Chatter is a Small, Powerful Player Competing Against Industry Whales
Updated May 16, 2016

Chatter is a Small, Powerful Player Competing Against Industry Whales

Joseph C. Chang | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Overall Satisfaction with Chatter

Our company, Prudential Financial, Inc. (NYSE: PRU), comprises several different businesses. Several of these businesses (e.g. investment management, retirement, group insurance) have outbound and inbound sales teams that record their client interactions in Salesforce. To facilitate sales, they use Chatter to share information, collaborate on documents, ask questions from subject matter experts, and disseminate career development information (all internal). Roughly half the businesses are using Salesforce and Chatter, but the remainder are using third party platforms like Oracle, Jive, and SharePoint. The main challenges that are being tackled with Chatter include siloism, lack of coordination on major initiatives, lack of communication on cross-department and cross-business initiatives, oversaturation of e-mails and phone calls, and latency in gathering feedback and comments.
  • The Chatter UI is very clean and intuitive. First off, top masthead is clearly branded without being too cluttered. The search form is very easy to find and the left menu has clear nomenclature so finding functionality is not difficult.
  • The Chatter types are very clear - Feed, People, Groups, Files, Topics. These content types are almost always present in the most widely used platforms so even users new to Chatter will not find it difficult to use.
  • In Files, the preview functionality is very useful as it helps users decide whether or not this is the document they need. Also, sharing is very easy via the drop-down arrow, but a sharing icon would have been more intuitive.
  • The Groups functionality is outstanding because it allows for different departments (e.g. marketing, sales, support, research) to collaborate on client-facing work. This is the most prevalent use case and an indispensable business requirement in any platform we select for enterprise deployment. The incorporation of polling and forum (questions) is also conducive to conversation.
  • The private messaging functionality is very useful because it allows for conversations to be contained in a community and not reside in a separate space like e-mail. This functionality is missing from platforms like IBM Connections.
  • Groups does not have the private messaging functionality. Since most collaboration takes place in Groups, private messaging would allow for relevant conversations to be contained and not reside separately.
  • On a Group index page, there are two boxes for Information and Description. These content types seem redundant. You could replace both with a content type called About the Group. There could also be another box listing the Owners for quick reference.
  • On the main index page, the newsfeed has the same look and feel of most social platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Jive, IBM Connections, SharePoint. There could be an alternate display of tiles that shows People you interact with most frequently, Files you access most often, most recent Topics, etc. The display could be something like Delve in Microsoft Office 365.
  • On the main index page in the right rail, it would be useful to have the ability to incorporate RSS feeds to gather outside content. Many departments heavily leverage RSS feeds to compile competitive intelligence and cultivate general awareness.
  • For user profiles, can we combine Feed and Overview into one consolidated view? It would save users a click to find relevant information about the person. Also, the Contact module should also have the person's phone number for convenience.
  • The Files feature does not allow for real-time, concurrent document editing. You have to download the document, make your edits, save, and then upload a new version, which only allows for one editor at a time.
  • Chatter has reduced turnaround time on responding to questions. For example, a question directed at one person could be badly timed (person is away or out of the office) and inappropriately targeted (person is not SME). Posting questions in a Group helps alleviate these blockers.
  • Chatter has helped connect people within the same department who did not know each other previously. Groups have helped to build teamwork and camaraderie through shared tasks and outputs.
  • Chatter has helped to eliminate the nightmare of keeping track of file versions through e-mail. We can now see all versions and know what has changed in one click.
  • Chatter has helped us to share files externally with vendors, outside counsel, and other relevant stakeholders.

Chatter is superior to IBM Connections because it has private messaging, a cleaner UI, and polls. Also, the nomenclature of Chatter is easier to understand than that of IBM Connections, which is too "techy" for the layman.

Chatter is on par with Microsoft Yammer as they are nearly identical in content and functionality.

Chatter is slightly behind Jive and MS SharePoint in terms of functionality. Jive has Spaces and Groups with granular access controls. For example, Jive allows for authentication via SSO and e-mail, password. MS SharePoint exists within the Microsoft Office 365 ecosystem so it can leverage other applications like OneDrive for Business, Office Online, Delve, Sway, etc. MS SharePoint is a big player in a much bigger universe.

Well suited:

  • Project team is assigned to complete a deliverable within a finite time period and need dedicated, private space for information sharing, collaborating on files, and asking questions.
  • Documentation team is assigned to work on a presentation deck using the Files functionality.
  • A poll is needed to decide on whether an idea is actionable; if so, the idea is graduated to a project, which is then formalized in a Group.
  • A question is asked to resolve a customer service issue or other client-facing concern.
  • IT helpdesk to provide real-time support and post content to reduce incoming phone calls.

Less appropriate:

  • Departmental or enterprise portal for employee communications (the look and feel is too informal and needs to be more "institutional")

Chatter Feature Ratings

Task Management
Not Rated
Gantt Charts
Not Rated
Scheduling
Not Rated
Workflow Automation
Not Rated
Mobile Access
7
Search
7
Visual planning tools
Not Rated
Chat
7
Notifications
10
Discussions
10
Surveys
10
Internal knowledgebase
Not Rated
Integrates with GoToMeeting
Not Rated
Integrates with Gmail and Google Hangouts
Not Rated
Integrates with Outlook
Not Rated
Versioning
10
Video files
Not Rated
Audio files
Not Rated
Document collaboration
7
Access control
10
Advanced security features
7
Integrates with Google Drive
Not Rated
Device sync
Not Rated

Using Chatter

1000 - 

Investment management, which is a Top 10 worldwide institutional money manager with over $960 billion in assets under management, more than 1,100 investment professionals, presence in 16 countries, 100+ clients have relationships longer than 20 years, 1,200+ third party clients, 65+ third party clients have over $1 billion invested.

Group Insurance business is the nation's second-largest group life carrier, with almost 11,000 group life, 4,500 long-term disability, and 3,300 short-term disability clients-insuring more than 22 million employees and their families.

  • Retirement servicing nearly 7,800 organizations, $368.9 billion in retirement account values, and over 4 million participants and annuitants.
  • 3 - There is at least one designated individual per business unit, but this is not confirmed. Chatter is being piloted, so it is not officially supported.
    • Marketing team collaborating within a Group to produce client-facing materials.
    • Departmental intranet for messaging from senior leadership, updates from the field, commentary from subject matter experts, and questions from the greater organization.
    • File sharing with external partners like vendors, especially on marketing brochures.
    • Ideation sessions to be submitted to corporate leadership. If accepted, the idea is graduated to a formal initiative.
    • Providing documents to client through external sharing in lieu of e-mail and phone.
    • Knowledge management to educate our workforce on global trends, technology advances, and business performance.
    • Identify subject matter experts to be surfaced in "Expert Locator" that can be leveraged across the enterprise.
    Chatter can fulfill at least 85-90% of our business requirements in an easy-to-use platform. Usability is a key requirement and we have had our share of bad usability experiences. In our experience, even the most novice users were able to pick up Chatter in a relatively short amount of time with little/no assistance.

    Evaluating Chatter and Competitors

    Using Chatter

    ProsCons
    Like to use
    Relatively simple
    Easy to use
    Technical support not required
    Well integrated
    Quick to learn
    Convenient
    Feel confident using
    Familiar
    None
    • Navigating the user interface was very easy. The top masthead, left menu, body, and right rail are positioned in an intuitive manner that is easily comprehensible for most users.