SAN FRANCISCO — Salesforce has big plans for Quip, a productivity suite that promises to change the way teams work together.
At Dreamforce, its annual user conference here this week, Salesforce shared its vision for the platform it acquired in August for $582 million plus "consideration attributable to Salesforce Ventures’ existing investment in Quip." Salesforce Ventures is the investment arm of Salesforce.
The plan is broader integration of Quip with the Salesforce platform.
Quip customers can now use their Salesforce credentials to access the app via a just released single sign-on. By mid-2017, they will also be able to embed live customer relationship data into their documents and associate their work with a Salesforce record.
Salesforce’s 14th-annual Dreamforce, which runs through Friday, is expected to attract more than 171,000 registered attendees and more than 15 million online viewers.
As Quip founder and CEO Bret Taylor explained, his team wants to make Quip work across all Salesforce clouds and transform it to an all-in-one hub for "living documents" that seamlessly merge documents, spreadsheets, task lists and team chat.
Unlike Microsoft Office or Google Docs, pieces from all four Quip elements (documents, chat, email and spreadsheets) can be combined in the same file, Taylor said. The endgame isn’t a printed document or a standalone document but a collaborative smorgasbord of ideas and teamwork that serves as the hub for all of a team’s work.
During a demo, Taylor took to the stage of the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, just around the corner from the Dreamforce's Moscone Center venue. He was joined by Pinterest President Tim Kendall for what is best described as a live infomercial about Quip's features.
Taylor emphasized how a team could avoid a deluge of email and focus on using Quip for a more centralized workflow. “All of the information the team needs to get its work done is in one place rather than split across a number of email inboxes,” he said.
Quip distinguishes itself from Google Docs in a couple of core ways. Because there are dedicated desktop files, you don't have to work exclusively in a browser. Also, the design of the documents highlights collaboration, with real-time chat, emoticons and iMessage style conversations.
Pinterest teams have adopted the Quip platform, Kendall said.
“If we create a form in which multiple departments can collaborate or interweave their work then we can create something better. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts,” he said. “Quip is perfect for that.”
Quip aligns with an underlying theme at Dreamforce: a broad effort to minimize email. Taylor said the new method of working can eliminate not only multiple email messages but also the fractured mess of instant messaging conversations and other notifications.
“People can live inside of a Quip doc and truly have it be a hub for their team. They can talk about what they're working anytime,” Taylor said.
Taylor presented a mock scenario to driving the point home. It involved pushing a team to finish a project three weeks early, leaning heavily on Quip’s mobile app to constantly keep up with progress.
He said the scenario was somewhat similar to how he uses the app each morning, making comments and responding to team members in the Quip mobile app during his morning BART ride.
Both of the on-stage executives and Quip pitch people occupying the floorspace constantly promoted the idea that Quip is “mobile first.”
Be that as it may, Quip’s challenge is luring potential customers to ditch longtime solutions from Microsoft and Google. That’s going to take a lot of free t-shirts and socks, which were plentiful as giveaways for those who would download the apps.