Teams come in all sizes and these days from all parts of the world. Geography is no longer a limitation with messaging tools that can connect you with anyone in the world. The right communication tools can skyrocket your team’s productivity, as ability to easily share information and ideas with all your stakeholders is key to driving productivity.
Communication tools come with many bells and whistles but many features are common including chats, emails, video conferences, phone calls and shared cloud documents. This blog discusses 5 of the top-rated communication tools which can skyrocket your team’s productivity.
Spike focuses on the idea of conversational email. Repeating headers, signatures, and threads make email hard to read. Spike claims to clear the clutter and transform the email to a real time chat that’s easy to read.
Spike’s intelligent priority inbox removes distractions by making important messages visible first, while low priority messages are removed to the side for later.
Shared notes and team chats keeps the team on track and informed and keeps the conversation moving. Team members can get up to speed in a glance and access all files ever shared with ease.
Spike offers a range of monthly subscriptions starting from a free personal account to $6 per month per account for businesses.
Clariti is a tool that helps small businesses and startups be more productive in the way they work. Clariti supports email, chats, phone calls, shared documents and to-dos in a single app. As you work in Clariti, it automatically and naturally organizes all related conversations in topic-based threads. This doesn’t require any extra effort from the user. Threads preserve context so you spend less time searching and more time doing.
To provide a simple example of how a thread is formed, imagine you receive an email that you would like to discuss with your colleague. Normally you would have to forward the email through your email client and then chat with your colleague using a chat app. There is no connection between the two apps and when the discussion is over, the information though related, is stored in two information silos, email and chat. In Clariti you can start a chat from the email. Your colleague will see the same email you do and your chat will be right next to it. When the discussion is over the email and chat will be automatically stored in a thread. You can even name the thread. Now there are no silos, no need to search and you can see all the information related to a topic in one glance. Threads can contain all the communication methods supported in Clariti including documents and to-dos.
Clariti is a freemium product. The base version is free while a premium version with additional features is available for $6 per user per month subscription.
Seeing the success of Slack, Microsoft released its own team messaging tool – Teams. Teams includes features for teams to chat, video conference, call and collaborate using the Microsoft Office 365 tools.
Screen sharing, file sharing, custom backgrounds and integrations with multiple third-party apps provides additional benefits from using Teams. Integrations include productivity apps for workflow automation, project management and industry-specific needs.
With its experience in supporting large enterprises Teams includes powerful privacy and security features to meet regulatory, legal and organizational needs with industry-leading compliance. At last count over 700 integrations were available.
Teams offers a range of subscriptions starting from Free with no commitment to $20 user/month with an annual commitment. Each subscription type includes various features which increase in breadth along with the cost.
Twist focuses on providing a distraction-free space where teams can balance focused work with collaborative conversations. Twist eliminates team’s need to spread discussions across email and chat apps by keeping information organized and transparent in Twist.
Team discussions can be structured in topic-specific channels. However, where Twist is different than other channel-type chat apps is that it provides the ability to create side-bar conversations in group channels. These conversations are called Threads. While everyone in the channel can read the thread contents, only the team members invited to participate in the thread can respond. Twist claims that by maintaining these threads, invited team members can respond at leisure with thoughtful responses, instead of trying to keep up with the frenetic pace of group channel communications. This is the antidote to Slack where the information overload in channels can get overwhelming.
Twist is available for free with limits on access to comments & messages going back up to a month. With a $5 per user per month subscription, unlimited access is available for a full history of comments and messages.
Like other chat tools mentioned in this blog, Flowdock provides real-time chat for teams. Flows are the heart of Flowdock, they are open spaces for teams to converse and collaborate. Since the parent of Flowdock is CA Technologies an enterprise computer software technology provider, Flowdock’s focus is on software development companies. The key differentiator in Flowdock is the integrations of third-party apps. Integrations are available for Project Management, Software Version Control, Customer Support, and Software Deployment Monitoring among other applications commonly used by software development companies.
Flowdock is available for a subscription fee of $3 per user per month and an enterprise version with more bells and whistles is available for $9 per user per month. A 30-day trial license is also available for no cost.
In this pandemic with teams work from many different locations and time zones, use of these communication tools has become essential. Using the right tool can help teams collaborate naturally, preserve the history of their discussions and maintain a better work-life balance. Since most of the tools are free or very reasonably priced there is no reason to wait. Open your browser and connect today!
Previously published here.