The rise of the messaging app has been faster and greater than everyone’s expectations. Six out of the top 10 mobile apps are now messaging apps, and messaging dominates all other apps in terms of sessions, according to the Kleiner Perkins’ 2015 Internet Report. And it doesn’t end there. Major free chatting software is turning into something even bigger — showing up as portals, platforms, and even operating systems.

This is because the potential for messaging as a platform is virtually unlimited. Users will be able to order taxis, get movie tickets, search for a book at a local library, donate to charity, follow celebrity news, check into flights, access bank statements, and make appointments with doctors, all within the messaging app itself. This transformation of the messaging app into a platform is already in full swing with WeChat in China and Line in Japan, and others are following suit.

In the enterprise messaging space, instant messaging for business enterprises like our Flock software or Slack offer more than basic workforce communication. As a platform upon which others can build applications that send and receive messages, internal chat options for enterprises will serve an even more significant function for both users and developers.

Why users should get excited

The biggest benefit for users is that they can use just one app for multiple purposes. Users will not have to switch between apps or deal with multiple interfaces. The convenience — the immense amount of time saved and the freedom from having to download an app for every single task at hand — is unparalleled.

When it comes to chat for businesses, the use cases are numerous. Internal chat options for business enterprises like our Flock app or HipChat let you do so much more than “just message” within groups. A poll bot lets you take instant polls among team members. A reminder bot enables a team leader to send reminder messages to all team members about an upcoming deadline. Team members can simply drag and drop files (both documents and images) to share with their teams. Code snippets can be downloaded, edited, forwarded, and reused within the app itself. Webhooks (e.g., event notification) and app integrations allow you to get all important notifications sent directly to your app.

Moreover, with messaging becoming a platform, users will be exposed to customised features that are specific to their business communication and collaboration needs. And since users belonging to distinct functions have dissimilar needs, the messaging platform will make sure that they are provided for with tailored features, apps, or bots.

Why developers are going to be thrilled

The movement of messaging to platforms signifies that a messaging platform is not a product but a symbiotic ecosystem. So what’s the distinction that defines a messaging system as a platform? Let’s consider the example of instant messaging for business enterprises that offers collaboration and communication within enterprises of all sizes. As an app, it might offer a great set of features, which, while awesome, is just not enough. However, as a platform, the free chatting software may choose to provide plug-ins for just about every developer tool on the market. These plug-ins allow developers to create their own best-of-breed apps and bots  – something greater than any of the component parts.

By choosing to open API platforms, enterprise messaging apps are offering developers customization, quicker time to market, frictionless deployment, and — most importantly — a symbiotic ecosystem that grows with the platform itself. Plus, businesses looking to develop apps and chatbots have the option of using A.I. or human intelligence, (since the interface to the messaging backend is just messages).

With free messaging service for business enterprises, developers have a wide playing field in terms of developing apps. Integrations can include ecommerce, customer service, B2B services, and even fun apps that build team spirit. Most importantly, developers need to create cool functionalities that end users want. The potential in the enterprise communication space will emerge as messaging morphs from being solely a work-chat and collaboration tool to becoming a new type of business process management platform.

An essential building block of future messaging

Top messaging apps the world over are investing heavily in the developer community and in startups, with the intent to build viable messaging ecosystems that will create greater usability. For business communication tools, the success of the app will attract developers and B2Bs wanting to differentiate themselves by providing integrations on the messaging platform. Also, the free messaging service for business enterprises will have the responsibility of making sure that businesses and enterprise teams can find the many great integrations and make the best use of them. The ultimate goal of the messaging platform will be to provide a host of rich experiences that end users can rely on as the messaging platform become the central hub for their workflows.

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