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Salesforce & Quip: Understanding the Future of Productivity

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Salesforce may have a healthy relationship with Microsoft, but they are also eager to compete. This year at Dreamforce, Salesforce announced the acquisition of Quip, a productivity suite to rival that of Google Apps or Microsoft Office 365. Although the acquisition was public knowledge as of August ‘16, Salesforce did not expand on specifics until the Dreamforce conference.

Continuous Acquisition – Targeted Expansion

Salesforce has been on an acquisition spree, publicly bringing in about 7 companies in 2016. Their goals, however, can be easily misconstrued. Salesforce is not out to expand in new directions and unexplored markets. Rather, they are consistently filling in the gaps of their current system and amplifying the propulsion of their current trajectory, for example:

  • Commerce Cloud – Demandware e-commerce platform
  • Einstein – Implicit AI, PredictionIO
  • Data Analytics – BeyondCore

Their main focus has been bringing in expertise and robust external applications with pinpoint expansion into new verticals and the ultimate goal of an all-encompassing CRM platform.

What is Quip?

Advertised as “the future of productivity,” Quip is a live document collaboration tool. Let’s take a step back and think about why Quip came about.

Quip was born when Bret Taylor, former CTO of Facebook, and Kevin Gibbs, creator of Google’s app engine, realized that there was a common limitation to the current web application model: email. While web tools become more robust and comprehensive, they have yet to sever their reliance on the ever-cluttered, twentieth-century communication tool.

Gibbs and Taylor devised a mobile first collaboration tool that totally eliminated the need for email: no notifications, no sharing emails, nothing. Everything related to your Quip account is handled within the platform or through any integration one chooses to implement, taking comprehensive web applications to the next level.

Quip is able to eliminate email through a tiered communication model:

  1. Personal Inbox –  overview of the changes made to all of the documents you collaborate on and follow
  2. Document feed – communication and revision history on a document
  3. Comment feed – communication regarding a specific item in a document
  4. @ Mention notifications – actively notify a user

But what is mobile first? Isn’t everything on mobile nowadays? Thinking about Facebook, Google Sheets, or even email, the answer is probably yes. Most things have mobile applications, but limited ones at best. How many times have you clicked into a mobile application looking for something you know you can do on your desktop only to realize it wasn’t there? Understanding the importance of mobility to productivity and collaboration, Quip is among the first companies to develop in a mobile first framework, where every feature created is available on mobile. No limited or partially accessible functionality; it is all there!

Should you switch?

There are many variables to consider when transitioning tools within a company: cost of licenses, user adoption, and satisfaction, which teams to transition if not all, and functionality compared to current tools, among others.

Taking all of these variables into considerations, Quip may not be the best option for companies, especially those not using Salesforce in their workflow. It currently has limited functionality including the lack of a presentation type document, and companies would need to keep their current email tool or find another. Because as cluttered and obnoxious as email can get, it is still an essential tool in all modern businesses.

Although I wouldn’t recommend switching to Quip just yet, the mobile first and comprehensive platform they are establishing are worth keeping an eye, especially for Salesforce users!

Salesforce + Quip

Quip and Salesforce announced several interesting integrations to be released Spring ‘17. Salesforce users can utilize single sign-on with Quip, but these companies are doing much more to consolidate Salesforce users’ workflow.

A Quip lightning component is in the works, allowing fully functional Quip documents to be integrated seamlessly with Salesforce applications. Quip documents will also allow for “rich mentions” which dynamically pull values from Salesforce. That way you can add a value from Salesforce into a document, and changes made to that value in Salesforce are automatically updated in the doc.

Built on its own mobile-first platform, it will remain open to non-Salesforce users, and with the acquisition and backing by Salesforce, Quip will continue to develop interesting new features and potentially become an extremely viable option for companies moving forward.


Want to learn more about Quip? Check out the resources below!

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