Email Killers 2017: A Look at 14 Cloud-Based Team Collaboration Apps

Team collaboration apps are still hot stuff in UC circles. Established vendors are making room in the portfolios for them, service providers are variously reselling them or developing their own, and at least two companies have built complete next-gen UCaaS offerings on them.

Calling these apps "email killers" -- as the title of this package does -- exaggerates the impact they're having. Or does it? Are they entirely eliminating the use of email, with IT departments ripping out Exchange servers and throwing them into the dumpster? As satisfying an image as that is, this is certainly not the experience of most any company that has seen team collaboration apps take root among its workforce.

But are they reducing the amount of email that floods into inboxes and overloads end users? Are they replacing the use of email for specific projects or for specific groups of workers? By all indications they are, and in this sense team collaboration apps are in fact email killers.

I'd like to say this is the third-annual update of this slideshow, but that would also be an exaggeration. A year and a half has passed since I last refreshed it and, honestly, it's about time -- the info in the 2015 and 2014 iterations has become quite crusty. So here's the latest and greatest I've got to offer. Hope you find it interesting, useful, or both.

Like last time, I've updated the info in the profiles from the previous blogs, and rewrote the text that summarizes each of the apps. I'm not trying to list out all (or even most) of the features. Rather, I'm drawing some top-level points of comparison and -- because No Jitter readers are interested in this sort of thing -- explain how the app handles real-time communications.

I've also added a number of new profiles, for apps that hadn't existed in my first two passes. Specifically, I've added profiles on Zang Spaces, from Zang, an Avaya company; Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise Rainbow; BroadSoft Team-One; Mitel MiTeam; and Microsoft Teams -- so mainly classic UC vendors pulling up a chair to the team collaboration table.

As before, there are more team collaboration apps on the market than I can track here. If you know of or actively use another, please mention it in the Comments field below. Here's a number that readers called out last time and that have come to my attention in various other ways, for example. Some are project management mixed with collaboration, others are collaboration mixed with project management, and a couple are neither here nor there:

  • Asana
  • Brand's Mill Enterprise Teamwork
  • Fuze Spaces – LiveMinutes was acquired by Fuze, which was acquired by Thinking Phones, which changed its name to Fuze, which plans to relaunch the shuttered LiveMinutes app as Fuze Spaces later this year
  • Hangouts Chat – The team collab app Google introduced just last week for G Suite. Google hasn't detailed when it expects general availability, but is accepting applications for an early adopter program here
  • Huddle
  • Made – Developed by Tata Communications. Free plan only for now, with paid plans that the website says are in the works
  • Nutcache – My inner squirrel loves that we live in a world that has a company called Nutcache in it
  • Podio, by Citrix
  • ProofHub
  • Redbooth – Which I profiled last time, but phased out. No offense, Redbooth team. Just needed to mix it up a bit
  • Ryver – Free plan only for now, with some paid plans down the road
  • Samepage
  • Sameroom – Not a team collaboration app in its own right, but rather a service that interconnects team collaboration and other messaging apps. 8x8 just acquired it
  • Smartag – From a software developer in Nigeria. Awesome!
  • Zula

And RIP Unison, which last year fell victim to Slack.

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