Slack has got quite a buzz. With 8 million daily users and more than $5 billion valuation, it might be the most popular team communication platform by spring 2018.
However, Slack has gained a lot of competitors through the years (Stride, Microsoft Teams, Glip, to name a few) that offer highly competitive features and packages. And since Slack’s price tag is quite high many tools deliver more affordable solutions. So, who breathes down Slack’s neck? Let’s find out.
Let us start with Chanty – an AI-powered team chat as it’s a tool our team is passionately building. If you are looking for a clean interface, friendly UX and unlimited message history you should definitely give it a try.
Similar to Slack, chats are organized into public, private and one-to-one conversations. We’ve made sure all files and links that your team shares are neatly in order and are easy to find.
Recently, we’ve shipped a built-in task manager that is as easy as ABC. You can turn any message into task; assign them to team members; get notified when they are done or manage your own to-do lists.
After analyzing competitors, we’ve realized that team chats aren’t really making communication easier bringing a great deal of information overload. This is when we came up with AI key takeaways. Soon you’ll be able to avoid overcommunication by keeping everyone in the loop with what’s important.
Actually, a whole bunch of features will be soon added to Chanty, as it’s currently in beta. E.g. integrations and video calls are just around the corner. Nevertheless, you can already enjoy fast and easy communication in Chanty on different platforms (Mac, iOS, Android, Windows and web).
Here’s what our early adopters have to say about Chanty:
We are looking forward to seeing you among our early adopters and receiving your feedback.
Flock is an Indian platform that appeared a year after Slack. Since 2014, it argues to have witnessed a growth rate of over 200%.
Last year Forbes claimed that Flock is “richer in features”, when comparing to Slack, while also having “deep integrations.” “The broad multiple languages support goes in its favor,” as stated by the Forbes contributor. However, our review in 2017, we noticed that Flock’s interface seems overloaded, less convenient and friendly. We also found out that Slack has wider options when it comes to notification settings and easier file sharing.
While comparing free plans of Slack and Flock, the latter lets 8 users participate in a video conference (compared with only two users in Slack). Besides, Flock has unlimited integrations with apps – although it has far less of them than Slack. Flock’s paid plan starts with $3 a month while Slack’s Standard plan is more than twice expensive.
Stride is the new old team communication platform on this list. Launched in beta in September 2017, by Atlassian, it became generally available since March 2018.
Stride has a predecessor – HipChat, a service for instant messaging acquired by Atlassian in 2012. What’s interesting is that HipChat appeared earlier than Slack, having launched in 2010. However, it posed itself as just a communication tool, while Slack has strived to become the command center for entire organizations. Now Stride is stepping up the game, started by HipChat.
Stride pitches itself as a real-time communication platform for text, audio and video chats. It claims to have better (than HipChat) messaging tools, natively integrated video and phone conferencing, and a light version of workflow management intended to make message threads more actionable. However, in our Chanty’s team review on team communication tools we mentioned that Stride has some features to be polished. E.g. images are too small in preview, there’s also no preview for links. Stride’s most affordable paid plan costs $3 a month, providing unlimited file sharing and message history among some other features.
The main feature Ryver boasts is having a Trello-like native task manager. It suggests turning any messages into trackable tasks at the push of a button. Also, Ryver claims their tool being more agile, while Slack’s free version is too restrictive. Among its considerable pros – a built-in integration with FreeConference app, up to 400 people.
However, when testing Ryver, our team faced some possible disadvantages. The main one might be the integrations issue. Ryver integrates via Zapier which requires Zapier paid account if you use integrations heavily. Also, Ryver seems to have quite stuffed interface, no notifications for specific keywords or @mentions, and a search with no file or date-specific options.
Ryver has recently changed its pricing from free to $99 for teams of seven and more regardless of using tasks, which frustrated some users.
Here’s another team messaging tool with a built-in task manager. Within Glip you can create to-do lists right in Tasks menu or turn any message into an Assignment. Each task must be posted in a conversation. Glip’s free version offers some reasonable advantages. It has unlimited message history (as compared to 10K messages limit by Slack or Flock), 500 minutes of shared video chat with up to 100 people, unlimited file storage and integrations.
However, Glip might seem rather messy with lots of information stuffed in the app interface. Also, as our Chanty team noted in Glip vs. Slack review, the search feature in Glip might need some improvement.
Glip’s Pro Plan is $5 per user, per month. It gives you 1,000 minutes video chat a month among some other advantages.
6. Facebook Workplace
Unveiled in the fall of 2016, Workplace is very much alike regular Facebook. Users can make posts, view updates, discuss projects in groups or watch live video broadcasts. The tool supports screen sharing, file sharing, reactions, mentions and GIFs. What’s also important – Workplace accounts are separate from user’s personal ones and vice versa.
At the same time, Workplace is a closed, private universe – it belongs to your business only. So when collaborating with people outside your company, you might have to use some other tool. Also, considering the recent Facebook privacy scandal, the issue about data protection naturally arises. Facebook assures Workplace relies on industry-leading security tools and that its hosting practices are audited by independent third parties.
Workplace is free for non-profits. Premium would cost $3 USD per active user, per month.
Fleep is a messaging service founded by Skype’s ex-Product Manager Henn Ruukel.
He regretted that the famous video chat tool would never focus on the written messaging. So he came to create his own startup.
Basically, Fleep is a tool that combines team chat and email into one platform. It faces the issues that have plagued many email users. At times, it is confusing which thread we are using, when did we introduce a new person to the thread etc. Fleep’s technology strives to solve such issues.
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When our team tested Fleep we noted that it would probably suit you if you communicate outside of your team more than inside. Among its pros – clean interface, unlimited message history and unlimited integrations. (However, there are not so many of them as compared to Slack.) Fleep’s business plan starts with €5 per user, per month – it would increase file storage capacity tenfold (among other features).
8. Microsoft Teams
It’s been a year since Microsoft Teams stepped into the game. Apparently, the tool has pulled into pole position for large enterprises, engaging 200,000 organizations across 181 markets.
Microsoft Teams integrates with other Office 365 apps and supports third-party plug-ins – these are actually the key features of the tool. MS Teams allows users to share files, create meetings, and more, all in one chat console. There are also some neat features Microsoft is adding to Teams, such as cloud recording that will enable one-click meeting records, with automatic transcription and time coding.
However, there is one big thing experts would like to see in MS Teams – the signing up for small businesses should be more simple. When Chanty explored Microsoft Teams, we found out it’s quite difficult to start, has a complicated interface, while customer support has a room for improvement.
Microsoft Teams is available as a part of Microsoft Office 365 subscription. For businesses, the price starts at $8.25 a month for a user.
Rocket.Chat pitches itself as a free open source Slack alternative. It offers some common enterprise features, such as audio and video conferencing, online chatting and screen sharing. So users can create channels, invite guests, exchange messages and files. The tool also markets its automatic real-time message translation feature which might be convenient for co-workers and partners who speak different languages.
Although, according to users’ reviews, Rocket.Chat takes some getting used to. Also, there is no way to block new registrations.
Mattermost is an open source, private cloud Slack-alternative. Instead of a simple app registration like with Slack and many other tools, you would need to deploy it on your own company server.
When pitching, Mattermost argues that its key features allow enterprises gain control of their communications. For example, by deploying to the public, private or hybrid clouds with full access to the source code, one can resolve any security issues or privacy concerns.
Within its free version, Mattermost provides the unlimited number of integrations and searchable messages. The tool supports more than a dozen languages, which makes it a good fit for multilanguage teams all over the world. Enterprise version is $39 a year per user.
Team messaging tools definitely have the momentum in business collaboration. Slack is currently in the spotlight, but there are many tools striving to beat it and serve users even better.
Some of them embrace quite a wide range of features (e.g. Flock, Stride, Microsoft Teams). Others set off a very particular feature to help businesses. Thus, Ryver and Glip introduced a task manager within their communication tool, while Fleep combined team chat and email. Сompeting with Slack, the tools offer multiple languages support, simple interface and enhanced integration strategies.
Also, there are far-reaching newcomers on the market with many features to come. Chanty – the tool we’ve been passionately building – is one of them.
Our simple AI-powered team chat speeds up work, providing instant messaging, unlimited searchable history, file sharing and notification management. As Chanty is getting closer to the public launch, new features and improvements are released every two weeks. Integrations with third-party apps, AI Key findings and video calls are just around the corner.
We are developing Chanty with love and care. Give it a try and enjoy the productivity boost it delivers! We’d be happy to help you improve team communication. Feel free to contact us any time!
What features in communication and collaboration tools are most important for your business? Feel free to drop your comments below.