Igloo, a Toronto-based company, is now launching an update to its platform – and this latest iteration includes new features for businesses aiming to check off all the boxes and streamline their task management processes.

At first glance, it appears as though the update to Igloo’s cloud-based product, a direct competitor to Microsoft Sharepoint, is basically a glorified to-do list. However, the update to the product, which is also called Igloo, features a task management system that’s actually more complicated than meets the eye.

(Image: Igloo).
(Image: Igloo).

Internally branded as “Unicorn,” Igloo’s Tasks application was designed with a number of goals in mind. Typically aimed at mid-sized businesses of anywhere from 100 to 100,000 employees, the solution tackles the difficult job of combining tasks themselves, as well as the content required to do the tasks.

“When you see it, you’ll totally get it, and you’ll think, why is no one else doing it this way?” says Michael Mackuliak, technical product manager at Igloo. He was responsible for heading Tasks’ development. “We are unique in our approach to this … Unlike a standalone solution, we really wanted to allow people to work with content, not against it. You shouldn’t have to fire up a separate application, or go to a new tab on your browser.”

For example, in Igloo, if the task assigned to one employee is to edit a document, the content awaiting editing is placed next to the task, Mackuliak said. Any instructions or comments on the task’s progress are directly underneath the document, not housed within a separate email or some other spreadsheet.

Another goal was to create subtasks. If a team is working on a larger project with several smaller tasks headed underneath it, Igloo’s developers felt the tasks also deserved their own categories.

Tasks themselves are separated into three categories – personal tasks, content tasks, and team tasks.
Personal tasks can include anything from picking up diapers after work to shopping for groceries, and they can be set to private so only the person creating the task can see it. Content tasks include the documents that employees can edit, while team tasks are often reserved for larger projects that require more employees to work together.

What’s most functional about Igloo is that it can be extended to several different kinds of applications. Beyond document creation and editing, Igloo’s Tasks feature can work with sending calendar invites, setting action items after a meeting, writing blog posts, and so on, with email notifications and a Tasks dashboard alerting employees of what needs to be done.

“If you ask customers what they generally use to be able to track to-dos, most times they’ll answer they use pen and paper. That’s because it’s very lightweight, it’s very easy to use,” says Andrew Dixon, Igloo’s senior vice-president of marketing and operations.

“But it ends there. You’re not able to repurpose that point and turn it into an action item. You have to do all of that manually … We thought, how can you take the best of a to-do scenario and have a lightweight, easy to use personal task tool that, in context with your work, where the bar is replacing pen and paper?”

Aside from Tasks, also new to the Unicorn update is a revamped user interface, allowing users to quickly switch back and forth between tasks and comments. There’s also a new wrapper for the Tasks mobile solution, which can be accessed in-browser. Igloo’s developers built the wrapper with responsive design in mind, allowing iOS, Android, and BlackBerry users to enter the mobile site via a browser and find it fits their screen specifications.

There is no additional pricing for existing Igloo users, but pricing to use Igloo’s platform is set at around $12 per user per month.

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