Salesforce's Quip adds Slides, a collaborative spin on that deck no one is reading

Quip's Slides rounds out the Salesforce's productivity play. A familiar interface with multiple collaboration tools may make those internal decks a bit more functional.

Salesforce chief Marc Benioff buys Time for $190m Marc and Lynne Benioff have acquired the brand in a personal investment worth $190 million in cash.

Salesforce's Quip is adding slides and adding commenting, collaboration tools as well as insights on what co-workers actually opened up and engaged with that deck you created.

With the addition of Slides, Quip also completes its suite of productivity tools. Quip already had docs and spreadsheets. Quip, acquired by Salesforce in 2016, isn't a direct competitor with Microsoft's Office and Google Apps, but is hoping that collaboration and integration with the Salesforce platform gives it some heft. It's also worth noting that the productivity suite space is crowded with everyone from Apple to Amazon to Cisco to Slack having some spin.

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Slides, a project that has been worked on for more than 18 months according to CEO Kevin Gibbs, is designed for the 79 percent of folks who make slide decks that never see the big stage. These decks are typically created for internal teams or presenting to a single customer. "This market is underserved," said Gibbs.

Gibbs said the promise of Quip Slides is that the interactive tools embedded into the software can enable teams to skip meetings. "If we can find a way to make slides more interactive there's an opportunity to skip a meeting and get an hour back," said Gibbs. Google has also pitched time savings with its latest Gmail and G Suite overhaul.

Collaboration software: Time to call BS Collaboration software sounds great in theory, but like the open floor plan in offices there are downsides. The noise can be a bit ridiculous. Tools like Slack--and things like Yammer and a graveyard of other tools--were supposed to end email. Instead, email is still favored by workers to get real work done. Why? Enterprise social networking is too noisy. How many times have we wanted to yell into one of our 100 Slack channels so people will stay on point. It's a chat fest that can hurt productivity. Now it looks like vendors may be getting more of a clue. Atlassian launched software called Stride that has a focus button and tools that can turn conversations into workflows with integrated video and voice meetings on the fly. Perhaps the biggest perk is the focus button. Collaboration needs an offramp and let's face it you can spend more time collaborating instead of getting work done. There needs to be more of this. Whether it's Facebook@Work, which is basically a version of Facebook for the enterprise, Microsoft Teams or some other package collaboration has forgotten about the work and productivity part of the equation. Sometimes you need to duck your head and plow through a few tasks.

In addition, Slides will have real-time connections to spreadsheets as well as Salesforce data. This connection to real data can keep decks current. Quip will also have live apps and integration with Box and Dropbox content.

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Features being added to Quip include social slides, integrations with Salesforce and the Live Apps with Dropbox and Box. The additions round out the Quip platform and make it more of a suite. Slides will have built-in chat, commenting and co-editing, charting, interactive feedback prompts and engagement insights.

A demo of Quip Slides highlighted a familiar interface relative to other presentation apps, commenting, collaboration and charting. Quip even added GIPHY integration.

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Now the GIPHY integration may be a bridge to far for me, but you can see where Quip is heading with the collaboration and feedback vibe.

The most useful tool may be the connections to real-time data and polls available. The conversation history can also be handy.

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Perhaps the most scary feature in Quip Slides is the Insights tab on engagement. Sure, folks want to see who--if anyone--read that deck you spent 3 days to create, but I tend to avoid decks as much as overzealous Slack usage. After all, there is work to do.

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With Quip Slides Insights, I'd be busted as someone who doesn't open your dopey deck. "Insights does create a bit of engagement tension," said Gibbs.

He isn't kidding.

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