developer productivity

Workstream Collaboration: What It Is & Why You Need It

What is workstream collaboration?

Workstream collaboration is a new way of working that today’s leading organizations are increasingly adopting to get more done more effectively in less time.

More specifically, we define workstream collaboration as follows:

Workstream collaboration brings messaging, notifications, files, bots, tools and people together to create a private, persistent and searchable digital workspace that teams can use to do their work in a transparent, effective and efficient manner.

Gartner predicts the workstream collaboration market will reach $4.9 billion by 2021; by 2022, 70% of teams will rely primarily on workstream collaboration tools to get their work done every day.

Why you need it

Years ago, employees needed to be sitting in the same room with each other if they wanted to work on a project together. Today, team collaboration can happen from anywhere in the world.

Digital tools have transformed the enterprise workstream communications landscape over the last several decades. In particular, the rise of instant messaging applications has enabled employees to communicate and collaborate with their peers in a streamlined and convenient fashion—and from any location.

Despite these developments, many employees today find that the fragmented and often cumbersome experience of collaborating via email and messaging could be improved.

According to Gartner, workers agree that collaborating over email is a disjointed and frustrating experience. You end up hopping in and out of never-ending threads that are filled with multiple iterations of the same document. It’s a struggle just to add your contributions to the most current version.

At the same time, traditional workplace messaging and business chat applications don’t do a good job ensuring conversations are persistent or making them searchable. This makes it hard to find the files or conversations you need later and difficult to pick up work across multiple devices.

To address the current shortcomings of enterprise communications, new workstream collaboration (WSC) solutions like Mattermost have emerged.

These tools, which facilitate real-time communications, represent the next stage in the evolution of team collaboration software for the digital workplace. More and more leading enterprises are migrating to WSC apps to increase productivity and engagement, accelerate innovation and drive competitive advantage.

The rise of workstream collaboration platforms is attributed to the fact that the tools are:

1. Created for a specific purpose

Neither email nor primitive business chat apps were designed to support important workflows. Employees were simply given tools and told to use them to get their work done.

Workstream collaboration apps, on the other hand, were purposefully built to enable teams to get more done in less time by putting their conversations to work.

These platforms integrate with the apps and content high-performing teams need to do great work and they also support automation and DevOps and ChatOps workflows.

2. Engineered to support nonroutine work

Teams are increasingly faced with nonroutine work. For example, a software update might inadvertently knock systems offline, forcing teams to congregate in digital “war rooms” to quickly fix what’s wrong then disperse once the problem is resolved.

Since nonroutine work is often unplanned, team members need to talk to each other to figure out the path forward when issues emerge. They don’t have the luxury of following procedures that are already spelled out.

WSC tools are engineered to support a transparent, conversation-centric approach to work, making them ideal for nonroutine work.

3. Built for the user experience

Everyone knows how easy group messaging should be thanks to smartphones. Unfortunately, many older enterprise messaging tools (e.g., unified communications solutions) are quite cumbersome and don’t provide the experiences and features today’s users expect.

Workstream collaboration platforms are built to support the way we communicate today. Conversations, tools, people and files are accessible via laptops, mobile and web, from any location.

4. Designed for the modern workplace

Technology has already transformed the way we work. Workstream collaboration represents the next step in this evolution.

Not only do these team collaboration platforms support modern workflows, they’re also designed to engage today’s workers and give them the tools they need to do their best work.

More than half of younger workers think technology will make face-to-face meetings unnecessary within the next few years, and leading enterprises are catering to this preference in order to attract and engage top talent and stay ahead of the curve.

How Mattermost improves team collaboration and productivity

How might a WSC app improve the life of an average employee?

Let’s take a look at how a healthcare user might use Mattermost to improve team collaboration and get more done in less time:

1. Fewer meetings

The average employee spends a whopping 62 hours in meetings each month.

Instead of having daily or weekly meetings in person, you can use Mattermost to facilitate meetings virtually. To make meetings even more efficient, coordinate agendas and get your thoughts together ahead of time.

2. Quick questions

Instead of walking to a colleague’s desk or wandering around the office trying to find them, you can use Mattermost to ask questions in real time.

That way, you are able to find the answers you need quickly and return to the task at hand.

3. Video calling

Sometimes questions can be asked via a quick message. Other times, longer, more nuanced discussions are required.

Thanks to Mattermost’s Zoom plugin, you can launch voice and video calls directly from the app’s interface. You can also screen share to make meetings even more productive.

4. Project management

Create channels for each specific project you’re working on.

For any particular project, all relevant files, discussions and people can be found in one place, enabling work to move forward faster.

5. Automation

To streamline workflows and reduce clutter, you can connect Mattermost to any number of third-party apps.

For example, whenever an issue is created, updated or deleted in Jira, notifications can automatically be sent to a predetermined Mattermost channel. No one has to bounce around from platform to platform to stay on top of their work.

Mattermost for workstream collaboration

As the leading open source workstream collaboration solution, Mattermost is a completely customizable enterprise messaging workplace that enables teams to adapt and thrive.

Companies that use Mattermost can extend the platform to meet their exact specifications, bringing the bots, tools and files their teams need together in one place to support a number of mission-critical workflows.

To give you an idea of how you can use Mattermost, take a look at these 27 use cases, which include social coding, war rooms, ChatOps, business monitoring and more.

To learn why today’s leading organizations are increasingly adopting Mattermost for workstream collaboration, check out these case studies:

(Editor’s noteThis post was written by Ian Tien, CEO and co-founder of Mattermost, Inc. If you have any feedback or questions about Workstream Collaboration: What It Is & Why You Need It, please let us know.)


Ian Tien is CEO and co-founder of Mattermost, Inc., an open source platform for secure collaboration across the entire software development lifecycle. Hundreds of thousands of developers around the globe trust Mattermost to increase their productivity by bringing together team communication, task and project management, and workflow orchestration into a unified platform for agile software development.