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Spike Groups—The Only Slack Alternative

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By Spike Team, November 30, 2020
slack alternatives

The Best Slack Alternatives in 2021

Simple, clean, and efficient communication is essential for enterprises of any size, and for the past few years, Slack has become a popular tool for chat. However, it isn’t right for everyone and has some limitations for a more comprehensive productivity tool. Additionally, you might find that it only doesn’t work for your team, and other team chat apps have more of the features you want.

 

So, if you’re interested in a tool that’s like Slack but that’s NOT Slack, here we run through your options. There’s plenty to choose from and many different features to compare, so we’ve also included a handy comparison for you to take an at-a-glance look at which platform is best for you.

 

Why are People Looking for Something Different Than Slack?

Read on to learn about why you might want to find a Slack alternative and what the best choices are in 2021.

 

Slack Alternatives

 

Slack has become a popular choice for teams and groups looking to simplify communication. While it’s a responsive solution for fast-paced working environments, it does have some significant limitations. It does one job exceptionally well.

 

The problem is, for dynamic teams who need to share information internally but who also need to connect to external clients, Slack begins to show its limitations. As an internal communication app, it’s excellent, but as a productivity tool, not so much, lacking the broader functionality that many teams require. It creates silos of information by forcing you to switch between different apps such as email, cloud drives, and calendars.

 

Add to this the high prices for larger teams and limited functionality of the free version, and suddenly, Slack starts to look much less attractive. It’s also missing handy features such as read receipts, a decent file manager, and collaboration tools. Here at Spike, we think we have a better way to manage your internal communication.

 

A Quick Comparison of the Best Team Chat Apps In 2021

Instant messaging

  • Spike – Yes
  • Slack – Yes
  • Microsoft Teams – Yes
  • Rocket Chat – Yes
  • Google Chat – Yes
  • Workplace by Facebook – Yes

Advanced Email Functionality

  • Spike – Yes
  • Slack – No
  • Microsoft Teams – No
  • Rocket Chat – No
  • Google Chat – No
  • Workplace by Facebook – No

File Preview

  • Spike – Yes
  • Slack – Yes
  • Microsoft Teams – Yes
  • Rocket Chat – Yes
  • Google Chat – Yes
  • Workplace by Facebook – Yes

Integrated Calendar

  • Spike – Yes
  • Slack – No
  • Microsoft Teams – Yes
  • Rocket Chat – No
  • Google Chat – No
  • Workplace by Facebook – No

 

App Independent

  • Spike – Yes
  • Slack – No
  • Microsoft Teams – No
  • Rocket Chat – No
  • Google Chat – No
  • Workplace by Facebook – No

Security

  • Spike – AES 256 protocol
  • Slack – EKM encryption
  • Microsoft Teams – AES 256
  • Rocket Chat – Optional end-to-end encryption.
  • Google Chat – Transport Layer Security (TLS)
  • Workplace by Facebook – SAML authentication

Video Calls

  • Spike – Yes
  • Slack – Yes
  • Microsoft Teams – Yes
  • Rocket Chat – No
  • Google Chat – No
  • Workplace from Facebook – Yes

 

Spike Vs. Slack for Team Communication

Spike Slack Alternative

Spike has a broad range of tools available in a single productivity app, but it’s the Spike Groups feature that will replace your Slack chats, allowing you to communicate with your team both in and out of the office using a single app.

 

No more switching between platforms to chat to colleagues and clients, no more downloading files from email to be shared across your internal channels! You can do it all with Spike—seamlessly and efficiently. It’s just like using your favourite instant messaging app, with notifications and read receipts keeping the conversation going.

 

What’s more, Spike works with your existing email address, so there is no complicated onboarding process for employees to work through. Your team simply has to sign in with a company email address to start chatting, sharing, and collaborating!

 

Even if the people you want to chat with don’t have Spike, you can still enjoy all the benefits of Groups. However, it works best when everyone is in-app. Spike is a powerful Slack alternative for team chat, and it’s got precisely the kind of features you need to streamline all of your collaborations.

 

Other Slack Alternatives in 2021

Choosing the right team chat app for your business or freelance communication is essential, after all, its where you and your team will spend a lot of time chatting, sharing ideas, and collaborating on tasks. You need all the functionality of instant communication but also a place to store and work on files, alongside archive functions that allow you to trace back message histories and other features such as shared calendars.

 

Today, there’s plenty of Slack alternatives around with either some or all of those features, and plenty of add-ons that are along for the ride too. Choosing your team chat app will depend on exactly what features you are looking for and, in some cases, how much you want to pay for those features! Here then, are the frontrunners in the race for team chat supremacy.

 

Microsoft Teams

Slack Alternative

 

As the name would suggest, this is Microsoft’s business communication platform. It offers real-time chat as well as videoconferencing and file sharing. For those already working within the Microsoft ecosystem, Teams can be a good choice, but as a standalone app it lacks the full suite of productivity tools you and your business might need – email, to-do lists and notes, to name but a few.

 

While these can be found in other parts of the Microsoft 365 package, swapping between them (and even finding them) can be tiresome, clunky and pull you out of focus. It also means loading up your hard drive with large apps that, particularly for freelancers, may start to slow down your computer with files you don’t need.

 

Pros

  • As part of Microsoft’s 365 subscriptions, many people will already have a subscription, making it a “free” alternative to Slack
  • Teams supports full telephony (with additional licensing)

Cons

  • The stacks of licenses required to get extended features is complex and potentially costly
  • Microsoft Teams lacks the number of integrations available with other products
  • There are many apps within the ecosystem that can hog storage space

How much does Microsoft Teams cost?

Basic Teams functions can be accessed for free, with the full range of features becoming accessible with a Microsoft 365 Business Basic package (or higher). These start at $5.00/user/month with an annual commitment.

 

Rocket.Chat

Spike Slack Alternative

Rocket.Chat is an open-source alternative for real-time chat, billing itself as a communication hub that can be used to talk within your team as well as outside your team to customers, suppliers, and partners. As with other programs, it offers integrations with other apps, and this “Omnichannel” is really its core feature—pulling social media channels (including Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, and Telegram), websites, CRM software, and support tickets into a single app.

 

Rocket.Chat is available across Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and Linux, making it a good option for those who need cross-platform functionality. As for features, it matches alternatives pretty closely with file sharing, E2E encryption, channels, messages, and more, but it does require plugins for others such as audio and video conferencing.

 

Pros

  • The open-source community version can be deployed on local servers or private clouds
  • Very high security when deployed locally, which isn’t possible with proprietary-source tools
  • Open-source means transparency, quick patches, and flexibility

Cons

  • Many of the “pros” are only applicable if you take the time and have the knowledge to deploy it locally or on a private cloud
  • Many of its features (e.g. social channels) are only available for premium subscriptions

How much does Rocket.Chat cost?

The “community” version is free when deployed on local systems or private clouds, but it lacks full functionality. A self-managed version of Rocket.Chat starts at $3/user/month billed annually whereas the SaaS version starts at #20/month billed annually.

 

Google Chat

Spike Slack Alternatives

 

Previously known as “Hangouts Chat”, Google Chat offers one-on-one and group chat as well as file sharing and is part of Google Workspace, which replaced G Suite. As with Microsoft Teams, Google Chat is designed as part of a broader productivity suite, as opposed to being an all-in-one app, so lacks many of the functions that an integrated app might offer. This makes it simple but also very limited.

 

Pros

  • Included with Google Workspace, which is good for those already in the Google ecosystem
  • Its simplicity may allow you to focus on chat alone.

Cons

  • Google Chat is only chat.
  • The different branding and segmentation of services can get very confusing, very quickly

How much does Google Chat cost?

Google Chat is included in Google Workspace, which starts at $6/user/month for the “Business Starter”. For users that need more cloud storage or are looking for enhanced security and management controls, then this jumps up to $18/user/month.

 

Workplace from Facebook

Slack Alternative

 

Better known for socializing, Facebook entered the world of business communication with Workplace back in 2016. Workplace offers a similar layout to your regular Facebook and is built to support online group work, videoconferencing, team updates, and of course, team chat. This is in addition to other work functionality you might expect such as file sharing, administrator insights and live video streaming.

As with regular Facebook, the Workplace Chat is actually separated into its own app, so while as a whole, the platform offers a range of features, you will still find yourself switching between apps to actually talk with your team.

Pros

  • The similarity to the social platform could help with easy onboarding
  • Live streaming (especially for enterprise plans) could be useful

Cons

  • A separate chat app means having to switch for other features
  • The similarity to the social platform could put some users off and cause confusion
  • Lack of integrations compared to other platforms
  • Lack of personalization options regarding the UI

How much does Workplace by Facebook cost?

Unlike the other options out there, Workplace from Facebook does not offer a free account, as of February 2021. The pricing for Workplace from Facebook starts at $4/user/month, going up to $8/user/month for the enterprise edition

 

Why should a chat app have more features than just chat?

 

Having a range of features within a single app, rather than a standalone chat app, means leaving frustrating silos of information behind—no more switching between internal and external mail apps.

 

No more managing multiple Calendars across separate productivity tools—and no more shuffling files to your desktop only to upload them again. Additionally, if your company or team is a little more visual, using video and voice more than written chat, Spike makes for a great Slack alternative—a VC-first platform.

 

What’s more, there’s plenty of people out there who don’t enjoy paying a premium, and Slack can be notoriously expensive—particularly for large organizations. Spike, on the other hand, offers a simple two-tier approach depending on the features you require.

 

A Spike Personal Account is an entirely free slack alternative that offers unlimited personal accounts, up to 100k (10x more than Slack) of message storage, and up to ten Groups. For larger corporations with custom email domains, a Business Account offers unlimited Groups and message archiving for just $6 a month.

 

 

The dangers of being “always on” – Do chat apps affect worker wellbeing?

The always-on mentality that Slack encourages does nothing for your productivity. Your brain is constantly switching between different tasks, projects, and conversations, meaning you never get a chance to focus on your work and find your flow. However, Spike is proud to do things differently, and we’ve found the perfect balance between instant messaging and email.

 

Spike’s foundation is asynchronous. That means you don’t have to be online and active to be part of the conversation. Similarly to conventional email, colleagues and clients can send you messages that will happily wait in your inbox until you are ready to deal with them. They don’t demand your instant attention, and they don’t constantly disrupt your day.

 

However, with Spike, you also have the option of communicating and collaborating instantly when you need or want to. As an alternative to Slack, it’s got all the functionality you need to work smarter and faster.

 

Additionally, Spike is a powerhouse when it comes to innovative features and tools designed to make team chat and other kinds of communication easier. If you’re the type who likes to get ahead of the game, then our Slack alternative includes powerful Send Later functionality that allows you to schedule emails and messaging for a more suitable time.

 

Want to remind your team of an impending deadline but stay focused on your own work? Simply schedule an email for a later time and date. Only have time to compose the weekly update email at midnight? Just schedule it to be sent the next morning. Simple.

Last Updated on 03/14/2014

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Spike Team The Spike team posts about productivity, time management, and the future of email, messaging and collaboration.