A first look at mapping chat messaging apps


I have been looking into Wardley maps for a surprisingly long time to be sharing my first industry map! I have worked in the messaging space for some time and now work for a company that develops a chat product. In this map I have focused on the DevOps/SecOps user and their user journey with chat messaging apps.

Chat apps are verging on commodity where they are just expected in an organisation. However it is still a maturing market as we have not reached a level of saturation or where all organisations, or all parts of organisations are commonly using the tools. Currently most vendors are in a feature war, trying to rapidly release the features to capture or retain customers. This means that we are still predominantly in the product phase of evolution. The growth of consumption of these products and services is still growing.

There is some debate around what is essential to the DevOps use case but I would suggest chat, data and apps cover the required components. The data one is stretching the point as I would say search is required, but the analytics and insights are areas to add increasing value over time. The others user needs I kept separate to simplify the scope of the map.

As expected the areas that are more custom are around apps/plugins which require development to integrate with 3rd party apps. This could be a key area of competitive advantage and differentiation. Better integrations developed with the user needs of a DevOps/DevSecOps in mind could be a reason to outperform another tool that is more focused on a Office worker use case; and vice versa. For this reason I would keep development of strategic plugins/apps in-house and not outsource without close project management, so that they are designed and developed for your core audience.

Workplace Insights is an interesting topic. Having used one product before I could see some value in it improving my focus time, reducing multi-tasking in meetings for example; but what potential is there to find greater insights from the content stored in the your chat platform? Is it possible to intelligently make links between the pull request you made earlier in the day to a failed build later in the day? What about pointing towards interesting conversations rather than you having to follow certain channels? An area for exploration and one I would focus on going forward.

I’d be really interested in getting some feedback on the map and some of the conclusions above.



P.S. I really enjoyed the course by the way.

I couldn’t agree more with this analysis!

In theory, it is also possible that a meta framework will emerge, and you will write plugins once for all the platforms.

It is interesting, but I’d say it is also unexplored. It may or may not have value. Books such as Deep Work hint that productivity comes from work organisation and uninterruptible time slots, where you should be off chat.

Thanks for your responses Chris. I really like the thoughts around a ‘meta-framework’ for plugins. Currently I don’t know about the viability of this as the plugins/apps would need to integrate with different chat services all in slightly different ways. I guess the code that relates to the target 3rd party service could be re-used. There is a service called m.io which is the ‘meta-service’ for interoperability between chat services, so there are people working at least on connecting services.
With regards to Workplace Insights, funnily enough some of the insights can be used to improve your ‘flow’ and actually reduce your time in the chat service to improve your overall productivity.

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