Should I Be Using Slack?

Question

What’s your opinion of Slack as a business tool?

Answer

This question was answered on August 9, 2018.

Messaging amongst co-workers is one of the most important forms of communication that your organization relies upon and Slack is an interesting tool for this constant need in all businesses.

I’ve been recommending businesses look at Slack (https://slack.com) as a means to thwart so many of today’s corporate-focused phishing scams, but it provides much more than just secure, private messaging.

A Little History
The initial creation of this cloud-based platform was as an internal communication tool developed by a group of developers working on an online gaming project.

When it became clear that the gaming project was not going to make it to market, the company refined their internal communication tool and started making it available to other companies.

What Does Slack Do?
In a nutshell, Slack is a combination of various familiar messaging platforms (chat, instant messaging, email) mixed with file sharing.

You start by creating a team or teams, depending upon your corporate structure and then create various channels that can either be public or private – think of channels as themes or topics.

All the information posted publicly is searchable by anyone in your organization from a single place, which is one of the biggest benefits to most companies.  Imagine a new employee being able to search every previous communication or uploaded file about virtually any subject from any device.

It essentially keeps important company communications and files from being trapped in individual email accounts and creates an archive for every current or future employee to use as well.

How Can It Help?
If you think about how much of today’s inter-office communication is conducted via email, it’s not hard to see how lots of important information never get’s to everyone that should be in the loop.

Unless an employee remembers to CC or BCC someone that should be part of a conversation -which done incorrectly is a constant irritation in and of itself - that person will be left out of the loop.

Another huge challenge that most companies face is a single employee being tricked by a clever scammer’s email message that is posing as a fellow employee or important person in management.

By moving all your inter-office communications to a platform like Slack, you can instantly train every employee to be suspicious or ignore any email message that claims to be from another employee or company management.

Slack offers a free version of its tool that may be all a small group may need: https://goo.gl/mqvpQC

Potential Issues
As popular as this platform has become with so many businesses, there are things you’ll need to consider before attempting to convert your company to this new tool.

Using Slack can easily be perceived as ‘yet another thing I have to check’ by your already busy employees, so make sure you understand what it will take for Slack to become valuable to everyone, not just management.

Slack stores all of your communications on its own servers; if that’s a non-starter for you, check out open source, self-hosted alternatives from Mattermost (https://mattermost.com) or Rocket.Chat (https://rocket.chat).

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Author

Posted by Ken of Data Doctors on August 9, 2018