Atlassian Takes A Big Stride In Team Collaboration

September 7 2017 10:10:13 AM Add/Read Comments [0]

Today Atlassian unveiled Stride (not to be confused with the now defunct SocialCast Strides), their new team collaboration platform that is the culmination of several years worth of research, customer feedback (on their current portfolio), acquisitions and in-house development.

Atlassian's current portfolio may be best known in technical and development teams with products such as Jira, BitBucket and Jira Service Desk. However, Atlassian also has a robust offerings in team communication and collaboration with Confluence, HipChat and recently their recently Trello. Over the last few years Atlassian has acquired several communication and collaboration companies including Hall, Blue Jimp, DocTape, WikiDocs and HipChat... but Stride is not a duct-taped together version of those products, instead it's a new product developed by the combined engineering force from those companies.

Stride is positioned in a very competitive market, and at first glance the standard reaction is going to be "Oh, another messaging client". So how does Stride plan to differentiate from tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams, Cisco Spark, Ring Central Glip, Google Hangouts, Unify Circuit, IBM Watson Workspace and others?

According to Atlassian their secret sauce includes:

1) All the forms of communication you need are included, there is no need for integrations. You get messaging, video, voice, files, tasks and more all natively built in. I agree this is a strong differentiator, and it mirrors the findings I wrote in my report Why Your Organization Should Buy a Collaboration Platform Instead of a Best-of-Breed Solution

2) Fully execute work within a room. Stride is not just about chat, or even about pulling in status updates from other products (ex: Salesforce, ZenDesk, Workday, etc). Instead, Stride allows any post to be turned into a Task or a Decision, enabling teams to not just talk about a project, but actually document the work and the final outcome right inside a Stride Room.

3) Large existing customer base to upsell into. Constellation views Atlassian's position similar to that of Salesforce a decade ago, where their existing product was mainly used by one department (Sales for Salesforce, Engineering for Atlassian) and via an expanded portfolio they plan to reach more people inside existing accounts.

MyPOV

Atlassian Stride is a very strong product for a 1.0 release. Rather than just messaging, it has many features natively built in, eliminating the need for several integrations. When a feature is missing, Atlassian has a robust ecosystem or partners that provide add-ons via their Marketplace. Their freemium model will be attractive to customers looking to get started quickly. For existing HipChat Cloud (not Data Centre) customers the migration to Stride is seamless. Install the client, log-on and all your HipChat content is there. I'd suggest HipChat customers do this sooner rather than later, as I expect Atlassian to depreciate HipChat and focus on Stride. As integration with Atlassian's portfolio (Jira, Trello, Confluence) deepens, Stride will certainly create a challenge for products like Slack which also has a strong developer following.

I was impressed that Stride already has a "While You Were Away" feature, which allows people to quickly catchup on things they've missed. This is similar to Slack's Highlights feature or IBM Watson Workspace's Moments.

I look forward to seeing how Atlassian furthers integration with Trello and Confluence, ideally creating a seemless experience for people to plan and exectute on work.



The Gig Is Up. Microsoft Sunsets GigJam

August 25 2017 01:43:00 PM Add/Read Comments [0]

I still remember the phone call. I was in Paris attending a Capgemini event when a Microsoft executive called me...
Microsoft: "We need you in Redmond within the next few days."
Me: "Well, I'm going to be at your Worldwide Partner Conference in a few weeks, can we talk then?"
Microsoft: "No, we need to show you something."
Me: "Can we do it via Skype?"
Microsoft: "No, you have to come here and see it."

That was the start of my journey with what came to be known as Microsoft GigJam. For those not familiar with GigJam, here is my initial report on it: Has Microsoft just redefined collaboration?

That journey came to a bit of a conclusion this week, as Microsoft announced "After careful consideration, we’ve decided to retire the GigJam Preview on September 22, 2017." - Ambient Computing Team

MyPOV:

This is a very good decision. GigJam was an incredibly bold and powerful idea. It's rare that a software vendor takes a chance and completely redefines the way people do things. I applaud Microsoft for this, and wish more vendors would do this. The problem is, GigJam didn't have a metaphor that people could easily relate to. It was not file sharing, web conferencing, or social networking. It was a new way to divvy up small chunks of work. The problem of "what is it" is very reminiscent to the early day struggles we had with Lotus Notes. I can't tell you how much time we spent just trying to explain to customers what it was.

While Microsoft is shutting down GigJam as a stand-alone application, I'm confident that many of its concepts will live on in future versions of the core Office 365 apps. Features like sharing just small bits of data (versus an entire document or application), using natural language input (Cortana) to create views, crossing out confidential information to redact it, and linking together objects for filtering are all extremely useful. However, these features are better off inside existing applications, people don't need another tool. If you want to share a few cells of a spreadsheet, you should easily be able to do that from within Excel. If you want to link an mail to a Dynamics CRM record, you should do that right inside Outlook. Etcetera. 

I believe Microsoft's primary focus going forward will be on enhancing Microsoft Teams. Teams aggregates together functionality from across various apps in Office 365. This goes well beyond the standard Word-PowerPoint-Excel trio to include apps like OneNote, Planner, Flow, PowerApps and more. This robust portfolio enables Teams to be the perfect place to add some of the GigJam concepts into. Stay tuned, with Microsoft Ignite coming up in just a few weeks, Microsoft may have some surprises for you in the personal productivity and team collaboration space.

Rest well GigJam, you were a good soul.

 



CNBC Interview: AI and Augmenting the Way We Work

August 16 2017 10:19:31 AM Add/Read Comments [0]

There is a lot of fear mongering when it comes to the role of Artificial Intelligence in the workplace. Are machines going to take all our jobs? No, at least not any time soon! Instead, artificial intelligence is going to augment the way we do our work, helping us filter content, derive insights and ultimately make better decisions.

Below is an interview I did on CNBC's show Capital Connection hosted by Nancy Hungerford, where I discuss AI and the Future of Work.

A.I. will augment the workforce, not replace jobs: analyst from CNBC.

Image:CNBC Interview: AI and Augmenting the Way We Work

Future of Work Shortlists - Personal Productivity and Group Collaboration

August 11 2017 11:00:00 AM Add/Read Comments [0]

This week Constellation released the latest versions of our Constellation ShortLists. These lists help organizations decide on which vendors they should be evaluating across various markets. They are not rankings, but rather guides to help the decision making process. The current lists for my coverage in the area of the Future of Work are:

These five lists represent only a small part of my overall coverage areas.  The video and graphic below provide a more complete picture:

 



Social Business News July 28 2017

July 30 2017 11:00:00 AM Add/Read Comments [0]

Alan's Angle - The Social Business News Recap for the week ending July 28th, 2017

Slack raises $250M - Analytics, AI, business partners and their first customer conference

WalkMe raises $75M - Digital Adoption Platforms help guide people through enterprise applications and websites

Mitel acquires ShoreTel - How will they reconcile their overlapping UCC and collaboration tools?

Shelf.io raises $2.2M - Aggregate content from multiple repositories into a single container



IBM Connections Engagement Center Now Available

July 28 2017 11:00:00 AM Add/Read Comments [0]

On July 25th IBM announced the availability of IBM Connections Engagement Center. This is the first release of this optional enhancement to IBM Connections since IBM acquired the software from TIMETOACT back in May.  I could not find any information about Engagement Center on the IBM Connections website, but you can learn more about it in this SlideShare presentation.

Constellation Research believes IBM Connections customers will see value in this add-on, as it provides additional intranet and extranet functionality that helps Connections compete with community software such as Microsoft SharePoint, Salesforce Community Cloud, Jive Software, ThoughtFarmer, Igloo and Jostle.

 



Zoho Launches Zoho One Business Suite

July 28 2017 11:00:00 AM Add/Read Comments [0]

This week Zoho launched Zoho One, an offering that provides customers with access to all of the Zoho business and productivity applications for a single price of $1/person/day. If you're unfamiliar with Zoho, you should really take a look at their extensive product portfolio which includes:

  • Personal Productivity: Word processing, spreadsheets, slides and note-taking
  • Communication and Collaboration: Email, chat, web-conferencing, social networking, group messaging, file-sharing and project tracking
  • Business processes: Sales/CRM, marketing, customer support, finance/invoicing, human resources and a custom application (low-code) developer tool

While perhaps not as well know as its Microsoft and Google competitors, Zoho does have an impressive 3rd party ecosystem of extensions available via the Zoho Marketplace

Customers Take Note

While individual applications in the Zoho One portfolio may not offer as many features as their counterparts from Microsoft Office 365/Dynamics, Google GSuite, Salesforce, Workday, and others, Constellation Research believes Zoho One's complete platform solution provides a very attractive option for many businesses. As outlined in the research report Why Your Organization Should Buy a Collaboration Platform Instead of a Best-of-Breed Solution, having a single platform provides advantages in integration, administration, security and several other areas.