Whatsapp and other messaging apps are increasingly part of the shadow IT in enterprises, and are often used by employees for business purposes. The biggest advantage of these messaging apps is that they are faster and more efficient than email. They also lead to improved team communication and higher productivity. On the other hand, when used in businesses, these consumer messaging apps have significant weaknesses with regard to data protection, security, administration and support.
What are the pros and cons of using Whatsapp for Enterprises?
Internal team communication Almost everybody uses Whatsapp, so it’s easy for the employees. You can form groups and share instant messages for which emails are not necessary. With WhatsApp Web, it becomes even easier to type messages using a web browser.
Customer communication If you do your follow-up on WhatsApp instead of direct phone calls, you will get 40% more response. No one appreciates phone calls from unknown numbers and we are always more likely to respond to personal messages. It also gives an opportunity to be more informal. More and more small businesses use Whatsapp to announce new offers or send wishes to their customers. One can also use WhatsApp’s calling feature to talk with international customers.
Using Whatsapp for Marketing and Promotion You can send Whatsapp to send images, audio files, short video clips of your products and text messages to users across the world. Unlike SMS or emails, there are less restrictions and delivery chances are higher. Ideally, use WhatsApp to connect with existing loyal customers rather than trying to reach new users.
WhatsApp is a cloud service based in the USA Cloud services based in the USA cannot ensure comprehensive data protection required by businesses and their employees and customers. This is especially relevant for European companies, who need to comply with European law and seek strong data protection for their enterprise and customers.
WhatsApp mixes private and business communication For enterprises it is important to separate business from private communication. First, a dedicated enterprise messaging app allows faster access and gives a better overview of everything that is relevant for the internal communication, and thus increases the productivity. Second, confidential business content is protected in enterprise messaging apps, because it can only be shared with colleagues and the content distribution is under the control of the enterprise. Finally, the motivation and satisfaction of employees are improved with a professional messaging tool, since people value a separation of private and business communication.
WhatsApp lacks enterprise administration Businesses need to be able to professionally manage their users. An administrator portal helps to ensure an easy roll-out, transparent monitoring, company-wide communication policies, etc. These things are not possible with Whatsapp and require a professional enterprise messaging app.
WhatsApp does not protect against data loss Leading business messaging apps support enterprise mobility management solutions and provide advanced mobile application management. These features allow to remotely delete content, block access, disable copying of messages and control the sharing of digital content.
Whatsapp does not support enterprise file sharing solutions Employees should be able to directly share documents from their file sharing solution via the enterprise messaging app. This helps to simplify and accelerate workflows. WhatsApp does not allow this.
The biggest challenge for Whatsapp for Enterprises are the privacy concerns for business users. Whatsapp cannot guarantee that conversations or files exchanged are confidential. Also, chats in Whatsapp are not erased, they are archived in the database of the app. Security features can be put in place, but don’t leave security to chance!