conducted in partnership with Research Now. The survey was fielded from March 20 to March 24, 2019, was conducted online and had 1,568 respondents.

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