The current market is filled to the brim with apps and software that have nothing but marginally varied features differentiating them. At the same time, almost every feature imaginable has already got an app that covers it or at least a variant of it. It is this enormous amount of vaguely varying features and apps that pack different sets of these very features, that can overwhelm a user when he is trying to settle for an app.
The same goes for the users trying to decide on Communication and Collaboration apps. With the world going digital the need for communication apps is at an all-time high, factor in the fact that most of the work in the current world is done online and through the use of some collaboration tools and you have got yourself a whole another section of the market for these corroboration and communication tools and app. Just to give the readers an idea of the ever-increasing vastness of these markets, it has been estimated by UC Today that the global market for team collaboration tools and software will grow from $20 billion in 2020 to $60 billion by 2025 at a CAGR of 25%.
With the onset of the pandemic, and the WFH culture it forced upon us, the need for communication and collaboration apps skyrocketed. After the COVID-19 breakout in May 2020, there was a 176 per cent surge in collaboration app installation on enterprise devices. Today's figure could be higher (Absolute, 2020). Apps and software rallied to fulfil the need the pandemic had created. Apps offering a multitude of features are flooding the market to a striking extent. The very task of choosing an app to manage your tasks has become tedious and downright confusing. To make your decision of choosing a task for communicating and collaboration we have drawn a comparison among the frontrunner apps of the domain.
Since its launch in 2009, WhatsApp has become one of the most, if not the most, popular messaging app. The App is free to use and has got the simplicity and functionality to be the frontrunner app of any communication app discussion.
The app allows users to have one on one chats or from groups of participants and have a group chat. Whatsapp also offers one on one and group voice and video calling. It has also got a broadcast feature that allows the user to form a broadcast that sends a personal message to all selected users simultaneously. WhatsApp also supports emoticons, emojis and stickers to make the chat more interactive and engaging.
WhatsApp leverages your phone's cellular or Wi-Fi connection to connect you to practically anyone on the planet, alone or in a group, and is especially useful for families and small collaborative workgroups. This feature can be used for free international calls using the internet. The users may use the app to make calls, send and receive messages, and send and receive documents, images, and videos.
WhatsApp is supported across almost all the devices and all the platforms, be it android, iOS, Mac or Windows PC.
WhatsApp can detect persons in your contact list who are already using the app, so the users don't have to explicitly add them. WhatsApp allows you to establish groups for business, friends, or family to chat with up to 256 people. WhatsApp has also got an advanced security feature that provides end to end encryption. According to Business Insider, India is one of the leading countries for most users on the platform.
WhatsApp claims to have over 2 billion users in 180 countries and over 1 billion daily active users. In 169 countries, WhatsApp Messenger is one of the most popular mobile messaging programmes. This reach of WhatsApp sets it apart from every other messaging app.
Although WhatsApp’s simple UI and many virtues make it a leading contender of the best communications app, it falls short when it comes to being a team collaborative app. There is no feature that would allow a systematic project collaboration, it is limited to texts and sharing of docs, which also has a maximum size limit of 100MB which renders it useless for any big scale project. The important texts often go missing in the flurry of casual texts and there is no feature that would allow the user to assign tasks or set reminders that limits its utility as a collaborative app.
Trello, founded in 2011, is a primarily collaborative tool that allows the users to organise their products into boards and have a solitaire-like visual of the progress of a project. On Trello, every task is a card and it mimics a Kanban board. The tasks are like sticky notes assigned to different columns. Trello was one of the first collaborative apps in the market that focussed on the workflow of tasks rather than the projects.
Trello UI comprises Boards, Lists or columns and Cards. The boards represent a project, the columns can be considered as the statuses, each card or task has to go through for the completion of the project. The columns can be edited to meet the project and team’s needs. The actual collaboration and discussions take place on the card. This visual approach also gives an idea of what task is assigned to who with just a quick glance over. The users may open up each card to add labels, upload attachments, and descriptions, as well as have discussions, establish due dates, assign a card to a teammate, and add labels, upload attachments, and descriptions.
Users can collaborate with an unlimited number of people using Trello. They can assign tasks, add task description and due dates, attach project files, and comment on other tasks. Trello has a simple and visual UI and is fairly simple to use. The app also allows 3rd party integration with tools like Dropbox, HubSpot etc.
Trello which is simplistic and easy to use UI is a decent collaborative tool. If the complexity of the project increases then the columns start to flood with cards and the boards become too complex to be of any visual use. And the more powerful capabilities can also be felt while using this app. Trello was primarily designed to be used on desktop computers and not to anyone’s surprise it works better on the same. There is also no option of group chatting with your team and communicating in real-time and discussing the project at hand. This makes Trello a purely collaborative tool without communication functionalities.
Butter can be best described as the mix of the best features of WhatsApp and Trello. It is a mobile-first, chat-based collaboration tool that makes the essential process of collaboration much simpler, especially for people who aren't very tech-savvy. It is the first app that combines the essential features of a collaborative tool and a communication tool.
The app allows users to form groups as well as chat one on one. Butter offers an in-app messaging feature that offers an easy and effective way of communicating with your team. The Butter app separates your casual conversation in a group chat from structured work management by creating tasks and organizing them on the app’s dashboard. The users can also reply to a specific text and form a thread and they can also double-tap a text to like it and show approval.
For better project management the tasks can be created in the chat, where discussion is taking place, itself. The users can create tasks with just a few simple clicks without even leaving the chat. The tasks can also be assigned to specific team member/s. Butter also allows managers and team leaders who have assigned the tasks to ask for follow-ups and track the progress of the project with just a tap on the screen.
The App’s UI allows individual users to see all the tasks assigned to them as well the tasks they have set themselves. They can also track the progress of the tasks, as they are arranged in columns (in progress, completed and delayed) similar to Trello. The app’s dashboard allows the user to see all the tasks in list view, something found lacking in Trello, and arrange them chronologically, by the assignee or in a number of ways. The simple and intuitive UI makes the app simple to use without compromising on any of the essential functionalities.
Butter is the only app that can truly be classified as both a collaborative and communication tool. The inbuilt chat and task assigning feature allow the discussion and project to build on one another instead of getting in each other's way. The tasks assigning and follow-ups feel more natural in chat as they take place in the discussion and conversation itself, instead of switching platforms. If you want a tool that you can use for both communication and collaboration, then Butter surely is the way to go.