Coda and Notion heat up Microsoft Office

Microsoft’s Office apps have long been the dominant productivity tools for businesses, with Google Workspace being its main competitor. But in recent years, newcomers have emerged promising new approaches to document creation.

Two of the well-funded startups at the forefront – Coda and Notion – offer their own versions of modern “all-in-one” workspace apps that combine elements of documents, spreadsheets, databases, wikis and more into a single interactive page , which can integrate data from different sources.

The two companies recently announced new features for their respective platforms in a bid to challenge the established productivity app vendors.

“Coda and Notion have developed innovative approaches to collaborative document creation aimed at overcoming the limitations of traditional spreadsheets and word processors – namely, the need to enhance the user experience through intelligent automation and enable tighter integration into existing workflows,” said Raúl Castañón , Senior Analyst at 451 Research, a division of S&P Global Market Intelligence.

“These emerging ‘living documents’ are likely to impact the competitive landscape and provide a viable alternative to Google or Microsoft’s productivity and collaboration apps for some businesses.”

Notion adds synced databases and team spaces

Notion, which launched its app in 2016 and has 25 million users, introduced a host of new features block by block event this week.

Below that is a new app sidebar that allows users to create dedicated spaces for Notion content. These sections can be assigned to specific teams, like marketing or sales, or cross-functional projects like a product launch, to organize work more effectively, Notion said in a blog entry. Teams can be marked as public or private to ensure the appropriate people can access sensitive information, and restrictions can be applied to individual pages within a team for finer control.

According to Notion, the feature will be rolled out gradually starting this spring.

Notion Teams sidebar idea

Notion is getting a new Teams sidebar that can be used to create dedicated spaces.

New ways to visualize shared data will be introduced in a few weeks, with the addition of quick filters in the Notion database view that can be saved and recalled at a later time. Users can switch between custom view tabs at the top of a database and access customization options in a settings window.

An update to Notion’s databases, due later this year, will allow users to sync structured data within the app to external sources such as Google Calendar, Jira, and GitHub.

Other updates at Thursday’s Notion user event include the general availability of the Notion API alongside additional API functionality such as enhanced admin controls and documentation. A Notion Certification program has been created to help Notion power users expand their expertise with official accreditation as external consultants or internal administrators, while a Notion Champions Community provides a place for enthusiasts to network and Exchange advice and interact directly with Notion.

Coda 3.0 overhauls the editor tool

Coda, which launched its app in 2019, announced the release of 3.0 last week. The updated software includes an overhauled editor tool that is the result of a two-year development process, CEO and co-founder Shishir Mehrotra said in a statement blog entry.

One facet of the new editor is the ability to more easily customize page layouts, using a drag-and-drop interface to rearrange blocks of text as needed. This combines the benefits of two types of editor tools, Coda said — those used for writing and those used by publishers, for example in wikis or in website design. “Being able to use the same interface to author and publish opens up a variety of scenarios,” Coda said, pointing to a portfolio website, a team wiki, or a dashboard to view OKRs and metrics as options.

Another feature of the new editor is the canvas column. This allows users to insert a page of Coda—with images, tables, and comments—into a table row; It can be used for purposes like writing draft blog posts directly from a content calendar, Coda said.

coda canvas column coda

Coda 3.0 updated editor tool provides canvas columns.

The other updates include changes to Coda Packs introduced in Coda 1.0 to allow users to create custom automations that interact with 3rd party apps, e.g. B. A button to send email from a document with the Gmail Pack.

With the introduction of Pack Studio in Coda 3.0, users can create their own packs in minutes through a browser interface, Coda said, which requires minimal programming skills. These can be used internally or shared more widely on the Coda Gallery Marketplace where they can be listed as free or paid.

A viable alternative?

The Coda and Notion updates align with key business user needs identified in 451 Research survey data, Castañón said, by providing greater connectivity between productivity apps.

The analyst firm’s research highlighted some of the top barriers impacting team productivity for organizations. These include: information being siled across different applications (28%), lack of integration between applications (26%), and difficulties in getting applications to work together effectively (21%).

Other ways to increase productivity cited by respondents include integrating data from different applications into a workflow (31%), reporting work progress against goals (24%), and creating documents, spreadsheets, and slides ( 24%). .

These priorities are not lost on Microsoft or Google. Both providers have updated their own productivity apps to give users more flexibility. For Google, this led to the smart canvas concept and greater connectivity between apps like Docs, Sheets, and Slides, and collaboration tools like Meet and Chat.

Microsoft has been expanding its Fluid Framework for some time, culminating in the Creation of the loop appAnnounced last year and currently in preview, seems like a more direct challenger to newcomers like Coda and Notion.

While Coda and Notion have proven popular, Castañón doesn’t expect them to supplant Microsoft and Google’s apps any time soon.

“Rather, they’re complementary tools meant to address use cases that traditional word processors and spreadsheets weren’t designed for,” he said, with features for real-time and asynchronous collaboration, integration with systems of record, team project management, and workflow automation.

“We’ll probably see an intermediate stage where they coexist side-by-side with Microsoft and Google apps and offer some level of integration,” Castañón said.

Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc. Coda and Notion heat up Microsoft Office

Fry Electronics Team

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