Phase 1: Problem Space

1.1: Context and Use

  • Slack
    Some argue that Slack blazed the trail for the current marketplace of team communication apps. It is well-known for its many integrations, superb thread management and ardently engaged users (Diwan, 2017).
  • Google Hangouts/Chat
    Hangouts has been Google’s basic communication tool for years, with simple direct and group conversations. With Google Chat (planned for release later this year), they intend to create, “an intelligent communication app, built for teams” (G Suite, 2017). Beyond this, value is brought with deep integration to Google and other 3rd party services (Lardinois, 2017).
  • Microsoft Teams
    This new chat and collaboration app intends to launch Microsoft into the team communications space that was created by Slack and Hipchat (Warren, 2017). However, in terms of features, nothing stands out as particularly special. It seems that the primary edge that Teams has over its competition is the existing wide user base of Microsoft Office.
  • Atlassian (Hipchat/Stride)
    Recently announced, Stride is a new product from Atlassian which will replace (and expand upon) the existing Hipchat. The new Stride intends to focus on encouraging team action, conference call tools and smart notifications (Newton, 2017).
  • Quip
    Recently acquired by Salesforce, Quip is a Content Collaboration Platform which touts the benefit of “The Living Document” (Salesforce, 2017). The inclusion of its document tools, similar to an office suite, is what gives Quip the edge over the other communication competitors.
  • Basecamp
    The main benefit of Basecamp is that it “organizes your communication, projects, and client work together so you have a central source of truth” (Basecamp). The main functionality of Basecamp involves uses threads that allow for collaboration on projects. As a competitive edge, it makes working with external teams seamless and easy. Though as a personal observation, it provides somewhat of a disorganized user experience.
  • G Suite (Drive, Docs, etc.)
    One of the key strategies used by Google with G Suite was getting home users to love G Suite and thereby ask to use them in their place of work (Au, 2014). As a bonus, G Suite is built into a tool for file management and cloud storage, Google Drive.
  • Office 365 (Microsoft Office)
    Microsoft Office was the office suite for many years. It was only in the past few years that G Suite began to catch up (Gupta, 2016). In an attempt to keep up with the live collaboration features of G Suite, Microsoft released Office 365, a blend of native and web-based cloud apps. While Office 365 offers a fluid integration with OverDrive for cloud file storage, it is not quite as seamless of an experience as Google Drive with G Suite (Crider, 2015).
  • Apple (Pages, Keynote, and Numbers)
    While Apple’s suite of productivity tools is barely existent at the enterprise level, it is worth mentioning because it represents a full office suite. It also supports live collaborative editing (like G Suite) and integration with iCloud Drive (cloud file storage). While not optimized for business usage, the individual apps in this office suite offer an excellent user experience, typical of Apple products.
  • Quip
    This one makes the list twice because of how its documents are seamlessly integrated into the core chat functionality. Although Quip is not a traditional office suite, it proclaims the benefit of “The Living Document,” a smarter, more focused document editor (Salesforce, 2017). It includes a word processor designed for the digital world, rather than for printing on physical paper.

1.2: Target Users

1.3: Project Plan

Screenshot of the Project Plan Gantt Chart in Smartsheet

1.4: Summary





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