Founded by Flickr Creator, Slack Launches to Tackle Internal Corporate Communications
Internal communications is an aspect that has continued to haunt companies as they scramble between using one set of tools to another, often mixing them up creating difficult to trace trails and records of what is being said by whom and when. At DailySocial we're proud to say that we've been using Slack for the past few months. The messaging and collaborative app, built by Flickr co-founder Stewart Butterfield and his team at Tiny Speck, was officiallylaunched overnight.
Prior to Slack we were one of those teams that used whichever tools that can get the job done but we mainly used email and Skype because everybody had them. These tools worked to an extent but Skype has never really been mobile friendly despite what the company, and now Microsoft, would like you to believe.
The thing about emails is that things can get muddled between internal and external communications and conversation threads can get split up. Additionally, sending an email for something that amounts to nothing more than one or two lines can be a little overkill, not to mention inefficient, so Slack's Internet Relay Chat-style interface provides a better alternative. Its integration options for services such as Dropbox, Google Drive, Github, Asana, Twitter, and even Google Hangouts as well as API access for custom services make it a highly customizable dashboard that brings a significant productivity value to an otherwise simple-looking app.
The app's IRC-style channels for managing team conversations and Twitter-like user name mentions and direct messages combine for a simple, practical, and powerful communications tool that's pleasant to use, not to mention having the ability to create private channels for limited members as well as active and adjustable notifications both on mobile and desktop environments.
Slack has helped us to streamline our activities and keep tabs on who's online and who's not at any time. This last point is especially useful as we can be highly mobile. Unfortunately, the nature of mobile networks in Indonesia, especially Jakarta, is such that Slack's seeming demand for a stable data connection is undermined, preventing a smooth operation of the app. Specifically, the mobile app sometimes would refuse to send messages having unable to re-establish or maintain connection with the server. Fortunately the Slack team is aware of this and is working on a solution.
External factor aside, it's been a lot easier with Slack to communicate among colleagues and between different teams as well as tracking and managing conversations, messages, files, and references for which we rely upon for work. The biggest stumbling block that we've come across in the few months that we've been using the app was getting everyone to pick up the habit of not only checking the app but also mentioning specific persons to draw attention to particular messages of greater importance. Once we cleared that hurdle, email usage dropped significantly as far as internal chatter is concerned. At that point, we already weren't using Skype internally anymore.
Slack is available as an app for Android, iOS, Mac, and from the web with pricing options ranging from free with basic access to US$15 per user per month, with options for more premium services costing up to $99 scheduled for availability in 2015.
[header image from Shutterstock]