HipChat: Business-Oriented Group Chat

Having an instant messaging tool available to your organization makes sense: it allows your team to move information quickly, getting responses to questions that would otherwise require a phone call or waiting on a response to an email.

There are plenty of chat tools out there, but using one that is purely meant for internal business communication has its benefits — at the very least, your team won’t be distracted by friends and family on one of the broader networks. HipChat is a group chat tool built specifically with companies and project-oriented teams in mind.

More Than IM

If HipChat were just a simple instant messaging client, it might not be that useful, but it also includes video and voice chat. Robert Dippell, who uses HipChat at Praetorian Group, says, “We have used generic chat services in the past that really only allowed us to send messages back and fourth to supplement longer emails or a phone call. HipChat doesn’t supplement those mediums, it streamlines our communication and in many cases even replaces the desire to send a long email chain or hold a conference call when the same goal can be accomplished and archived using the service.”

HipChat integrates a variety of other features beyond voice and video chat: records of past chats, file transfers and even an API to allow automatic notifications of what your team is doing. Dippell notes, “We use the service often to not only share but archive different files such as images, PDFs, word files, spreadsheets and miscellaneous links. By posting any of that content within a personal chat or room the content is stored there to refer back to down the road. It’s easy to see the progression of a project when you look through the archive and can open past files to review progress…We’ve encouraged our different departments to open and participate in rooms specific to their duties. For example, our production team gets a lot of questions from account managers and sales about inventory availability and scheduling. Rather than send an email to multiple people they can simply pop into the Production room and ask their question directly to the team members available to help them.”

Getting the Most Out of HipChat

Dru Nelson uses HipChat in his work at Brightroll. The engineering team there relies on the IM tool to keep everyone in sync. Nelson is careful to point out that the usefulness of a chat tool and HipChat in particular depends on an organization’s workflow and whether you some time is invested into using it effectively: “We tried introducing it to other groups, but it didn’t make sense for their workflow. One easy thing for companies to learn now is how to properly use online chat rooms within teams. There are many articles online talking about the benefits. Regardless of your organization size, the sooner you learn how to use these tools, the better.”

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