Workplace mobile messaging app Cotap aims to provide a simple platform for colleagues to communicate at work.
Journalist Aaron Bains road tests the app, dubbed ‘WhatsApp for business’.
With co-founders Jim Patterson and Zack Parker both part of the team at Yammer during its early years, they saw the power of applying the concept of social networking to the workplace.
Despite consumer mobile messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Line and Kik boasting more than 900 million users collectively, the co-founders realised there was a major gap for a simple workplace mobile messaging function.
Since its launch in May 2013, more than 8,500 businesses have signed up to Cotap, with particular interest from the retail and hospitality industries.
One large hotel chain has even replaced its walkie-talkie communication with Cotap to share Wi-Fi passwords and to alert colleagues of a VIP guest arrival.
CEO Jim Patterson said: “When you look at tools created to help people communicate at work, there isn’t anything that inspires that kind of adoption and usage.
“Most workplace communications tools are desktop-based – but email lacks urgency and instant messaging requires both parties to be present at the same time.
“Cotap is deliberately simple to use and built for business. It saves organisations time because they get their questions answered faster and it helps to cut down an overflowing email inbox.”
And its simplicity is a selling point.
With no need to swap phone numbers, employees simply download the app and register under their work email address.
When colleagues do the same, they will automatically be added to the company’s contacts list, meaning they can instantly exchange either direct or group messages.
All data shared is protected and Cotap provides administrative tools so companies can manage users and access analytics.
With its easy-nature and rave reviews across the board, there’s only two potential negatives I could find.
But could this tool be a distraction to users while they work?
“We hear this objection from time to time,” said Jim.
“The truth is that people are already texting their colleagues throughout the day and sharing information.
“Cotap just provides a secure channel for them to communicate in a way they’re already used to and love.”
For larger businesses, the thought of quickly messaging a colleague rather than texting or writing a formal email seems more convenient.
Employees are more than likely to be already using WhatsApp, BBM or similar tools in their spare time.
Cotap brings a similar but more secure experience to employees, giving an entire organisation one place to quickly communicate.
Secondly, users can only share text and photos as it stands. In business, surely it’s important to share documents, too?
Jim added: “We’re constantly evaluating new features, making small changes to constantly improve the user experience.
“We’re planning a big launch at the end of the summer, which will include even more enterprise-friendly features such as document sharing.”
Cotap – workplace mobile messaging
Platform: iOS. Android.
Final thought: Cotap is a simple way for employees to quickly and safely communicate. It’s perfect for larger businesses that need to share information instantly and it’s evident that many businesses are already reaping the rewards of Cotap – as shown in the case studies. I would still be wary about the tool proving to be an easy distraction for users, though, while the fact that sharing documents wasn’t an option in its initial launch seems questionable.
Cotap is convenient, extremely user-friendly and has filled a gap in the market for workplace mobile messaging – it might not be long until we’re all using it.