Social business tools are bubbling up in a steady stream of releases, and Inc is one of the newest, a so called knowledge sharing tool designed as a distraction free place for teams to work.
Activity Streams are the New Black
Knowledge workers are always tinkering with their workflows, and new tools are more welcome in this sector than perhaps any other. Specifically, when it comes to working online in groups, email simply refuses to go away, but there has been enough of a fuss about its limitations to make room for collaboration tools like Yammer and SocialCast.
Furthermore, the all present Facebook style news feed is no doubt a familiar sight to about a billion people, another factor working in these apps’ favor. Are we witnessing the evolution of the social business? Or are we ready for the tools we use to revolutionize our digital lives?
Business social networks, activity feeds, whatever moniker they deserve, these tools are booming in the business world and Inc is a stylish, inexpensive entry. It features the Lobby, an activity stream where teams can post updates and share notes and links, and sections for alerts and search. It’s a minimalist interface to be sure, and whichever section is selected on the left hand side of the screen then opens up fully on the right hand side.
It really feels like a marriage of email and the activity stream, if that can be imagined. When a selected message is highlighted in the Lobby, for example, it opens up, and further discussion of the item can be seen. Teams can respond to the item, and whoever has seen the item has their avatar displayed above the item. That way, teams can be sure who is on the same page and who is busy working on something else, for example.
<Inc can send out digest emails and depict who has seen content to avoid confusion.
Get In + Watch Inc Grow
While we like Inc’s minimalist style, and even the email/activity stream mashup design, the US$ 5 per user per month price tag and lack of integrations puts it squarely in the mid tier of social business apps. It might be too expensive for small businesses, and not have the integrations needed for enterprises.
Yammer, on the other hand is actually slightly cheaper than Inc, and has many more apps available to extend its reach. That doesn’t mean Inc won’t add integrations in the future or even adapt its pricing if it needs, but that’s one comparison many are bound to make. We’re actually looking forward to seeing how Inc progresses as it rolls out, and it will certainly be an interesting case study given how social business tools have changed just in the last two years.
Right now, Inc does integrate with Dropbox, and it seems the company is planning on adding groups and tags in future updates, so those are things to build on. For anyone who has the time or for those who have the patience to test, test, test before buying, it could be kinda fun to get in the more or less ground floor with Inc.
It’s free for up to three people, and all that’s needed to sign up is a company email address. Those with Google Apps accounts can also sign up for Inc there. There’s a 30 day trial offered as well for those with more than three users, so that’s another way to poke around there and see if it might be a good fit.
The startup that built Inc is the same team that built a read it later style app called Kippt, and Inc shares a baseline sort of style ethos with it. Tell us in the comments if you think we’ve hit the saturation point for social business tools or if you feel Inc is one of the more innovative examples you’ve seen.