Collaboration is fascinating place. So many things were done to improve collaboration for the last decade, but it still remains a place many people are trying to improve. Technology around us is one of the reason companies are keeping to focus on collaboration. What was efficient and new 10 years ago, is completely obsolete now.
Actually not… Email is one of the things that we still keep on the top of our lists when it comes to communication and collaboration. Despite all innovations, social technologies, mobile, etc. we keep email as one of primary ways to collaborate. I touched this topic earlier few months ago in my post – How engineers find path from emails and messages to collaboration? One of the main points there – stop using inbox as a to-do list. From my experience, PLM software vendors as well as other companies focusing on collaborative software are spending a significant effort by trying to take people away from their email inboxes.
So, I wanted to get back to this question again. How to kill email inbox? Here are two examples I wanted to bring into this discussion today. One of them is a very recent announcement of Google about new app – Inbox. If you haven’t heard about that, navigate here to learn more. The following video can give you an additional idea of what Google is up to.
In a nutshell, Inbox looks like a sort of intelligent combination of everything we’ve been trying to accomplish with email- invitations, reminders, todo lists, messages, etc. I haven’t had a chance to try it yet, but I’m sure will share more as soon as I do that.
Another example of innovation in collaboration comes from Slack. I’ve been looking on Slack some time ago. It caught my attention again by TechCrunch article – Slack confirms $120M fundraise led by Google Ventures and KPCB at $1.12B valuation. Slack is an interesting combination of twitter streams, cloud file storage and messaging service. I’m trying Slack with some of my personal projects and share some thoughts about my experience soon.
What is my conclusion? Two examples of applications I shared is demonstrating a bit different approach how to disconnect us from email inbox. Google Inbox is organizing your work by extracting data intelligently from other Google apps and email itself. Slack is integrating activities via many other services, but keeps you focused on collaborative channels. In my view, both services are sharing one important characteristic – integration of information in a single place. This is one of the main reasons many of us stick with email. It is hard to following multiple places and channels to get your work done. So, I wonder, what will become the next place for engineers to communicate and collaborate. Just my thoughts…