As a Millennial, I enjoy finding tools that increase productivity and make life easier. It’s less that I want to never leave my desk and more that I want to maximize my ability to do things in the most efficient way possible. As much as older generations of workers like to blame new software applications and gadgets for being distractions, when I find a new one that I really like and is valuable, I have to try it. It’s also my job to explore the newest technologies – we can’t just keep recommending the same tools to our clients knowing that there could potentially be better technology out there. That said, the other day I encountered Slack on a blog I was reading and decided to give it ago. Since then, we’ve decided to replace our office chat software with Slack. Here are a few things I like about it and I why I think it’s a great replacement for other communication tools like Microsoft’s Lync or Skype.
No fluff, just function.
There are endless options for office collaboration and chat. Some of them are a little too robust with tons of functionality and un-used features, while others leave something to be desired from an integration perspective. When you’re analyzing applications to collaborate among your co-workers, it’s important to explore exactly what you’re looking for. Slack is structured with Channels and uses hash tags to manage the conversation in a way similar to Twitter. You can use a single hash tag to discuss different aspects of projects, clients or subjects that apply to certain departments and the “random” channel by default broadcasts to the entire group that you’ve invited.
Some powerful integrations.
While I love simple, businesses still need any new software they adopt to integrate with everyday applications that they use on a regular basis. A simple look at slack.com/integrations yields integrations with PM software Asana, Twitter, Mailchimp, DropBox, Google Drive, GoToMeeting and tons of other popular applications. Their open API means that new integrations are being introduced all the time, as you’ll find if you explore deeper into the integration community for developers. You can take Slack as it comes or add these integrations if you want a more robust and integrated experience. In today’s world – we need applications that play nice so that they can adapt to different business processes and workflows easily.
Confession: I’m a Mac guy stuck in an office full of PCs. I struggled daily to make Lync play nice on all my iDevices, but Slack is completely cross-platform, so everything just works. You can leave your desk and continue a conversation on your phone – or your Apple Watch (mine will be here soon), since the platform just launched their Apple Watch app. Continuity and mobility are crucial for me – since I’m literally constantly on the go strategizing with clients. Some businesses need that, some businesses don’t.
The short of it? If you’re looking for a way to manage office communication and are sick of the back and forth of e-mail – Slack offers a really nice, fully integrated and cross-platform option to help you keep in touch and keep project details together in a central location. While some might write it off as the latest over-valued app, I think this one is going to do big things for how employees communicate within organizations. We’ve already adopted it office-wide throughout Entech and are pretty happy with the result. Some people even say that it’ll eliminate e-mail completely. To that I say: One can only hope.