Slack is a cloud-based team collaboration tool that supports direct and community based communication for your workforce.
The birth child of Flickr co-founder Stewart Butterfield, Slack first emerged in August 2013 and was widely claimed to be the "email killer" as it made both direct and community conversions more instant, more hip and more coordinated.
In 2019, Slack boasts 10 million daily active users and 85,000 paid customers.
The Wardman UK team use Slack daily to communicate. The channel feature lets us segment each department's communications into specific inboxes #marketing, #connectivity etc. Each department-specific channel is an ideal space for reporting between team members, referring tasks to other channels and collating ideas. The ability for multiple team members to communicate in one thread instantaneously has a massive advantage over email, instead of five separate answers to one question, you can have one clear discussion to produce one clear answer.
I have the website portal pinned to my taskbar and notifications enabled so I always see any relative messages. I find our usage just about the right amount of noise, I can see it being pretty loud when you introduce 100+ users.
Furthermore to the professional practicality of the communication channels, we also use Slack for social conversation via our #random channel where we share interesting news stories, organise social events such as Christmas parties and where I occasionally fall victim of memes for being an "Apple fan-boy".
Slack is great for sharing files - PDF, jpeg, png and mp4 etc. A cool feature here is Slack pastes retaining the original format, allowing us to share code and Html without the format changing.
Searching archived conversations is something I have found super useful. It allows me to essentially CC myself into conversations that happened prior to my employment and pick up on uncompleted projects or view an original brief on an ongoing or completed project.
You can also video call on Slack but this is a feature I do not use and seldom see used in our office but its there.
Slack also has a mobile app both for Android and iOS so you can stay connected on the go. I use the app out of office hours to dump ideas, as they come to me, into my channel and start a conversation or briefing prior to arriving at the office the next morning. For some this may seem undesirable and intrusive to have colleagues lighting up your phone at 22:30 on a Tuesday night with a link to "the 9 mistakes everyone makes in a sales pitch" or that marketing guy sharing an infographic on an activity spike on your website that only he understands or finds interesting (me), but at Wardman UK, we relish and encourage the constant space for ideas and conversation.
Need a bit of quiet? no problem, set it to quiet mode, in a meeting or out of office.
Slack is customisable. You can set your display scheme to any colour. It could represent your branding or just your favorite colour.
Never has data security been more at the front of our minds and Slack takes every measure to data is fully encrypted on Slack both in transit and at rest and the data residency feature allows users to select where they have their data stored, therefor which regulatory bodies they wish to rule over their data. Formally, all data was stored in the USA, but this year Frankfurt, Germany will be the first data region outside the of the USA. Find our what Slack say about their Data residency here.
Slacks Security Features
- Data encryption in transit and at rest
- SAML-based SSO
- SCIM provisioning
- Granular app management
- Custom message retention
- Slack Enterprise Key Management (Slack EKM) (Add-on for Slack Enterprise Grid)
- Support for data loss prevention (DLP), enterprise mobility management (EMM), HIPAA and e-discovery
Slack is priced pretty expensive, especially if they deem you at enterprise level, one of the universally agreed pitfalls about the cloud-based communication tool but it does include more interesting features than its current competitors.
I will wrap this up by saying Slack is pretty cool, super useful and revolutionary when compared to traditional email. Slack is the key to productivity in our office and allows us to communicate much more fluid that email did alone. Email is dead, well at least for internal communications.
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