Freaky Fun Fridays with Technology: Slack

As well-known author and motivational speaker Simon Sinek has pointed out regarding the COVID-19 pandemic: there’s no going back to normal. Life will not be the same. And that includes both our personal lives and how we operate our businesses. But while change is inevitable, it doesn’t have to be threatening. Companies don’t have to go out of business because of coronavirus, they just have to adapt.

How will they do that? For many, technology will be the key to reinventing themselves. In particular, finding ways to collaborate more effectively with coworkers, customers, and others will be critical. For example, a tool like Slack can help keep everyone connected and on the same page. And, having guidance from experts who know how to get the most out of Slack can keep your company from wasting precious time trying to get up to speed on the tool.

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Centralizing and Simplifying Your Business Communications with Slack

One of the challenges for businesses when it comes to communication is that there are so many ways to connect—both internally and with customers and prospects. Email, phone, text, live chat… the list goes on and on.

Slack has a large and loyal user base because it serves as a single communications platform that everyone can use. The system provides a wide range of features to help businesses connect more efficiently and work more productively, including:

  • “Channels” that make it easy to coordinate conversations based on topics, projects, or teams
  • Searchable history that enables users to find past communications quickly
  • External channel sharing to streamline collaboration with clients
  • Private messaging
  • Voice and video calls
  • Integration with other systems like Google Drive, Office 365, and literally thousands more
  • Workflow Builder to automate repetitive actions and communications
  • Sharing of documents and other files
  • Enterprise-grade security to protect your data

A Slack feature that has become especially valuable during the COVID-19 pandemic is the ability to integrate with chat. This integration allows your team to support customers and prospects when they’re working and hand things off to an automated chatbot when they’re not.

Saving Time Using Slack as Your Communications Hub

It’s hard to quantify the amount of time employees at organizations that don’t use Slack (or similar communication platforms) spend searching for the information they need. “Where is that email thread where Megan gave me an update on the Denver project? And did she send that just to me, or was Mike copied as well?” It’s surely many minutes each day, which add up to hours each week, and potentially the equivalent of days each month.

Slack eliminates that kind of time wasting. Users have all the information they need at their fingertips, and when new questions come up, they can connect with coworkers in real time to get answers. That helps reduce the downtime that occurs when you have to wait for someone to receive, open, and respond to an email.

Plus, in addition to your communications, all the resources people need to do their work are available through Slack. That means you don’t have to open SharePoint or Google Drive and hunt for that important document.

Slack also enables you to turn conversations into action items in tools like Basecamp and Asana so that important tasks don’t get overlooked. And even if something isn’t an action item, if you get mentioned in a Slack channel, the system notifies you using parameters that you set in terms of the method, frequency, etc.

Enhancing Productivity Using Slack

Slack is great at boosting productivity through connections to other systems. These connections are easy to establish because Slack has what’s called an API (for application programming interface).

When programs are integrated with one another, they can share data seamlessly and even control one another to a certain extent. This helps the people using these systems be more productive because they can get the information they need quickly and without having to take lots of actions—things like logging into the other program, conducting a search, etc. The two systems handle all of that behind the scenes.

Zapier is an easy-to-use tool that can help you create simple integrations with the Slack API quickly and efficiently. For example, if something happens in another system and you want to be alerted about the event in Slack, Zapier can help you create the connection and the rules you need to make that happen. Or, if a marketing lead is added to your CRM and you want to be able to connect with the prospect promptly, an integration can be set up to alert you in Slack.

Workflows are another powerful productivity-boosting feature in Slack. They can be triggered by events you define and then perform specified actions. For instance, you might define a workflow that is executed when a new member joins a team, such as automatically providing an overview of the resources available on a particular Slack channel.

Slack and Security

Slack understands that having access to a wide range of data from one platform means that that platform has to be highly secure. That’s why the system uses the most advanced security and governance features, including:

  • Single sign-on
  • User/group provisioning
  • Enterprise mobility management
  • Data encryption (at rest and in transit)
  • Data loss prevention
  • Global retention policies
  • Audit logs
  • Integration management

Learn More About Slack for Your Organization

When it comes to technology, knowledge is power. Even if you aren’t ready to implement Slack or another communication and collaboration tool right now, it’s always good to have some background on these systems in case the need for them arises down the road. If you have questions about Slack, we’re happy to share what we know about the platform. Contact Azence at your convenience.