Professional communicators: pour yourself a favorite beverage and open your brain. Gartner has just released their 2021 Market Guide for Employee Communications Applications (ECA). This is an in-depth read that you’ll want to spend some dedicated time with — and well worth it for the important decisions that you’ll be making for your employee communication strategy moving into 2022. With employee experience at the forefront of internal communications, you’ll want to be as well-informed as possible when it comes to deploying your own ECA.
Informed reports on information technology are, of course, Gartner’s specialty. 6,600 associates, analysts and consultants advise 10,000 client organizations in over 85 countries through research, executive programs, consulting and conferences. CIOs and senior IT leaders in diverse industries, government, tech and finance depend on Gartner to keep them “in the know” on hardware, software, communications devices and topics.
The Employee Communications Applications (ECA) Report
From overview to definitions to thorough overviews on leading providers in employee communications applications, Gartner’s approach is definitely reflected in their 2021 Market Guide. Knowing the need of corporate communicators, marketing communications pros and HR leaders to inform the workforce on business, culture and company priorities, Gartner establishes their guide as a way for each and all to understand trends, anticipate the continued evolution of this technology — and ultimately to make an investment decision in the right vendor.
The right ECA is the very definition of “right message to the right employee at the right time.” These tools help internal communicators plan, automate, and deliver their messages. Defining types of communication further, the guide breaks these down into organizational communications (internal comms that come top down); and operational communications (the type of midlevel comms that are more functional in nature). Gartner helps to frame these out as “communication journeys”: similar communications, content, media related to a particular business or employee experience goal. These journeys are ways to describe how ECA technology handles workforce segmentation, omnichannel support, personalization and robust analytics for continuous improvement.
In terms of market direction, Gartner relates the common communication needs most ECAs can handle: newsletters, company info, executive POVS, delivered across multiple channels and with basic reporting. Where it gets more interesting is how demand is influencing the future. Many business buyers (you, perhaps) are seeing new value in internal communications, and are looking for solutions — the preference is on one — that can reach the entire workforce. To meet these needs, ECA vendors are going beyond “just communications” to address employee experience goals, with a new focus on campaign features and analytics that can provide transformational value to voice of the employee.
Gartner has developed a comprehensive chart providing an overview of current and future feature sets across ECAs, based on vendor development (or non-development). This covers broad areas such as security and compliance, integration with third party platforms, employee experience and campaign support — but also goes deeper into important sub-categories such as low-code extensibility, learning and development, and notifications and reminders.
In the deployment section, Gartner considers how ECAs are at work based on “average presence” and “light presence”, across professional services, food and agriculture, life insurance, construction, government, utilities, hospitality and more. This can be a helpful index to see how your own company matches up against your industry.
A good percentage of the guide is given over to an A to Z of representative vendors leading the way in employee communications applications. Gartner’s breakdown of each includes topline details on each company and its offering, including package options and pricing guidance. Of particular interest here are both the typical use cases for ideation — and the links to customer case studies for real world application and results.
At the conclusion of the 35-page report Gartner provides some final market recommendations: a handy checklist, of sorts, that communication leaders responsible for digital workplace communications can use as a quick overview when beginning to evaluate the best employee communication platform for their business.
(There are actually 10 additional pages of index beyond that, which include a summary of technical capabilities; market highlights for ’21, including deployment options and pricing models; and market events such as mergers and acquisitions, along with the implications of these activities.)
I Want My ECA Guide!
If this overview has raised your interest to “high” — and if your business is communications, it’s hard to imagine it’s not — you’re in luck. If you’re a Gartner client or considering becoming one, you can request your copy here.
And if you do subscribe to Gartner’s services, it may be worth searching for their Employee Communications Applications Vendor and Product Data Tool. It promises to match your requirements against market vendors to create a shortlist — even an RFP for more information from relevant potential partners.
One Additional Feature of the Market Guide Worth Mentioning
We’re grateful to Gartner for featuring our own ECA, Korbyt Anywhere. This workplace experience platform can be your centralized hub for intelligent content management and broadcast. It’s designed with employee experience in mind, to publish any type of digital content, targeted and personalized to the right person on the device screen that’s going to have the most impact.
If you would like to learn more about our inclusion in this Market Guide and all the benefits employee communication applications provide, contact us today.