Project Management

Move from collaborations to conversations with Glip

Will Kelly reviews Glip, a new conversation platform targeting SMBs that want a better collaboration and communications solution.

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Glip is a new collaboration platform that came out of stealth mode in October 2013. The company is positioning itself to be a conversation platform for small to medium businesses and is striving to differentiate itself from Asana, Skype for Business, Podio, and Yammer

Glip offers a 60-day free trial and pricing on a per user basis. You need an email from a company domain to sign up for a Glip account.

Dashboard

Glip has a minimalist Dashboard (Figure A) that is broken down into a weekly calendar where you can click a date and then enter event information in a pop-up dialog box. You can then post the event for the team to view or for the individual user's reference.

Below the calendar is a My Tasks list where you can enter tasks with start and end dates and assignees. There's even a column for days, which is a nice touch.

Figure A

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Glip Dashboard

People

The People screen (Figure B) is where you can add the people you work with most so you can communicate with them. When Glip's PR person set up a live demo for me, all of the participants showed up in my trial account's People screen.

The real charm of Glip's people-centric platform is that you can easily bring in third parties such as clients, contractors, and freelancers on your projects. People using Glip for the first time have to download the Zoom plug-in to enable video conferencing; however, the download was quick and without the usual hassles that accompany plug-in downloads for other video conferencing and screen sharing solutions.

Figure B

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Glip People

Conversations 

Teams

Glip lets you create teams around various organizational functions or projects. Conversations in Glip with three or more people take place in the Teams feature, which is equivalent to a team site or workspace in traditional collaboration platforms. Figure C shows an example of a video conversation.

Figure C

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A conversation in a Glip Team

Teams and conversations are based around a central stream. I hesitate to call the stream a social stream because my first impression of Glip from the demo is that the platform takes a backseat to the conversation and communications between participants; I was able to focus more on the video chat I was having with Glip's founders and less on the tool. Even the text chat is non-intrusive when compared to similar tools I've tested.

Figure D shows the conversation options that are available to all team members.

Figure D

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Conversation options

Files

Files is the one area where Glip's minimalism works against it. Glip saves any links and files that are part of the conversation for later reference by the conversation participants. When I saw the Files section on the Glip Dashboard, I was expecting to find some central point for uploading project files; at this time, that can only be done as part of the conversation.

Figure E shows the files that were part of the Glip demo conversation I had with the company's founders.

Figure E

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Glip files

Integration with Google Drive and Dropbox is part of the Glip roadmap.

Account settings

Glip keeps its Account settings on the minimalist side, which is commendable. When you click Account Settings, you can modify these settings:

  • Email Notifications
  • Sound
  • Calendar Start
  • Max Conversations
  • Calendar Feed
  • Change Password

Glip API and looking ahead

While I see a lot of promise in Glip right now, the company is looking at integration options in the future through its Application Programming Interface (API) into other backend systems like bug tracking and project management platforms. Some prudent integration and partner plays by Glip could lead to this platform gaining market share in the future.

Conclusion

I didn't understand why Glip was positioning its new offering as a conversation platform vs. a collaboration platform until I had a chance to see a full demo with the Glip team. While I'm reluctant to say conversation platform will become a new branch of online collaboration and/or unified communications, Glip shows the cleanest integration of video conferencing and collaboration tools that I've seen thus far.

As with platforms from any startup, I expect to see the company and platform make changes to messaging and features as they advance in the market. Even though Glip (the company and the platform) is still in its early stages, I highly recommend checking out the trial version if your organization is looking for a more integrated collaboration and communications solution.

If you've tried Glip, share your feedback about the platform in the comments.

 

About

Will Kelly is a freelance technical writer and analyst currently focusing on enterprise mobility, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), and the consumerization of IT. He has also written about cloud computing, Big Data, virtualization, project management ap...

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