What is Slack?
Team environments leave you bombarded with a raft of messages sent to the entire group–often with no specific action items for you. Three months later, you get a request around a topic and spend HOURS searching for the information to either validate or defend your position–only to discover that the email has either disappeared into the ether or that you were wrong and now have to back down (oops!).
Why drain your productivity and add to your frustration level when there’s a simple tool that will help resolve team communication into something manageable? That “special something” is Slack–a relatively new web app from one of the co-founders of Flickr.
1. Keep Conversations Focused
Email strings can quickly go off the rails as you pull in extra people, need to drop off others . . . chaos can quickly ensue. Slack allows you to group conversations around Channels, and how you define Channels is completely up to you. Some teams use them for project-based conversations, bug reporting, inter-team hookups and as a way to aggregate personal blog posts or even baby pictures.
2. Tight Integration with Services
The list of services that Slack offers native click-based integration with is long and growing. While many of the apps are programmer-based such as mobile crash analysis and reporting Crashlytics or web analytics GoSquared, web apps such as Google Drive, DropBox, and G Hangouts will benefit a broad range of businesses. See real-time information from internal and external customers with Twitter, Qualtrics, ProofMe and other impressive options.
3. One-Box Search
Searching and filtering out the noise is an essential functionality and one of the many places where Slack excels. Find information on a particular topic across all Channels that you have access to, and quickly drill down into the individual messages that pertain to your needs. While many project management platforms offer this functionality such as Basecamp or Asana, Slack aggregates information that isn’t tied to a particular project or around topics that aren’t big enough to be formal plans just yet. MS Outlook could learn a thing or two about discoverability from Slack!
4. Document Collaboration
Finding (and keeping) the most recent version of documents can be a challenge to even the most structured teams, but Slack makes it easy. Integration with Dropbox, Google Drive and more allow you to use your document storage solution of choice along with the Slack app to redefine your workflows and share mass quantities of information without worrying about overloading an Exchange server.
5. Platform Agnostic
Today’s always-on workforce needs to be able to communicate where and when they’re available–and that could be on the football field, dance studio or sitting in the pickup line at school. Slack gets it and has mobile apps that work to let you keep up with the flow of conversation even when you’re not sitting at your desk in the office. The channel-based communication makes it quick and easy to pick back up in the conversation or answer a question from the road.
6. Private Conversations
Controlling who sees accurate information has never been easier than with Slack! When you need full transparency, and the entire team should see a topic, not a problem. Adding people to a channel provides them not only with future information but a full backlog of content so they can browse at will. However, when you need to have a private conversation with someone, send them a direct message right from within Slack and be confident in its security.
If these aren’t enough reasons to love Slack, here’s a bonus in three words: New Employee Handbook. Why start your employee out with an empty email inbox? Tag them into some particular Slack channels to get up to speed on the main topics quickly and begin to learn the communication styles of individuals–which can help them assimilate successfully and start adding value to your teams.
What are you waiting for? It’s time to Slack.