Last time I talked about project management and planning tools we’ve tried and our experiences with them, now I want to talk about communication tools.
The important thing to note about all the things I am about to show you, is you need to find a system that works for you. If that means you use a tool not listed here that’s fine! As long as it works for you!
Currently our team is pretty small so in terms of communication, it’s pretty easy to just meet in person and talk things out. But in the cases we can’t meet in person, we use a bunch of tools for communicating online.
Instant Messaging Tools
Hipchat is an instant messsaging tool from Atlassian and has integrations with both JIRA and Bitbucket. Hipchat basic (the only free option) actually provides a lot of features out of the gate. They have unlimited users, unlimited group chat, unlimited 1-to-1 chat, custom emoticons, etc.
Slack is another instant messaging tool that seems to be what is becoming more popular in the tech industry. It doesn’t come with the built-in emoticon memes that Hipchat does, but it does allow you to create custom emoticons and there are lots of emoji packs people have made to add them.
The free version of Slack contains most of the same things HipChat does, it just doesn’t support guess access. Ultimately whatever one you use probably comes down to personal preference for the free verison. However, if the free option does not have enough features and you’re looking for a paid option, Hipchat is probably the better option as it only costs $2/user/month, as opposed to the $6.67/user/month for Slack.
When we started the company we looked at few options for corporate emails, but ultimately settled on GSuite. GSuite is just so comprehensive: you get gmail, 30GB of Google Drive storage, access to google docs, forms, etc. It costs $5 CAD/User/Month and you only get charged only for the time you use. So if you add a user mid-month you will only be charged $2.50.
Not to mention, the way Google handles multiple accounts in Chrome and in the mobile apps is very nice. I have 4 emails between my two businesses and my personal life, and GSuite has made them all very easy to manage.
We also looked into setting up AWS Work Mail when we started the company but ultimately decided against it due our familiarity with GMail already. Not to mention, documentation management does not come with WorkMail as it does with GSuite, so even though WorkMail is cheaper ($4/user/month), it would actually cost us more overall to use this and another documentation service like Confluence.
Conference/Video Call Tools
If you use GSuite, you get full access to Google Hangouts for corporate use. Whenever you need to add a video call to a meeting, all you need to do is specify that in the event and it will automatically create one for you. The only thing is you can only connect 25 users at once in Hangouts so for smaller companies this works great, but if you intend to have more users connected you may want to look into Skype.
Skype for business is another option for video calls, and since it is a Microsoft product, it integrates well with their ecosystem. They have both a free and paid version of their service. The free version allows up to 25 people on audio calls, and up to 10 people on videocalls. The paid version supports up to 250 concurrent people in a call and costs $2.40/user/month.
Thanks so much for reading this series! I currently do not have anymore tools to talk about that’s business related, but if anyone wishes to know what we use for other business related tasks just message us on one of our social medias: instagram, facebook, or twitter!