Best Internal Communications Software

See more below to select the best Internal Communications software.

What is Internal Communications Software?

Internal communications software, sometimes called business messaging software, provide users with instant messaging platforms that allow for direct and group messaging within an organization. These tools aim to be intuitive and convenient, facilitating quick conversations between team members. Gone are the days of sending sentence-long emails only to receive one-word responses. Business messaging tools make talking to coworkers as easy as chatting with friends on social media or via text. Most internal communications options are fitted with emojis and GIF capability to promote authentic and natural conversation within the workplace.

Key Benefits of Internal Communications Software

  • Offers instant communication capability between team members
  • Allows teams to connect regardless of location
  • Makes messages easily searchable
  • Provides a less formal virtual workspace for team communication
  • Connects an organization horizontally and vertically

Why Use Internal Communications Software?

One would be hard pressed to find a business that isn’t using an internal communications tool in this day and age. They provide a cornucopia of benefits that have made them a mainstay of the modern software stack.

Rapid — "Instant" is pretty fast, and internal communications tools bring instant messaging to a workforce. Teams can communicate with one another quickly, facilitating collaboration between remote employees, across teams, or across offices.

Informal — Email etiquette is notoriously difficult to master and can feel like too formal of an outlet for simple questions. Business messaging tools allow teams to toss out the overly professional decorum and focus solely on the matter at hand.

Mobile — All competitive internal communications products emphasize having a robust, intuitive mobile application to go with their desktop offering. The nature of business today requires people to always be online and available to support their peers. Business messengers are as easy to use on the go as they are at work.

Adoptable — Instant messaging feels natural for most users at this point. Millennials are becoming the bulk of the workforce, and instant messaging is a staple for how this generation communicates. Internal communications tools feel familiar and, subsequently, are adopted easily.

Who Uses Internal Communications Software?

Organizations of all industries and sizes lean on business instant messengers to connect their employees. The software equips users with a quick and streamlined method of communicating with peers for any and all topics, providing a time-effective and notification-heavy alternative to more passive mediums like email or less intrusive in-person meetings. The benefits provided by internal communications software are useful to businesses made up of 3 or 3,000 people. Efficient communication is paramount, whether it be to coordinate shifts in a university’s psychology lab or meetings in a Fortune 500 company.

Kinds of Internal Communications Software

Standalone — Many internal communications software are standalone products with plenty of integrations. Dedicated internal communications tools will also sometimes provide additional features like video conferencing, limited VoIP capability, and employee directories to create a full internal communications hub.

Embedded — Instant messaging can also come as an additional feature in other types of software or larger collaboration suites. Internal communications functionality can often be found in employee intranet software, employee engagement software, or virtual workspaces. Other types of communication software, like video conferencing software, can also provide instant messaging.

Industry-specific — Some internal communications tools are built for specific industries with their unique needs in mind. For example, internal communications tools for manufacturing and field service will often include push-to-talk (PTT) software built in so remote employees have multiple instant communication channels available to them. There are also clinical communication and collaboration platforms and HIPAA compliant messaging software built specifically for health care use cases, which take compliance into consideration. Some popular, generalized internal communications options have also begun to create industry-specific solutions or build compliance into their product so they’re available for specific industries out of the box.

Internal Communications Software Features

Internal communications software share a few basic features across all products. As the space becomes more competitive, however, some vendors have added additional communication and productivity features to help their product stand out among the crowd.

Instant messaging — Instant, direct messaging is the mainstay of internal communications applications. Users can instantly message one another on a 1:1 or group basis. Groups can be made by users and administrators, depending on the administrator’s permissions.

Status updates — Users can leave a status attached to their profile to indicate their availability.

Activity feed — An activity feed is available to update users on new messages sent to them personally or ones in groups they are a part of. The feed will also sometimes present replies to posts made by the user.

Notifications — Business messaging tools will provide notifications when the user has received a direct message or a message has been posted in a group they are a part of. Additionally, users can turn notifications off or set certain permissions for notifications.

Emojis — Business messaging apps will often come loaded with emojis. Some applications will even allow users to create their own.

Search — A search bar allows users to use keywords to look for old messages.

File sharing — One of the main benefits of business messaging is the ability to easily and quickly share files and documents. Users can either send links to documents hosted in the cloud or attach files that are saved on a desktop to the message they’re going to send. Some tools will even integrate with file repositories for streamlined file sharing.

Surveys and polls — Business messengers will often provide simple survey and polling features that allow users to rapidly come to decisions within the app.

Additional Internal Communications Features

Conferencing — There has been increased effort on the part of business messaging vendors to include audio and video conferencing functionality within their products. Users who are able to move between text-based and audio-based communication in-app can resolve problems and answer questions more quickly.

Knowledge base integration — Some knowledge management tools serve as connectors between internal communications apps and knowledge bases. They will attach questions asked to answers then send both to a knowledge base, which can then be searched in a Q&A format.

Automatic translation — Some business messaging applications have the ability to automatically translate messages from one language into another via machine translation software.

Screen sharing — Business messengers with video conferencing capability will often also allow for screen sharing between conference participants.

AI assistants — AI assistants will sometimes be included in business messaging apps to help guide users to behaviors based on the messages they’ve sent. For example, if a user types to another that they need to meet at a certain date or time, an embedded AI assistant can open a prompt for the user to add an event on their calendar.

Potential Issues with Internal Communications Software

Contextual inappropriateness — The convenience of instant messaging in the workplace is more often than not a boon. But as useful as internal communications software is, it is not always the most efficient or appropriate channel for certain situations. Problems can arise when individuals haven’t created clear distinctions for when it is appropriate to use a business messenger over email or another communication channel. While one-line emails could easily be relayed in an instant messenger, long-form messages with potential external participants aren’t going to work on an internal communications platform.

This potential problem can be avoided with the implementation of clear guidelines identifying which communication channels should be used in a given situation. Businesses and organizations should include these guidelines in their onboarding and training process and also make them available in a knowledge base for later reference. Individuals who aren’t using the appropriate channels should be gently reminded to break these habits.

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