Choosing an employee app product: LiveTiles Reach or Staffbase?
Over the past three years, the internal communications app market has expanded significantly – there is now considerable choice for internal communication teams hoping to deploy mobile apps that can help support digital communications, engagement and efficiency. This is especially encouraging in that it has helped reduce the “digital divide” that previously existed between knowledge workers who sit at desks and the frontline staff who don’t. At last, frontline staff can be brought completely into the digital workplace and digital communications landscape, a situation that has been particularly important during the pandemic when all staff need to be fully connected.
The depth of choice around employee apps leaves digital communications and IT teams with decisions to make – how do you decide which product is best for your workforce? In this article, we’re going to explore some of the questions to consider when thinking about this and, as an example, illustrate the differences between LiveTiles Reach and Staffbase.
A maturing market
Internal communication and employee engagement apps are a topic that we have explored on this blog before, for example, we’ve looked at the must-have features of an internal communications app or mobile intranet such as strong news delivery, access to an employee directory and appropriate digital workplace integrations. More recently, we explored different ways an app can transform your business, from enabling digital transformation for all staff, to supporting business continuity, to driving innovation.
We believe the competition in the app market is breeding better products with a wider depth of features, as well as a growing number of viable options. Clearbox Consulting publishes arguably the definitive guide to employee apps with reviews of the key players, and will be adding “many more” workforce apps to the next edition of their report.
The maturity in the market, alongside the range of different offerings, means there is an emerging differentiation in the type of benefits different apps deliver, as well as the organisations and relative scenarios they are a good fit for.
Which employee app is right for my organisation?
There are a number of factors that will influence which employee app an organisation will deploy, including:
- Range of features
- Costs – both implementation project budget and ongoing costs
- Existing digital workplace and digital communication channels
- Required speed of implementation
- Branding considerations
- Workforce demographics
- Devices in use
- And more.
Depending on companies’ needs and priorities, different products are going to tick the boxes for some organisations and not for others.
What questions should I think about?
When considering if an app is right for you, here are some of the initial questions which are worth thinking about:
- What am I trying to achieve with my employee app, and how does it fit into my digital communication strategy and digital workplace roadmap?
- How are different groups of employees going to use the app on a day-to-day basis?
- What is the relationship between the employee app and other digital channels and apps in use, like our SharePoint intranet or Microsoft Teams?
- Will we have to duplicate content across our SharePoint intranet and the app or are the two well integrated?
- What are the essential features and the ‘nice-to-have’ features on the app?
- Are employees going to access the app on personal devices as well as corporate ones?
- Does the app satisfy technical, security and legal standards and commitments?
- What are the costs of the app’s roll-out and the subsequent ongoing costs to effectively manage it?
- Can disconnected employees without digital identities and / or Microsoft 365 licenses access the app?
- When do we need to deploy the app and how easy is it to roll out?
- Are there any other dependencies that need to be in place to launch the app?
- Does the vendor tick the right boxes and what does their support look like both at the beginning and on a long-term basis?
- Are all our internal stakeholders going to be on board with this app?
- What about other considerations like branding, the quality of user experience and how employees actually download it?
Comparing products: Staffbase vs LiveTiles Reach
Both the kind of things you need to consider and the market differentiation of products is well illustrated by comparing the relative strengths of two internal communication mobile apps – Staffbase and LiveTiles Reach.
Staffbase is perhaps the best known product of the two thanks to its strong marketing but both Reach and Staffbase are mature products in the space with many large global clients (as well as lesser-known ones). Reach is now part of the LiveTiles suite of digital workplace products and so can be extended if required. Staffbase is a one-product company.
In our view, both are strong products that serve slightly different market needs, with Staffbase being a significant investment (in time and money) to become the base for your digital communications, and LiveTiles Reach being a more turnkey alternative that fits in with your existing digital workplace while still delivering world-class digital communications and engagement.
Let’s look at some of the similarities and differences based on areas we’ve already mentioned.
|Market position||Strong app offered by established digital workplace tech provider||Market-leading employee app with a strong reputation|
|Features||Feature-rich with emphasis on internal communications and engagement and social interaction||Feature-rich with emphasis on internal communications, engagement and social interaction|
|Costs||Generally lower costs, both initial and ongoing||Generally higher costs, both initial and ongoing|
|Ease of implementation||Quick and straightforward – can be implemented in days. Because of this it’s easy to set up a proof-of-concept too.||Needs more planning and involvement|
|Existing digital channels||LiveTiles Reach is designed to complement and integrate with your existing digital channels, not replace them. It can also work as a standalone channel.||Although there is flexibility to be just an app, Staffbase is designed and priced to be your primary digital communication channel and employee experience provider, with both intranet and app capabilities|
|Microsoft 365 integration||Excellent integration with Microsoft 365 and Azure AD||Integrations across a library of connectors|
|Workplace demographic||Great for frontline employees, including those without M365 licenses or digital identities. Very strong on organisations that are merging and looking for a tool to bridge two businesses||Great for frontline employees, including those without M365 licenses or digital identities|
|User interface||Good UI that end-users and authors will pick up quickly||Good UI that end-users and authors will pick up quickly|
|Branding||Simple branding options||Advanced custom branding options|
|Supplier||Well-established provider with strong reputation and global reach||Well-established provider with strong reputation and global reach|
Don’t know what app is right for you? Visit our Reach page and get in touch!
An employee app is a powerful communication vehicle which is absolutely essential for frontline communications, but it’s important to invest in the right product to meet your needs.
For example, both LiveTiles Reach and Staffbase have their strengths, yet differ in their appeal. If you want an app that is highly effective, but also reasonably priced and extends the power of your Microsoft 365 digital workplace, without the need for your frontline staff needing an Office 365 license, then LiveTiles Reach is a great choice. If you have a bigger budget and are looking for something to replace your intranet and become the centre of your digital workplace, then Staffbase might work for you.
If you’d like to discuss which app is right for you, visit our LiveTiles Reach page and request a demo. If you like what you see we can also arrange a trial or proof-of-concept.