September 12, 2017
(Bloomberg) — Think of it as Slack plus Skype plus project-management software.
Corporate software company Atlassian Inc. is releasing a new program that combines chat, conference calls and project-tracking, competing with a host of startups and established companies like Microsoft Corp. with one product.
Called Stride, the new software attempts to bridge gaps that occur when workers discuss a project, make decisions and assign jobs to various workers, said Atlassian co-Chief Executive Officer Mike Cannon-Brookes. Like Atlassian’s messaging service HipChat and project-management program Jira, Stride works on mobile devices and desktop computers and plays nice with rival software.
Atlassian is known for distributing its software by getting small teams of workers using it and expanding from there without relying on an enterprise sales force. Yet the new product will face considerable competition in an increasingly crowded market. Startup Slack Technologies Inc. is trying to replace dozens of existing corporate productivity programs. Dropbox Inc. is adding tools for creating projects and working together to its main file-sharing software. Microsoft wants to lure Office word processing, spreadsheet and email customers into using its new corporate chat program.
Atlassian’s Stride tracks when teams make decisions and assigns tasks to particular workers. Employees who miss a meeting or join later can easily see what was decided and which tasks they were given without reading all the message traffic or watching an archive of a conference call. Workers can also see who is working on what and, if a user is busy, exactly what they’re busy with.
“We’re trying to surface some signal from the general noise of messaging, which can be quite overwhelming,” said Cannon-Brookes.
Stride was built by the same team that made HipChat, which Atlassian acquired in 2012. It works with and shares design elements with other Atlassian products – tasks assigned in Stride will carry over to Atlassian’s Jira service if the customer also uses that. Still, Atlassian isn’t focusing on getting customers to use all its products, and won’t sell them as a suite like Microsoft, said Cannon-Brookes.
Stride is available only via the internet. There are free and paid versions. The latter starts at $3 per user per month and includes screen sharing and more storage. The company started rolling it out HipChat customers on Thursday.
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