In today’s workplace, collaborating with a diverse team spread across continents is a common scenario—but it also means that communication is more important than ever. You can’t just walk up to a coworker’s desk because their messaging app stopped responding if their office is in Tokyo and yours is in Boston.
Of course, many elements contribute to a stable line of communication: the office internet connection, the devices employees are using, and even their schedules. However, one stands out as a pivotal point in the entire scheme: the messaging application they use. It clearly has the biggest impact on the user experience because it determines what your employees can send, how they send it, and how long it takes. Some of them are actual social media networks for your organization, while others stick to the more traditional messaging and calling approach. Nevertheless, we’ve compiled a list of today’s most noteworthy collaboration solutions (in no particular order) so you can find the one that best fits your team’s needs.
Everyone’s heard about by Slack by now—chances are you’ve even tried it. It’s by far the most popular team chat app today. One of the reasons is that you can build and install custom Slack Bots that can start projects, crunch numbers, and approve invoices right from your team chat. Slack also supports joining multiple teams, even outside work. That means that you can use it to keep up with multiple jobs, side projects, and even hobby groups.
Slack offers unlimited users, 1-on-1 calls, and 10k message history for free. The Standard paid plan starts at $8/month per user and offers unlimited history, screen sharing, and team video calls.
If your workflow is highly dependent on documents and meetings, Microsoft Teams is the way to go. In this app, channels are organized under teams. Whenever you add someone to a team, that person will automatically be able to join every channel in that team. In the actual channel, you can either chat normally, send an email-style message (complete with formatting, a subject line, and an importance indicator), or even create a wiki of documents that your team can consult. Microsoft Teams also creates dedicated chat rooms for each meeting, where you can make video calls and share screens.
The app is free for unlimited chat and search history with 300 users. The full version is offered in Office 365 Business Essentials and higher, which starts at $6/month per user, for which you get hosted Exchange email, OneDrive for Business, Sharepoint, Yammer, and, of course, Microsoft Teams chat.
Twist stands out because, instead of showing you a chronological list of messages, it turns team chats into threads. This helps keep your discussions focused, making it easier to catch up if you’ve been away for a while. Of course, you can also send direct messages or form groups for private discussions.
Pricing-wise, Twist is free for unlimited users with 1-month message history and 5 integrations. The paid Unlimited plan starts at $6/month per user for unlimited message history, file storage, and integrations.
Glip by RingCentral
If audio and video calls are the cornerstone of your communication, then you should go for Glip. Its built-in call tool is powered by RingCentral, which means that you can call people with RingCentral-powered phones even if they don’t have Glip. It also has dedicated pages for tasks, calendar, and notes so you can easily record what you discuss during calls.
With Glip, you get unlimited posts, storage, integrations, and guests with 500 minutes of shared video chat for free. The Standard plan, which comes with 1,000 minutes video chat per person per month, and advanced administrative and data retention controls, starts at $5/month per user.
Flock has all the features you might expect in a communication app: chat, voice and video call, and file sharing are basics. But where the app shines is its decision-making tools. You can create polls that your teams can vote on to easily reach a consensus and add tasks to a shared to-do list so everyone knows what they have to do.
Flock is free for unlimited users and 10k message history. The Pro plan starts at $6/month per user and comes with unlimited messages, history, and integrations.
If you find yourself constantly chatting with multiple people at once, this one’s for you. The main advantage of Cliq is the ability to have multiple chats and private messages in the same window. The Prime Time feature is also interesting because it lets you broadcast video in real time to other team members.
Cliq is free for unlimited users with up to 10 integrations and 100 participants per channel. The Unlimited version starts from $3/month per person (depending on the number of users) for unlimited integrations, channel permissions, and multi-team channels.
Google Hangouts Chat
Hangouts Chat is the companion to Hangouts video chat, and if your team already uses Gmail, then everyone gets access by default. Its main draw is that it keeps chat more focused by allowing you to easily follow up on old, existing conversations. One cool feature is that, because the app is part of the G Suite, any Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides file you share in the chat automatically has its permissions changed so that everyone in the conversation can access it.
Hangouts Chat is included in G Suite Basic and higher plans, which starts at $5/month per user for a custom Gmail domain, G Suite apps, and Google Hangouts Chat.
This team chat app shines when it comes to group voice chats. Its always-on phone calls (known as Voice channels)allow team members to join in on the conversation anytime they choose and simply push a key when they want to start talking. You can assign a topic to each channel to keep things organized and pin messages to chats to keep track of important information.
One big advantage of Discord is that it’s free for full features. The only paid version is the Nitro plan, which comes with custom emoji, larger file uploads, and GIF avatars—features that are not that essential to enterprise users if you already have cloud storage for file sharing.
Cisco WebEx Teams
If you teams use a lot of visual content to communicate, Cisco WebEx Teams will make them happy. This team chat app’s stand-out feature is the Whiteboard—a blank space where team members can sketch their ideas. It also comes with Cisco-powered voice and video chat that works with Cisco’s VoIP devices.
The free version comes with unlimited team messaging and 10 integrations. The Plus plan starts at $12/month and comes with unlimited integrations, admin controls, Cisco conferencing tools connections, and support.
Ryver helps you organize ideas that otherwise would’ve been a mere string of messages by adding them to the Posts tab. You can select multiple messages, add a subject, and a longer message that gives more information, and then Ryver will merge them into a post. Then, you can follow-up on that post—and if you’re worried you’ll forget, you can set a reminder. Its built-in kanban board and the notifications tab make sure that you stay organized and up to date with tasks and ideas.
Ryver is free for up to 6 users and $99/month for an unlimited number of team members.
Overall, it’s safe to say that we’re living in an age where if your teams have a preferred way of communication, chances are you will find a solution that fits it. Hopefully, the list above gave you an idea about the stand-out products on the market today. Have you found your match?