After busy weeks full of developments and changes, we are finally offering apps for desktop and mobile devices. We are incredibly happy to have reached the "Stackfield on all devices" milestone and the feedback from the first few weeks shows us that the apps are excellently received.
But we are diving directly into the next developments, which will make Stackfield to the tool we had planned as the journey started. Before giving a glimpse into the future of Stackfield, let's start with a quick review of the changes that have taken place over the last few weeks, as these will form the basis for future developments:
What happened in the last months?
The biggest developments in the last few months, if not years, and one of Stackfield's most important steps, are definitely the mobile apps, which are now available for iOS and Android. The mobile apps provide access to all the data of a room, which means you're always up to date - even when you're not sitting in the office. With the current state of the apps, we have managed to integrate a fairly large feature set, as well as enabling encrypted collaboration on the go, but we will add many more features step by step!
The desktop apps for Windows and macOS significantly simplify the use of Stackfield at the desktop. They start automatically when the computer starts up, send native desktop notifications, and allow for "local editing" and fast uploading of new versions of files. The "Edit Locally" feature allows you to download and open a file with one click. The subsequent upload happens with two clicks - much faster than the usual process of attaching by drag & drop or similar!
In addition to being used in the cloud, Stackfield can now also be operated on your own server and used together with the apps. To be honest, we were a bit surprised by the high demand of this version, but especially in large companies there is still the policy that data must be stored on the own servers. For users who have started with the cloud variant of Stackfield, a change from the cloud to the server is always possible without any problems!
What will happen next?
In the coming weeks, one of the currently most important topics for companies is also on the plan for us:
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
With the General Data Protection Regulation (abbreviated: GDPR), the protection of personal data will be re-regulated throughout Europe and (finally) uniform rules will be created. (Bernd Suchomski answered the most important questions about the GDPR in an interview with us.) Although the GDPR demands some changes for all companies, we are well prepared in this regard so that the final adjustments can definitely be made in time. Important aspects, such as Privacy by Design, have been implemented by Stackfield for years through our technical and organizational measures (and, most importantly, the end-to-end encryption).
Likewise we work exclusively with subcontractors from Germany, whereby the requirements of the DSGVO are fulfilled without problems and also the CloudACT of the USA can not represent a danger for meeting the requirements of the GDPR.
With all these points being made, we are ultimately very grateful for the GDPR, as this emphasizes exactly on our strengths and also strengthens the awareness of the issue of data protection!
What features will Stackfield offer in the future?
This is probably the most exciting question for many users - and also ensures great discussions internally at Stackfield. It is incredibly important to us that new features do not compromise our goals of simplicity, speed and ease of use. Therefore, all new ideas, suggestions and changes are measured regarding that guidelines.
The following new features will be the most important in the next few months:
Public API and more integrations
Stackfield aims to be the central tool of everyday working life of teams. In order to substantiate this claim, we will in the future offer a public API through which data can be passed on directly to Stackfield and thus all relevant information can be collected directly on Stackfield. With the public API, it will be possible to use your own CRM module, accounting tool etc. and to send information directly to Stackfield while automating internal processes.
Exporting all data of an organization
Although the data stored on Stackfield are saved redundantly and additionally are secured by daily backups, the data of an organization is often needed on its own devices in order to have a backup copy for completed projects. In addition, exporting all data makes it even easier for large corporations to switch tools and to take the data with them.
The Gantt Charts are the most requested feature of the last few months, according to the mobile apps. The Gantt feature will allow the tasks to be displayed on a timeline, making it easy to see gaps and bottlenecks and simplify project management. In the course of this function also dependencies of tasks will be added!
The e-mail integration is aimed at two different scenarios: First, to simplify the forwarding of information to Stackfield, whereby, for example, a kind of ticket system can be realized. On the other hand to make the communication of the team with external persons clearer and better if they should not have an account on Stackfield and the information should be provided by mail.
Video and audio telephony
Chats and the written word are still the most important communication tool in teams for many reasons. However, for at least as many reasons, it is often easier to meet in a team and discuss topics - if this is not possible through being located at different locations, video and audio telephony comes into play. Therefore we will offer the telephony for entire rooms, so that all participants of the room can be called and connected with one click.
However, not only new features are planned, but also many improvements to existing features:
Above all, we want to simplify the sharing of information to and from Stackfield. For most projects, tasks, etc. input from outside is needed, which will be made smoother by some connections and functions. Likewise, global settings for rooms will be introduced. These include u.a. Labels and groups of rights, which means that they no longer have to be created individually for each room and can also be changed centrally in the settings of the organization.
As mentioned in the paragraph about Gantt Charts, the tasks are given functions like the dependencies. At the same time, we will also add custom fields, more workflows, and automatic archiving of completed tasks. The focus in this area will be on the ease of use with a large number of tasks, so that using Stackfield in large projects meets our standards of user-friendliness.
The search for a term currently takes place according to the element type, whereby not all results are displayed directly on a page. The feedback from our users was quite clear in this respect, which is why we will make the search faster and clearer.
With the discussions we have added a feature that simplifies the communication history and makes the parallel discussion of several topics clearer. To further enhance the coordination of issues, the discussions will be expanded with surveys, recurring questions and questions to which a binding answer needs to be given.
Working with files is one of the most important areas in everyday working life. Unfortunately, this is currently quite static, which is why in the future the arbitrary referencing of elements and files will be added. As a result, for example, documents can be attached to tasks and a file to multiple discussions. In the course of this, as already known from tasks, the approval process of attachments / files will be implemented. Even sharing files outside of Stackfield will be improved by the possibility to share entire folders.
That feature started as asimple "Note", but has been expanded step by step and has now found it's right to exist as "Documents" . Therefore we will now expand the scope of functions, with features like exporting as PDF, annotations, tables within a document, workflows, sharing with external persons and sending as an e-mail attachment. Another important point will be editing in offline mode!
With prevalent calendar programs like Outlook, iCal and Google Calendar, the calendar on Stackfield has a difficult task to solve. In order to avoid a parallel calendar structure to the already existing structures in many companies, we integrated the export of the Stackfield calendar some time ago. To further enhance the interaction of external calendars with the Stackfield calendar, bidirectional synchronization will be added. Similarly, the calendar will be visually revised and, for example, holidays and the weekend will be clearly marked. Collaboration with external people will also play an important role in the calendar, and the ability to send appointment proposals by e-mail will make it easier to work with them. In addition, a completely new function is planned here in the form of conversation protocols, which record the decisions and goals of a meeting and then integrates these into the work on Stackfield, in the form of tasks.
The last point of the roadmap is one of the most important ever: the revision of the notifications. With all the above integrations and functions, the number of activities in the rooms will increase. Not all of these activities will be relevant to each user, so revising the noticiation system will ensure that each user will not be notified unless it is important to them.
Summary - where do we want to go?
Stackfield has come a long way since it was founded almost 6 years ago. The competition in the Collaboration area is indeed very hard by the global players Microsoft, Atlassian or Slack, but we are doing pretty well in that market conditions and improving steadily. Above all, we were able to see from the feedback from our users and interested parties that the product itself is always rated very subjectively (which isn't bad), but that there are few to no alternatives to us in terms of data protection and legal regulations.
Thus, the mix of ease-of-use and clarity, coupled with the benefits of data protection, is increasingly ensuring that we have happier customers than ever before. On top of that, we also see that our support efforts are perceived well and are seen as a welcome change from the otherwise poorly accessible hotlines of the competition.
As this blog post hopefully shows, we have great plans for the future! Accordingly, it is also our medium-term goal to become the leading provider in the field of communication & collaboration, which will also be beneficial for customers, through faster development and better service!
As always we look forward to your feedback and hope that the planned features match your needs!