Poor email, everyone loves to hate on you. The latest to kick sand in email's face is Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Bolste, which is making a play in the increasingly crowded collaboration software space alongside services like Slack, HipChat, Asana and Microsoft’s Yammer.
The company is rolling out a 2.0 update to its software, with the goal of producing an easier to use solution with better sharing capabilities than competitors. It’s a quickly changing market, as Slack in particular has demonstrated with its skyrocketing popularity and foothold in companies large and small alike.
An Easier Entry Point
Bolste CEO Leif Hartwig pitches his software as an easier-to-use, more comprehensive solution than the others — its website proclaims it the "All-In-One workspace." That’s because Bolste has a place for just about everything that one might need as part of a workflow: a collaborative space, tasks, files, notes, a calendar, and the ability to quickly share any of this with contacts outside of your organization.
“We’re more business-friendly, the difference is so substantial,” Hartwig said. “We also like to say that we’re people-centric, not product centric. We think of the ideal workspace like this: what if you opened Bolste and had all the groups you work with: all your channels would feed out into a display of activities, and you can see anything that’s going on. And even better, there’s no spam.”
The Bolste interface is very focused, bordering on too spartan. It’s easy to navigate between sections from the sidebar, however. There’s also a document tool, which gives you a Google Docs-style ability to write online and keep the files attached to your overall workflow.
Bolste offers Dropbox integration, though it doesn’t include the tie into other services like some of its competitors. For Hartwig, the goal is to give users enough flexibility with the services they need without going overboard so that the functionality becomes cluttered.
So Many Collaboration Fish in the Ocean
While “more features” is a common proclamation when it comes to a product’s roadmap, Hartwig did offer some specifics about what’s coming down the line: he detailed more gamification features like rewards to better engage users, and more collaboration features.
“It’s a blue ocean out there,” he said. “With so many different companies looking for this type of solution, we’re eager to offer a very different perspective.”
However, that ocean is becoming dominated by a pretty big fish: Slack. According to the company’s own internal metrics, it’s become the fastest-growing business application in history. The phrase “email killer” is usually thrown around for Slack and others, and anyone who communicates with others internally knows how this new system of work might push you away from the inbox.
Hartwig agrees this is the trend, though kind of like snail mail and writing a check, it may not die off entirely.
“We think email will always be there, but its emphasis will continue to be less and less of what it once was,” he said.
If your needs are small, you can try out a free version of Bolste. Otherwise, it offers several paid plans ranging from $9.99 monthly per user with 7 GB storage to an unpriced enterprise plan with unlimited file storage and third party integrations.