Remote Software Stack Alternatives Showdown

Often when you’re looking to make a decision about software components of your productivity stack for your remote team, the choice really comes down to one or two competitors or alternatives. In many cases, you might just need the one good reason to go with one or the other. As inspired by our Guru alternatives blog, here are our choices for the various remote stack components.

Slack vs. Microsoft Teams (Messaging)

In a lot of ways, the messaging platform you choose is the foundation of your entire remote stack. It integrates with everything that you’ll be using. So the messaging software is arguably the mission critical element in your stack because it may shape the others that follow. For example, if you are using Microsoft Office elsewhere, you might be inclined to stick with that vendor. But if you’re leaning toward the Google Suite side, Slack might do the trick.

Obie’s Choice: Slack

One good reason: Better app directory and integrations.

Google Meet vs Zoom (Teleconference)

First of all, switching costs are low in the teleconferencing space, so you don’t have to get married to any particular option here. Google Meet recently announced it would be on a free tier now, so you might be interested in giving that a whirl before commiting to a paid option. Zoom has popularized during the pandemic, but many security concerns have arisen as more people take a closer look at how it works. Oh and there’s Zoom bombing too. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen during your most important calls with your most conservative prospects.

Obie’s Choice: Zoom.

One good reason: Low latency and decent call quality.

Encrypt.me vs NordVPN vs Perimeter 81 (Network Security)

In our opinion, VPNs are often a product that isn’t differentiated as much on performance as much on features and capability. There might be plans that have lower user-minimums or broader device capability that might sway you in one direction or the other. But all things considered, we have never encountered a performance related issue with a VPN. Choose the one that fits best with your team’s hardware.

Obie’s Choice: Perimeter 81

One good reason: Good balance of performance, device compatibility and price

Asana vs Jira vs Trello (Project Management)

These products aren’t really direct competitors, but many people treat them as such. Trello is great for sprint planning and creating general project management, or even for creating your own personal life-board. Jira is more appropriate for software development and appeals to techies. Asana is a little more feature-rich, but can be perceived as overly complicated. We tend to lean towards the project management software that is the most flexible in terms of the use cases because we like to use it to plan for more than just projects.

Obie’s Choice: Trello

One good reason: Simplicity and flexibility (bonus points: a generous free tier)

Google Drive vs. Dropbox vs. Box (Storage)

If you create any electronic document, you need to store it somewhere. So it’s time to choose your file storage option. If you use the Google Suite of tools, Google Drive is a natural fit. But you might also consider Dropbox or Box. We tend to stick with Google since sharing/permissions with people on Box and Dropbox is more complicated and less intuitive.

Obie’s Choice: Google Drive

One good reason: We don’t like the way Dropbox is constantly steering users to their app, which adds unnecessary sharing steps.

Loom vs Vidyard (Instructional Video)

Instructional video is a trend that’s gaining popularity because it’s just easier to say/show something than to invest time in writing or creating a rich document, especially when communicating with customers. If Vidyard invented this category, Loom made it better with its generous free tier and authoring tools. Loom’s analytics are a little limited, but we hear that they are getting an overhaul.

Obie’s Choice: Loom

One good reason: The Chrome extension

Sketch vs Figma (Cloud Design/Wireframing)

If you are part of a team that collaborates on design, you will likely benefit from a web-based wireframing tool like Sketch or Figma. Again, we’re not referring to the desktop version, just the web-based versions. Figma is great for Windows users who are tangentially involved in the design process and want to fiddle around with designs. Figma cloud also natively allows for SVG exports, which is a great capability. Sketch is a non-starter for Windows/Linux users and the web version is extremely limited in functionality if anyone on your team uses those.

Obie’s Choice: Figma

One good reason: Sketch’s collaborative editing functionality on web is frustratingly limited compared to Figma.

Intercom vs Drift (Live Chat)

Those little chat bubbles on your website are a critical tool in your sales funnel. Being able to capture more leads and increase conversions. Our take on the live chat battle is that the technologies are largely equivalent. The main drawback of Intercom is their somewhat unpredictable pricing model.

Obie’s Choice: Intercom

One good reason: The chat bot customization

1Password vs Dashlane (Password Management)

If you don’t use a password manager, you’ve probably been pwned at some point, so get with the program and choose one. Any one! They’re all great!

Obie’s Choice: Dashlane

One good reason: Great app

That’s it folks. We hope this helps you sort out your remote stack!