Communication. Whether you stand or sit at work, no matter your department, and regardless of how dense your portfolio is, communication on the job is an integral common thread. We talk more than ever at work — although the definition of “talk” has loosened up to allow for GIFs and emojis as legitimate responses in most imaginable scenarios. Conversations are the constant; and the ease (and enjoyment) of communication is becoming more and more of a structural necessity, like casual dress codes and faucets of flowing La Croix.
The biggest names in software continue to bank on this fact. Slack remains the standard-bearer of team collaboration, with a reported five million daily users as of June 2017, and a valuation in the ballpark of $5 billion. Microsoft took a stab at the category around this time last year, when it launched Skype Teams. (Which now might be called Microsoft Teams? Microsoft makes it hard to follow.)
Despite the crowded, messy field of competitors, the Australia-based Atlassian is confident there’s room for one more. With a blog post on September 7, the company introduced Stride, the self-described “complete team communication solution.” As many before Atlassian has discovered, perhaps too late, it has its work cut out of itself. Slack remains the far-and-away leader in the field based on G2 Crowd reviews (it’s actually one of the best-reviewed products on our entire website, and visitors of our Dreamforce booth in 2016 gave it more glowing reviews than any other software). Microsoft’s basic Skype platform also keeps the enterprise company in the communication race, as Skype’s customer total is larger than Slack’s.
But Stride is being heavily promoted as the better mousetrap, and appears ready to put up a fight. The release blog takes aim on the distractive tendencies of the typical team collaboration app, and posits that Stride could trim the fat without sacrificing any of the utility.
“We’re talking more (way more!), but we aren’t always doing more,” according to the post. “We’ve designed Stride to give you back more time so you can focus on the things that matter.”
Stride borrows many of the proven design features and functions that have made Slack such a dominant force in recent years, while introducing a few new productivity-inspired trinkets. “Actions” and “Decisions” allow important messages to be plucked from a pile of mixed conversation and placed neatly in a sidebar, so users don’t have to repeatedly burrow through the pile — especially after a day off or vacation. And “Focus Mode” mutes notifications and informs those trying to reach you that you’re in the zone.
Upon its full release, Stride will be free for unlimited users with a cap of 25,000 messages and 5GB of file storage. The deluxe version with zero limits will run $3 per user, per month.
Among Atlassian’s numerous acquisitions over the last decade is HipChat, a High Performer in our Web Conferencing category with a four-star rating from 300-plus reviews. With this proven experience in the market, and now leveraging this experience to create a from-scratch offering all its own, Atlassian stands as good a chance as anyone to interrupt Slack’s winning streak. Going to HipChat.com will now take you straight to the Stride website — an early indicator that this may be the new favorite child in the Atlassian family. Considering the skyrocketing value of this software space, it’d be hard to blame it.
Those interested can apply for early access to the platform by signing up on Stride.com. In the buildup to its full release, feel free to talk about it with your coworkers, on your platform of choice. The choices themselves will only increase from here — another vendor will join the “conversation conversation” soon enough. As Atlassian and so many others know good and well: there’s always something to talk about.
Read verified reviews of these and other popular team collaboration tools on G2 Crowd. If you have a personal experience using Slack, HipChat or another business software at your company that you’d like to share, you can write a review of your own! Your feedback helps businesses around the world make important buying decisions for their own talkative teams.