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Automattic, the company behind the omnipresent content management system (CMS) WordPress, has announced a major new suite of products designed for what it’s calling “the future of work.”
The San Francisco-based company, which is best known for the hosted WordPress.com publishing platform as well as its contributions to the open source WordPress alternative, has launched Happy Tools for companies with a remote or globally distributed workforce.
The first Happy Tools product is Happy Schedule, a calendar-based time management app designed to help manage employees’ schedules and tackle support queries from across the organization.
Automattic for the people
Automattic, among other companies such as GitHub and Basecamp, is renowned for its remote and distributed working culture. Today it counts 850 employees across 68 countries, and to support this structure it has built a bunch of tools in-house — one of which is Happy Schedule.
Later this year, Automattic will begin adding other products to the mix, including a “customer chat tool” that will will feature integrations with Happy Schedule.
“Beyond that we’ll look at other applications Automattic has already built to help with team communication, people-management, and customer support,” Happy Tools’ product lead Matt Wondra told VentureBeat.
In terms of pricing, well, Automattic is looking to keep things simple. It will cost $5 per user per month, though there is a minimum monthly spend of $60. So this is designed for teams of 12 or more, though of course smaller teams can still use it — the per-user rate will just work out at a little more than $5.
Automattic, which has raised north of $300 million since its inception in 2005, already offers a range of tools and products separate from WordPress, including note-taking app Simplenote, which it acquired back in 2013. It also owns a drag-and-drop file-sharing platform called CloudUp, a survey-creating platform called Crowdsignal (formerly PollDaddy), and a collaborative translation tool called GlotPress.
So although Automattic is no stranger to developing non-WordPress products, Happy Tools very much feels like a new direction for Automattic. The company already powers the websites of millions of companies around the world, so it is in a good position to upsell or cross-sell Happy Tools.
Recent figures suggest that more than two-thirds of the global workforce work remotely at least one day a week, and it’s estimated that half of the U.S. workforce could be remote by 2020 — up from 43 percent in 2016 and 39 percent in 2012. As companies push to enhance their talent pool while keeping overhead down, this trajectory will likely continue upwards.
“We believe the future of work is distributed, so we set out to create applications and services that will help companies work smarter in managing internal communication, projects, and flexible time — wherever they’re located,” Automattic cofounder and CEO Matt Mullenweg added.
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