You don’t have to type more than “slack v…” into a Google search in order to get the following autosuggest result: Slack vs. HipChat vs. Yammer.

It’s a common and essential conversation happening across a lot of companies that are struggling to make sense of the leading collaboration platforms. Slack is the current darling among startups and established companies alike for its ease of use and ability to integrate with other services.

But Atlassian’s HipChat still has a substantial following, with some new features on the way to try and steal a bit of Slack’s thunder. And you can’t count out Microsoft’s Yammer, which has deep ties into Office 365. There are other players, of course, but these tend to be the big three at the moment.

Who should you go with? While ultimately it’s a decision that is best weighed with your colleagues, here are some thoughts based on my own experience and the rantings drawbacks I’ve heard from others.

Slack Is For the Cool Kids

The growth of Slack has been pretty phenomenal. It launched in August 2013 and already has more than one million users. 

Last year the company disclosed more than 30 percent of its user base was paying customers, which means each person is forking over at least $6.67 a month for the platform's advanced features. The company is also working on an Enterprise edition, which is due to launch early this year.

The strength of Slack is that it’s a simple idea executed well. 

On the one hand it’s just a giant chatroom, which makes one wonder why no one else thought of it (though in reality, others have). It’s just that Slack made it look great and fun with the snarky Slackbot commentary, the ability to easily customize rooms, and, significantly, the ability to integrate one’s workflow with the myriad number of cloud services out there today.  

HipChat Tries to Respond

I’ve been a part of a couple of organizations that recently ditched out on another big player: Atlassian’s HipChat.

Yet for some, HipChat still has a lot of appeal. Where Slack tries to be clever and cool, HipChat is a more focused environment that’s about getting the job done. There’s been some recent improvements to how links and images perform that indicate Atlassian is willing to make the right tweaks in order to keep pace with the heavily-hyped Slack.

Additionally, the company has also been ramping up the feature set as all indications are it will continue to battle with Slack for some time. Atlassian is a formidable foe, given that the company recently went public with a $5.8 billion valuation.

Yammer Leans On Office 365

Microsoft isn’t ready to cede the crown yet when it comes to being the hub for office productivity. The company’s Yammer product ties in closely to Office 365, which is growing in popularity thanks to its software-as-a-service model with multiple platforms.

As such, Yammer may be a good choice, especially if you want deep integration with Office across your software solutions. Yammer also has an interface that mimics a social network, which could be a comfortable transition for those just getting used to wide collaboration in the enterprise.

Now What?

This will be an exciting year when it comes to watching this battle play out. It’s also a great time to be in the market for collaboration software, as we’re going to see a ton of development work from the competing teams.

But what do you think? Collaborate with us by taking our informal poll and sharing your own experiences, pro and con, below.

What's your favorite collaboration platform? free polls

Title image by Ryan McGuire