Process Automation Joins the Flock Collaboration App

Flock's messaging app gains new process automation capabilities with the goal of helping small and midsized businesses complete tasks faster.

Flock Collaboration Apps

Flock has added a lightweight process automation tool to its team messaging and collaboration app, a move that founder and CEO Bhavin Turakhia says can improve workplace productivity by drastically reducing the time it takes users to complete tasks in small and midsized business (SMB) environments.

Whether onboarding a new hire, fielding an IT service request or practically any other business process, users can now kick off and track those workflows without having to launch another application. In addition to the healthy collection of process templates available from Flock, business leaders can create their own, ensuring that any activities doled out by software align with their workplace's rules and objectives.

Once initiated, new tasks are automatically routed to the proper Flock channel. Flock will then send the appropriate users a notification listing the actions required to complete them. Reducing the likelihood of things falling through the cracks, the app automatically sends reminders until the task is complete, Turakhia explained.

Managers, meanwhile, can track the progress of their assignments by monitoring Flock's process dashboard, adding some "lite" project management functionality to the proceedings, noted Turakhia.

Users of all skill levels can create and customize Flock's templates using the app's process designer. Coding skills or software development experience are not required, Turakhia assured. Once finished, the new process is added to the organization's process library where it can be quickly called up when it's needed again.

Flock's new automation capabilities came about at least partly at the urging of the app's SMB users, Turakhia noted.

Having already established collaborative work and meeting spaces in Flock, many were seeking tools that would help them bridge the gap between discussing tasks and accomplishing them, said Turakhia. Those users "weren't talking about process automation" per se, but their suggestions amounted to just that, inspiring the company to extend its platform, he said.

The main goal, said Turakhia, is to help Flock users regain some of the time they would otherwise lose to keeping track of who is doing what while shepherding a task to completion. Flock's purpose is to "reduce time spent by employees on wasteful things," like constantly issuing or requesting status updates, thereby "making sure things get done."

Also new is a new Flock user management feature called Smart Channels. Based on information Flock has on each user, such as location or role, it creates curated user channels. For example, an organization can use Smart Channels to maintain a software developer-only channel that updates automatically when coders join or leave the company.

Finally, Flock has begun to monetize its platform.

Although a relative newcomer to the U.S., the app is used by over 30,000 companies around the globe and has generated nearly a million downloads, according to company estimates. Paid plans start at $3 per user per month, billed on an annual basis ($36), with unlimited message search and 10 GB of file storage. The free plan with a search limit of up to 10,000 messages and five GB is also available.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the Internet.com network of...