Microsoft Office has been identified as the leading productivity tool for most businesses for many years. The only competitor that manages to get a little closer to the software empire is Google with its Workspace suite. It is even more surprising that newcomers still dare to approach this market segment to score points with alternative approaches.
There are two startups that are particularly well-funded Understanding and Coda. Both offer “all-in-one” workspace applications, including document processing, spreadsheets, databases, wikis, and other applications. Both Coda and Notion have announced new features for their platforms that aim to challenge established productivity suites.
“Jointly, Coda and Notion are taking innovative approaches to document creation. They aim to overcome the limitations of traditional spreadsheets and word processors by enhancing the user experience through intelligent automation and integrating the tools more closely into existing workflows,” said Raul Castaño, senior analyst. 451 ResearchA division of S&P Global Market Intelligence.
This creates a new type of “living document” that can replace cards in a contest. It’s a real alternative to productivity and collaboration software from Microsoft and Google, especially for young companies.
Notion, which launched its app in 2016 and currently has 25 million users, has just launched its event. Block by Block 2022 introduced a number of new features. It includes an app sidebar where users can combine and package custom content. These areas can then be assigned to teams from, say, marketing or sales. Cross-functional projects, such as when employees prepare a product launch, find a common platform for collaboration here.
Such teams can be classified as “public” or “private”. This ensures that only authorized individuals have access to sensitive information. Individual pages within a group can also be assigned or blocked for more granular control. Notion said in a blog post that the feature will roll out gradually starting this spring.
In a few weeks, new options for visualizing shared data should also be available, including quick filters for the database view. They can be saved and recalled later. Users will also be able to switch between individual tabs within the database using customization options in the settings. An update for the Notion database, which will be released later this year, will allow users to synchronize structured data from the app with external tools such as Google Calendar, Jira, and GitHub.
The company also announced the general availability of the Notion API, which will include control and management features for admins. In addition, a “Notion Certified Program” has been launched, under which power users can obtain certifications to become Notion admins or consultants. The “Community of Notion Champions” aims to give fans a place to network, share tips and work directly with Notion professionals.
Coda was released in 2019, shortly after Notion. Version 3.0 was announced a few days ago. The updated software received an improved editor – “the result of a two-year development process”, CEO and co-founder Shishir Mehrotra writes in detail. Blog post.
The new editor now offers ways to more easily customize page layouts by rearranging text blocks with drag and drop. According to Coda, you combine the benefits of two different editors – those used only for writing and those used by publishers, for example, to design websites or maintain wikis.
“The ability to use the same interface for authoring and publishing opens up a whole new world of possibilities,” the company said. Coda exemplifies portfolio websites, team wikis, and dashboards to display OKRs and metrics.
Another feature of the new Coda editor is the Canvas column. It allows users to insert a full-fledged Coda page containing images, tables and comments into a spreadsheet. This is useful, for example, if users want to quickly write and publish blog posts directly from the content calendar, according to the company.
Other updates include changes to the “Coda Packages” introduced with version 1. These allow users to create custom automations to interact with third-party applications. For example, “Gmail Package” offers a button to send emails directly from a document.
With the introduction of Pack Studio in Coda 3.0, users can create their own packages in minutes through a browser interface. According to the manufacturer, you only need minimal programming knowledge. These packages can be used internally and further distributed in the Gallery Market. There they could be offered or distributed for a fee or for free.
According to analyst Castaño, the updates to Coda and Notion address the needs of business users identified in surveys by 451 Research. They wanted more connectivity between productivity apps. A study by an analyst firm shows that isolated information in various applications appears to be a major obstacle to teamwork in companies.
Almost a third of those surveyed want to see data from different applications integrated into one workflow. Additional requirements relate to optimal comparison between work progress and goals and simplified capabilities for rapid creation of documents, tables and presentation slides.
However, this did not escape Microsoft and Google. Both providers have updated their productivity apps to offer users more flexibility. At Google, this led to the concept of a smart canvas and more connections between apps like Docs, Sheets and Slides and collaboration tools like Meet and Chat.
Microsoft has been developing the Fluid framework for some time, which was announced last year and is currently in preview.
Although Coda and Notion have many fans, it cannot be assumed that they can threaten the application heavyweights of Microsoft and Google. “They’re more add-ons for use cases that aren’t designed for traditional word processors and spreadsheets,” says Castañón. This includes real-time and asynchronous collaboration, information systems integration, team project management, and workflow automation. In the coming years, it will probably co-exist with popular apps from Microsoft and Google. (hv)