Earlier this month, Fastee emerged from stealth mode with a new collaboration software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform that doesn't seek to replace email with yet another app, but rather embrace it as part of a unified communication system.
"We are proud to launch our company and our platform, offering an agile, fully comprehensive communication platform to the business community," Guy Eisdorfer, co-founder and CEO of Fastee, said in a Dec. 1 announcement. "Our app provides business teams with one place to interact with their customers and colleagues, giving them quick, secure access to a project's entire lifetime of files and chats." The Israeli startup's namesake app was inspired by a desire to simplify the tangled workflows and collaborative processes of sales and marketing professionals, Eisdorfer, told Small Business Computing. "We had the idea of building a business-messaging platform that really integrates with CRM," he said.
Small Business Collaboration Meets CRM
Details surrounding leads, opportunities, sales agreements and advertising campaigns would flow in from any number of messaging and file-sharing apps, none of which fed into customer relationship management (CRM) systems without some copy/pasting and other manual methods. Dead set on killing the inbox, modern app makers are flooding the market with collaboration and communications apps that do a fine job connecting workers with their content, but stumble when it comes to working well with one another.
Worse, mobile business workers increasingly rely on easy-to-use, consumer-grade apps and cloud services to conduct business, leaving their companies' data in the lurch when they switched jobs.
"Consumer applications belong to the consumer," said Eisdorfer. "There's no knowledge retention" on behalf of the business organization, he added, meaning that workers essentially take their information with them when they leave, depriving the company of the information they gathered.
To solve this problem, Fastee takes an inclusive approach to the business collaboration app market.
Eisdorfer and his team looked at email, the standard in business communications, and devised ways to extend its utility. They made it easier for teams to break vital information free from their inbox-based silos and use it as the basis of free-flowing conversations.
"We understand how people manage their content in email," he said. Fastee banks on that familiarity to ease business workers into a more cooperative, frictionless information-sharing environment. Employees come together in group or individual chats, sharing emails with a tap or a click. In addition, email content becomes searchable and you can organize and track it using "Markers"—tags of sorts—to group messages pertaining to a project.
A Unified Collaboration Hub
Fastee doesn't stop at email. It supports multiple cloud file-storage services, letting people share Word files, presentations and images, among other business content, within a Fastee chat. You can also link to cloud folders and receive notifications when a file has been added or updated. Currently, it supports Gmail, Exchange 365, Dropbox, Box, OneDrive, and Google Drive.
Notifications also extend to supported business apps like Salesforce, Asana, and Yammer, keeping team members on the same page without leaving the Fastee app. And integration with more services is on the way, hinted Eisdorfer.
Need to collaborate with outside partners or contributors? You can invite outsiders to a group without the risk of them poking around other areas of the business.
According to Eisdorfer, Fastee solves the problem of having too much choice in communication and collaboration software. Workers "want to communicate with people in different ways but want to receive it all in one place," he said. Fastee aims to become "the main communication tool" to fill that need.
You can access Fastee via a Web browser and with mobile devices running Apple iOS or Android apps. The free version archives up to 10,000 messages. Paid plans start at $6.99 per month.
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Small Business Computing. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.
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