CDMessenger is a streamlined, secure desktop enterprise chat application designed for organizational communications. Developed by Astra Softwares, the app leverages the promise of IM to enhance workplace communication and reinforce collaboration and task management. On top of its intuitive, easy-to-use chat environment, it comes with several useful bonus features at no extra cost, such as, Sticky Notes, Notices and Conference Rooms. The app also has a web interface that lends to you more flexibility when you’re away from your workstation.
Unlike freemiums and general purpose chat apps, CDMessenger is a highly secure channel for your corporate meetings and communications, where sensitive and confidential information are protected from eavesdroppers and hackers. Likewise, as a private IM you enjoy no interference from ads, personal social notifications, and upgrade alerts that distract and disrupt workgroup momentum.
In this CDMessenger review, we’ll take a closer look at the app’s key features and their practical applications to your business and team. Notably, we’ll highlight three best features of this app, which make it stand out from other IM apps.
We’ll also share what existing CDMessenger users think of the app by aggregating numerous customer experiences and identify the most notable and relevant opinions. Likewise, we’ll list down the awards that our B2B software experts here at FinancesOnline.com merited to the app and explain the reason why. The awards range from the overall quality of the software and vendor reliability to degree of user satisfaction.
Three best features that we love:
- One-click screenshot capture lets you send screengrabs fast; no more cumbersome copy-paste-upload-send steps
- File sharing is also fast and simplified with drag-and-drop function; sending the file within the discussion thread means the file’s importance and relevance is appreciated right when participants are engaged
- Sticky notes lets you jot down key points and send it straight to other users’ desktop, greatly enhancing the group chat experience
Other features that we like:
- Streamlined features mean less clutter and more efficient workgroup chat experience, especially in locations when Internet connectivity is spotty
- One-touch download and installation means even the least tech-savvy manager can start a workgroup meeting right away
- IM security has bank-level protection, keeping confidential data from eavesdroppers
- Accountability and transparency in corporate communications is reinforced with Chat History and Delivery Report that show who said/read what
- At $2/month per user, it’s affordable to enjoy a secure IM channel
- Web interface lets you join the chat even when away from your workstation
You can send files right away when they matter most: during the chat discussion. The relevance or importance of that file is more appreciated because the file is embedded inside the chat thread, where participants can see it right when they’re talking about it or a topic relevant to it. This solves the problem of sending a file through email and hoping the recipients will take the time to open it, which can be asking too much for busy executives and frontline staff.
You can send files the old way–open a window, look for the file, and click it to send–or use CDMessenger’s drag-and-drop tool. Simply open the file folder and start dragging files into the chat window. We tested sending multiple large files simultaneously (up to 10MB each) and the queue time was smooth. We also simulated a drop connection during the transfer. Even if the target user disconnected during the file transfer, he was able to retrieve the file immediately upon re log-in.
Screenshot Share is another killer feature of this app. If you’re used to sending screengrabs in four steps–print screen, save file, open file, and send file–you’ll love this feature: it lets you to share your screen with one click. Just open the screen that you want to show, then click the Screenshot Share button in the chat window and the other party will automatically receive the JPG file. This tool helps to keep the momentum of the discussion.
CDMessenger has a winner in Sticky Notes. We know it isn’t part of the IM’s main infrastructure, but stickies are very practical during meetings. You can jot down your argument’s key points and stick it in your desktop and you’re ready as an armored knight during a meeting tussle. Moreover, you and your employees or colleagues can send stickies right to each other’s desktop, a handy feature for impromptu group event alerts. Your posted stickies remain on your desktop (until you delete them) even after a computer reboot. You also have an option to display the note “always on top” of other applications for easy reference. This little but powerful tool can also be customized by backdrop color, typeface, and text color to suit your liking.
No tech fuss, just sign up with a valid email address and you get to access the setup file from the website. With one click the installation starts. Fill in the login information and CDMessenger is ready to use. As the IM admin you have full control to add new users, search conversation transcripts, create groups, plus more. The entire process will take only a few minutes and first-time users can easily get accustomed to CDMessenger.
In as short as two days, we can see chat participants using the app’s features by instinct, allowing them to focus on the real purpose of the communication. This is a strong indicator of intuitiveness, when an app takes a backseat for lack of glitches and complex issues that attract and waste user’s attention. As added flexibility, you can also access CDMessenger via the web browser, in case you’re away from your desktop.
- The first email address you use to install the app in your organization will be the default admin and you cannot undo this, so make sure the first email address you’ll use is the assigned overall admin. If that’s yours, it’s recommended that you do the setup and not a secretary if you don’t want to leak admin controls. You can, however, assign other users as admin later, as well as take back this role from them.
- You cannot add a user with an email address that’s already signed up with CDMessenger. For instance, you want to add a supplier or client to your workgroup chat, if he’s also a CDMessenger user in his own organization, he has to use another email address that you can add to your organization’s chat network. Simply said, your CDMessenger network is contained inside your own circle of users for your protection, unlike in public IM apps, where each user has his or her own individual chat networks and are vulnerable to inter-network leakage or hacking.
Hackers can easily breach into a WiFi connection even behind a WPA2-PSK (standard password security); what about remote chat participants who may be using an unprotected public signal somewhere in China? CDMessenger uses high-end SSL encryption. That’s the same level of security wall that protects critical data in banks and major financial institutions against cyber attacks. Having a highly encrypted corporate IM channel means you can go ahead discussing and exchanging files about how to turn the tables against your meanest competitor without the risk of leakage.
We tried to start a 6-person group chat with three members located in Asia and we’re impressed at the speed it took us to start the conference. Within seconds, not minutes, the admin was already welcoming and briefing the participants on the agenda. The irony is, companies that do it the old-school way of meeting in a physical conference room would have taken a longer time just to gather everybody, even if all members are already in the office. An IM app like CDMessenger is a must-have for businesses that need to respond fast to market events, wherever these are happening.
A window column on the right side gives you a quick glance on who is on board—who is online, away, or offline–while a button above it helps you to add new user right away.
You have a slew of options to alert other users or be notified of alerts. Hit the Buzz and it shakes the other user’s desktop and plays a sound to alert him. You can also set notifications for users who go offline/online, idle or away from their workstation, busy, new messages, new conference, or users who leave a conference or group chat. The notifications appear on the lower right corner of your desktop if your chat window is minimized.
It lets you to send a group message to all or select users only. No need to send multiple similar messages to a number of users. In a simulated work scenario, we find Broadcast Message useful to send a uniform message during an ongoing chat engagement or when you’re expecting a feedback on your group message. When they respond to Broadcast Message, you get individual replies for each user. Otherwise, the Notice Board is appropriate for announcing a one-way or urgent message when workgroup chat is disengaged.
The Notice Board allows the administrator to immediately broadcast an announcement or alert to all concerned parties. More importantly, it has a “Mark as Read” tool that lets the office administrator track if the announcement has been seen. The Notice Board is most appreciated when, as a manager, you have simultaneous multiple “little” meetings that can easily be disrupted by other events. We also like the Notice Report that lets you search for previous notices by notice title, date range, and keywords.
One of the pain points of chat meetings is worrying if the other party has seen your message. In urgent discussions, this scenario is tenfold more stressful, especially if the other party’s answer is critical to your next actions (imagine waiting for your sales rep’s reply while putting the client on hold). CDMessenger solves this problem by showing you a visual cue (blue checkmarks beside your message) right at the moment when the other party has seen your message. This feature also helps to nurture a culture of accountability in organizational communications. A caveat though–during one of our tests, the other user left his chat window up then left his workstation. We still got a blue checkmark after sending our message. In this scenario, pay attention to the other user’s status if he’s “Away” so you know your message hasn’t been read despite seeing the blue check.
The Chat History allows you to archive and print entire discussion threads. We don’t recommend it though to replace taking down minutes, but the Chat History can surely guarantee that no key points are missed in the minutes. More critically, in a dispute over meeting agreements, this tool is the smoking gun. Again, this tool builds accountability in employees that they will deliver their tasks as discussed in the meeting. We want to add another practical use of this tool: use it when talking to a supplier about deliverables and deadlines. That way, you capture the supplier’s promises down to the details and seconds, an added layer of legal protection for your company.
This tool also lets you to search by date range, user, and keywords. We would have liked it better though if the app can zero in on the specific word within the discussion thread. Right now, it can only search up at the discussion level. You have to manually scroll down and look for the exact word you’re searching inside the thread.
CDMessenger offers a 30-day free trial and a single price plan that lets you test all the features before you decide if the software fits your company needs. You can easily sign up for CDMessenger free trial here.
Paid Plan: $2 per user/month (on annual payment)
Features included in this plan are: instant messaging, file transfer, conference rooms, chat history, Sticky notes, notice board, screenshot share, auto away, buzz, broadcast message, delivery report, emoticons, and custom mood status.
We checked dozens of comments by existing CDMessenger customers across the Internet and three key benefits are apparent. The most recurring positive comment is security, a critical issue when it comes to confidentiality in corporate communications. Chat privacy is exacerbated when remote access is involved; thus, a secure IM line is most welcome by companies in a globalized landscape. Chris, an I.T. manager, reflects this opinion:
“Security is a must. We have daily discussions with our team in Malaysia about our offshore construction projects over there. One of these talks involves plans on how to work out bids that will undermine the value of other bidders. My constant worry is that a leak will compromise our bargaining position, and, in a snap, ruin a quarter’s work of preparations and studies. We need the high-level security that CDMessenger gives to succeed in our bid wars.”
Another consistent comment is the convenience of file sharing in CDMessenger, mostly posted by people working in the creative industry. Graphic designers and layout artists often need to send mockups and studies within the company or to clients for approval. Although they can do it over email or cloud document sharing apps, sending it within the discussion thread helps artists and clients to address the finer points right away. Julie, a San Francisco-based art director, has this to say:
“Cloud file sharing apps are good for sending large files, mostly the final draft. But even before that, I need to send studies or thumbs to my client to get approval of each web page that I design. This is where CDMessenger comes in. I’ll buzz the client and with one click send a low-res file. We can discuss the draft right in the IM window, without having to open another app which would be necessary had I sent the image via email or cloud storage. This saves a lot of time especially if like me you need to send not just one but a series of image drafts.”
Many users also mentioned the IM app as an all-in-one corporate communications tool. They like having an IM, to-do list, conferencing, sticky notes, alerts, and file sharing in one tool. Gerald, a team leader, is even convinced the app can dabble in managing projects.
“Many project management solutions seem to think all projects are complex. Project leaders like me who build bathroom fixtures for realtors on a constant basis need only a small team and regular small chats to know that the job is on schedule, whose milestones we can almost always predict (tiling always happen on the fourth day!). A powerful IM app is all I need, really.”
We talked with the CEO of CDMessenger, to share with us what makes CDMessenger stand out and useful as a private IM channel for companies.
The CEO said that even if IM app uses cutting-edge instant messaging technology, namely, its high-level encryption, it’s easy to install and start to use. This, he said, is important if you have remote teams to deal with. “Today many companies have their offices across the world, so there is a dire need of a method to send urgent notices immediately and easily without any hassle.”
CDMessenger CEO also mentioned the File Transfer tool as a winning feature. He said that sending documents over email isn’t the most efficient way for group meetings. “After sending the email you also need to notify the person to check the email. But with CDMessenger File Transfer you can immediately send file to your fellow worker without any delay.”
Moreover, he believes that the Virtual Conference Rooms feature is the heart of CDMessenger. The idea, he said, is to start a conference in seconds, not minutes. “You can invite multi user in conferencing and start conferencing with a Title,” he said. “You can also select and add members whom you wish to invite to CDMessenger conferencing. Initiator of the online conferencing can also remove any user while the conference is going on.”
The CEO said the Chat History solves the problem of losing a minutes note or forgetting key details about the meeting. We’ve heard managers misplacing meeting notes or spilling coffee over them. “All the chat transcripts, conference transcripts along with the messages exchanged are saved and stored for future references.” Likewise, any agreement dispute that may occur weeks after the meeting can easily be resolved by going through the chat details. “Now there will be no chance of skipping any important point of the conference even if needed you can go through the conference again to clear all your doubts,” the CEO said.
Another common problem with group meetings is forgetting about the schedule or important details because smaller meetings are easily glossed over by bigger corporate events. The CEO said that pocket diary planners are useful, but “it is not always feasible to have a constant access to these planners.” A good option is, he said, is to have Sticky Notes posted on your desktop. “Once placed on your desktop, your sticky messages will remain in place even after a system reboot.”
Lastly, he highlighted the importance of having a delivery guarantee when circulating company notices. Imagine your field staff’s frustration for missing a memo on the cancelled on-location event. “CDMessenger notice board feature fill that gap effectively. These notices are persistent in nature and keep popping up on the screen of recipients until and unless it is marked read and closed buy the recipient.” The sender can see the names of recipients who have read the notice and, conversely, those who haven’t.
The company’s CEO revealed that CDMessenger will soon feature apps for iPhone/iPad and Android devices. The mobile apps will further extend the IM app’s useful features to remote areas or while you’re on the move.
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