Image: Lark

This article is sponsored by Lark.

Businesses and employees have a number of options when they are in need of productivity and collaboration suites. In recent years, the innovation in this space has centered on migrating these suites of applications to the cloud and adding some degree of artificial intelligence to the basic functionality. Most applications, for example, will now try to finish your sentences for you or help you write your emails and remember to attach your files.

The fundamental shortcoming of productivity and application suites remains largely the same, however. They are centered around the applications themselves – document creation, spreadsheets, presentations, chat, etc. – and not around the way people work. Think of the project you’re working on right now. How much of the information you need to do your work on that project is spread across various applications?

Having the information a team needs to collaborate on a project is particularly important during times of pandemic-fueled social distancing and remote work models. But re-creating the type of collaboration that teams generate around a conference table remains an elusive goal for productivity suite vendors.

Unburdened by legacy tools that were purchased and installed on individual machines, new vendors are more likely to innovate in the productivity and collaboration space. This is where you find Lark, developer of the cloud-based Lark suite of applications.

The Lark suite looks familiar to users at a quick glance. It includes all of the applications and functionality you expect from larger players in this market. The main difference is that user productivity is at the center of the Lark experience, which leads to a more efficient way of doing work.

All of the Lark suite tools are natively built in a single application, which removes the silos that plague many of the legacy applications. One single, native application makes it easier to find the information you need for your current project.

When a user searches Lark, for example, the suite searches across all of the tools, including Lark Calendar, Lark Docs, Lark Messenger, and more, instead of searching each app individually. With work and projects at the center of the Lark experience, the context of information is emphasized instead of the silos associated with different applications and file types.

This work and project experience plays out across Lark’s suite of applications, which includes Lark Messenger for chat, Lark Docs, Lark Meetings, Lark Calendar and Lark Mail. Lark users also receive 200 GB of free cloud storage to keep all of their information and documents, unlimited video call minutes with meetings for up to 350 participants, and an unlimited searchable chat history.

The Lark suite offers integrations with a number of the applications critical to modern businesses, including Salesforce, Zapier, Asana, and many other popular SaaS applications. Users can retrieve information from an application like Salesforce, for example, and add it to Lark Docs or chats with context, further breaking down software silos in favor of presenting relevant information where it is needed.

How You Collaborate in Lark

With remote work models here to stay, the need for dispersed teams to view and share information in context is critical. Information needs to be shared where the work is being done, not spread across a number of disjointed applications.

Lark users can start meetings right from their Lark Calendar. The notes for that meeting can be created in a chat group, where they can be carried over to the next instance of a recurring meeting.

These Lark Messenger chats can be topically arranged (like on the social media site Reddit, for example). There is even a Secure Chat option that will expire chats after a certain time period and send an alert if someone in the chat takes a screenshot. Instead of trying to organize information between different collaboration platforms, Lark allows users to forward an email to a chat, grouping all of the relevant information for a project in one place, rather than grouping the information by the application where it was created.

Lark Docs: A blank slate for information and collaboration

Any single project can call for the creation of dozens of documents of various types, from text to presentations to charts and graphs. In many productivity suites, these documents would be created in separate applications, then each circulated independently for review by colleagues who make revisions and suggestions in each application.

Lark Docs lets users easily turn documents into presentations, embed video and images, and create flowcharts and Gantt charts. It even works as a bidirectional database that shows the relationships between documents.

To make collaboration easier, teammates can add comments to documents throughout, and even choose to follow documents in a chat to monitor changes and suggestions. Perhaps the most powerful feature of Lark Docs is its ML-powered translation capabilities. With support for more than 100 languages, documents in Lark are made accessible to global teams with one click.

Lark users can import and export Microsoft Office documents for cross-platform collaboration. And Lark’s cloud storage features the ability to set permissions for who can view and edit the documents stored online.

Video conferencing built for your work style

The sharp increase in video conferencing during the pandemic quickly changed the way teams collaborated. But for many teams, video conferencing added yet another application where information could be siloed or lost once the meeting ended.

Lark Meetings will automatically generate minutes and transcripts of meetings. And because Lark Docs is natively integrated with Lark Meetings, teams can easily talk and work on a document as they meet. This experience is much more aligned to the way teams collaborate in person around a project than meeting over one application and then ending the meeting to work in a different application. Lark Meetings can also be broadcast via livestream to Facebook or YouTube, an experience that would require yet another application for many teams.

Productivity for the worker, not the app

Work styles vary greatly between different organizations and teams. Different types of projects can benefit from one style of work over another. Lark gives its users the flexibility to choose the style that works for them. Lark users can work in an event-driven manner, a chat-driven manner, or in a docs or video-driven manner depending on what works best for their needs.

When teams know where their information lives, where it came from, and how they are using it, they can more easily extract value from their work. But Lark takes its experience a step beyond value. Lark wants users to get joy from their work, and the company believes the key to that joy can be found in a more efficient, organized way of working that starts with its native suite of cloud-based applications.

Creating joy from work isn’t always easy to do, but if a better productivity and collaboration experience is one way to do it, then Lark is setting itself apart.

This article is sponsored by Lark.