Communication within a business is essential for effective collaboration not only on projects but also in day to day tasks. There are so many chat programs available today. We have certainly grown up since the days of MSN Instant Messenger and AIM. With all the choices out there, how can you know which solution will be best for your company? We are breaking down the most popular choices so you can make the best decision.
If you already have an Office 365 subscription, Teams is a great choice for your business. Using the program won’t cost you anything extra since it is included in your subscription. Adding people within the organization is extremely quick an easy since it is tied to your Office 365 subscription. If the person has an email account on the system, you can be chatting with them in no time at all. Being relatively new to the scene though, Teams is still a bit rough around the edges. Some of the functionality is clunky and the user interface leaves a bit to be desired. Essential features of Teams include text, voice and video chat, file sharing, & calendar integration.
Slack is the most popular chat application for businesses for a good reason. One of the reasons Slack is so popular is that it offers integration with many platforms companies are already using like Salesforce, Dropbox, Zapier and many more. The free version has many features that will be perfect for smaller organizations, but the paid version can get pretty pricey if you have a large team. The paid version will bring in the options to have multiple people on a single video or voice chat, and give you the added feature of screen sharing.
HipChat / Stride
Another option is HipChat, which has now actually been replaced by a new application from the same company called Stride. If your company is already using HipChat, you can still log in and use HipChat, but it appears most new accounts are being set up in Stride instead. Stride take a LOT of design queues from Slack and looks and feels a lot like its competitor. Stride is considerably cheaper than Slack though, but you still have to upgrade to the paid version to use features like screen sharing and also includes a feature Slack does not have, which is the ability to remote control the other person’s screen.
A couple features unique to Ryver is task integration and flat rate pricing. The only other real competitor in this market with task integration is Microsoft Teams. If you don’t already have an Office 365 account, Teams is probably not the solution for you anyway. You can easily turn any chat messages into tasks quickly. As Ryver tries to make a name for itself, the pricing is great for large teams of over 15 people. The $99/month rate will get you unlimited users, tasks, and pretty much everything else the program offers.
If you are looking for something to host yourself, Rocket.Chat might be the solution for your company. The product has robust features for a self-hosted solution but also has an affordable pricing structure for their cloud-hosted service. The free self-hosted solution is open source and will give you access to screen and file sharing and one of the best features it has to offer, which is the ability to add it to your website for a LiveChat feature to communicate with your visitors and customers.
A great way to know which one will be best for your business is to make a list of features you require. Do you need guest access to certain chat groups? Do you need file and screen sharing? Do you need video conferencing? All of these questions should help guide you to a great solution!