2020 has been interesting, for lack of a better word. And it’s a year many of us are happy to see in the rearview mirror. But despite the business challenges and emotional toll of the pandemic, there’s still a lot to be grateful for.
For us at Doodle, we’ve been blessed to see strong growth and achieve several milestones in 2020. Here’s a look back at this year – what we’ve been doing and what improvements we’ve been able to bring to our users around the world.
Doodle partnered with Zoom to make online meetings easier to book
In the last few years, Zoom has easily become the preferred video conferencing tool of business. The 2020 Business @ Work report from Okta says in the last three years, Zoom has grown by 876 percent. That’s 785 percent more than its nearest rival.
By setting Zoom as your default video conferencing tool within Doodle, whenever you schedule your group meetings or 1:1 meetings, a Zoom link will be automatically populated into the calendar invitation.
You don’t have to worry about forgetting to add the Zoom link into your calendar invites. Plus, participants have all the information they need right from the start and meetings can get off to a productive start. That’s a win-win in our books.
Doodle became fully plugged into Microsoft Outlook
With over 400 million users worldwide, it’s no wonder Microsoft Outlook has become one of the go-to communications tools in workplaces around the world.
Because we want to help employees save time, be more productive and reduce context switching, we knew Microsoft Outlook was where Doodle needed to be. That’s why we launched the Doodle add-in for Microsoft Outlook.
Why is this such a good thing for Doodle and Microsoft Outlook users? Let me tell you.
- You can get a snapshot of all your meetings directly within Microsoft Outlook.
- You can access all your Bookable Calendar links instantly – and send them directly from your Outlook email.
- You can avoid switching back and forth between Doodle and Microsoft Outlook – do it all from right where you already are.
If all that sounds great to you (I know it does to me), you can learn how to use the Doodle plug-in for Outlook by following these instructions.
Doodle Bot got an AI-powered boost with Book it!
Slack is, by far, the go-to internal communications tool for businesses around the world. The figures prove it – it had over 12 million users by 2020.
We already had Doodle Bot available in Slack and have found it to be immensely useful and popular among business users. Because innovation and technology are at the core of everything we do, we wanted to expand the functionality of Doodle Bot to use AI-powered suggestions. That’s how the Book it! feature came to life within Doodle Bot in Slack.
When Doodle Bot was released in 2019, it had already made scheduling meetings, 1:1s and group polls easier. Now with Book It! you can compare the calendars of everyone you invite and it will tell you what times suit most, if not all, your invitees. Then all you have to do is Book It!
Slack users can access Doodle Bot from the Slack Shortcuts menu
When Doodle was made accessible in Slack Shortcuts earlier this year, we were so proud to be featured in Slack’s blog as one of the productivity tools alongside Cisco Webex, Freshdesk, Monday.com and Workato.
This means you can set up group meetings and 1:1 meetings without having to ever leave Slack, where you spend a good amount of your workday communicating with colleagues, partners and customers. All you have to do is click on the lightning button, add in the relevant meeting information and you’re done.
Kevin Owens took on the reigns as our Chief Product Officer
In May, we were delighted to bring on Kevin Owens as our new Chief Product Officer. He’s no stranger to the B2B tech space and has been working in product management roles for over two decades.
Owens was most recently VP of Product at Reveleer, where he led the transformation of the company from a technology-enabled services company to an industry-leading healthcare SaaS platform. As Chief Product Officer, Owens will be laser-focused on advancing the company’s enterprise product vision forward into 2021 and beyond.
According to Kevin Owens, “There are three key areas we need to address if we want to support the scheduling needs and priorities of businesses. First, we will explore what’s needed to build team-based workflows into the product’s feature set. The next two priorities will be to partner with other software providers/app developers to provide a complete offering of integrations and then to expand our platform analytics to deliver enterprise-level insights into how employees are interacting with teams, colleagues and clients.”
Over the course of his first year at Doodle, he has been working closely with our teams to improve product innovation, customer feedback, integrations with partners, GTM launches, to name a few. One key area he’s already made a huge impact on is improving the level of collaboration between the product development team and the marketing, sales, customer success, support and design teams. This will allow us as a collective team and business to deliver an exceptional product and customer experience.
We added Custom Questions to Bookable Calendar to drive better meeting outcomes
How annoying is it to show up to a meeting that’s poorly planned? I can tell you it’s one of my biggest pet peeves. But it happens a lot. A LOT.
You know what I’m talking about. People don’t really do any research or prep work ahead of the meeting. Or the organizer doesn’t ask attendees relevant questions ahead of time – so then the first 15+ minutes of the meetings are eaten up covering the bases and getting the context set up. That’s time that could easily have been saved – and ensure the meeting is more focused and achieves the goals it needs to.
This is why we added the Custom Questions field to Bookable Calendar.
With Custom Questions, you have the option of asking meeting participants to respond to a question (making it either optional or mandatory) before the meeting takes place.
Why is this such a good thing?
- Less time is wasted during the meeting.
- It makes participants just as accountable for meeting success as the organizers.
- It keeps meetings on track so they don’t run over the allotted time.
- More information means meetings can be more focused and drive better outcomes.
If you haven’t used Bookable Calendar before, you can find out more about it here.
Our new feature, Book on Behalf, launches in January
I’ve talked about how annoying it is to go to a poorly planned meeting, but do you know what is just as bad? Trying to get time with your team to have a meeting in the first place.
It sometimes feels like you need a masters degree in organizing just to work through all the different calendar conflicts.
Book on Behalf is our latest feature that can help you with this.
Not only can it automatically check for clashes in your team’s diaries, but it can take account of public holidays and birthdays.
To show you how this feature works, our Customer Success Manager Hichem Naftahi, will be hosting a webinar on Wednesday 27 January.
Sign up for this opens in the New Year, so we’ll keep you posted on how you can make sure to get your place.
Thanks for continuing to rank Doodle as one of the best meeting scheduling apps in the world. We’ve got lots more to bring you in 2021.