Thoughts on what businesses actually need from the Cloud, not what vendors wish they needed.

Chris Bliss

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Flowdock Reviewed: Is it really “Teamwork Revolution”?

There has been a lot of buzz in the cloud computing world recently about Flowdock, a new application that claims to be the “Teamwork Revolution” application. At VM Associates we are always looking to demo new products that can be useful to our clients, and since Flowdock integrates with our newest partner, Zendesk, we thought we would give it a go.

Think AOL Instant Messenger on steroids, in the Twitter age, and in the Cloud, and you have a pretty good grasp of what Flowdock offers. Users create “Flows” to organize streams of communication and data sharing between anyone that they choose to invite. Each Flow is organized in a nice dashboard where you can share files and links, engage in a never-ending group chat, and easily search for and sort through your history of activity. By employing the “@” symbol before a message, users are able to tag content with topics, users, and ideas, making it very easy to locate and reference any specific information in the Flow.

The real innovation here is having multiple contextualized groups chats (Flows) simultaneously, and the luxury of all correspondences archived and tagged for future access (it’s all in the cloud!). There is also a “Team Email” feature that allows members of each Flow to access and view a shared inbox.

Of course, many of these features are readily available for free in Google Apps. With a few exceptions, we don’t see the value here for most small businesses, but larger, project-based companies could definitely find the application useful to brainstorm and discuss multiple projects. The ability to contextualize group chats is pretty awesome and implemented in more orderly, user friendly manner than elsewhere. The tagging feature also makes it easy to ensure a team member is in the loop on a discussion, development or request. You will be held accountable if you are in the Flow.

It’s a new idea that incorporates some of the stuff we love; the question is whether or not it’s useful for your business. With a free 30 day trial it is definitely worth the test. After that, the pricing structure starts at $19/month for up to 6 users, increasing to $159/month for up to 80 users. Check it!

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Chris Bliss works at VM Associates, an end-user consultancy for businesses looking to move to the cloud from pre-existing legacy systems.