Ben Hatton Slack: An app that takes collaboration to the next level

November 18, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Effective communication within a company is vital for its long-term success, and we’re no exception at Data Cave. With multiple internal projects going on at any given time, an expansive infrastructure to monitor and maintain, and staff that aren’t always in the same place within the facility, the ability to communicate quickly within the Data Cave team is a very big deal for us and our redundancy levels. Slack logo

Earlier this year we began using Slack for much of our internal communications and notifications on different projects, and it has become a very effective tool for us. Our objective was to find a communication tool that was easy to use, provided a good range of functionality, was mobile-friendly, and stable (finding the right tool that meets all of those requirements is actually pretty tough!). All in all, we have been very happy with it, and if you have been looking to enhance your organization’s internal communication methods, keep reading to hear our thoughts about it!

About Slack

At its core, Slack is an instant messaging communication tool that can be accessed on computers as well as mobile devices. It allows for both private and group messaging, as well as team-wide chats that can be broken down by topic.

Slack interface

The Slack user interface.

Benefits we’ve seen

Over the past several months, our team’s internal communications have been greatly enhanced from using Slack, in a number of different ways:

1) More visibility into projects: Like most companies, our internal communications include a little bit of everything (emails, IM’s, hand-written notes, etc.), but by shifting a decent portion of these communications over to Slack, we’ve found that it’s been much easier for everyone to stay in the loop on all of the data center projects we have going on. The functionality for multiple chat channels has played a big part in this, as well as the ability to easily upload attachments. Overall it has provided a much higher level of visibility and organization for all of our internal projects, which has resulted in them moving forward much more efficiently than they had in the past.

2) Very mobile-friendly: Data Cave is a big facility, with lots of moving parts and things that go on behind the scenes. This effectively guarantees that none of us are going to be glued to our computers all day. This is where Slack’s mobile app comes in; it’s very intuitive and easy to use, offering all of the same major functionality as the web application. Through this we can stay in the loop with what is going on in each channel, regardless of where we are.

3) Third-party integration: Slack is an open platform that integrates with a wide range of  third-party applications. We are able to tie in some of the additional outside applications and services that we use for various activities at Data Cave, and view notifications as well as perform some actions from directly within Slack. To that end, Slack has proven very effective at allowing us to view information (and take action when needed) that is created from multiple outside services, all within one central application. There are a lot of chat and instant messaging services out there, but very few have taken this approach of deep service integration.

Final thoughts

Overall, Slack has had a tremendous impact on how we communicate at Data Cave. Not only has it allowed for better visibility and faster communication on our internal projects, but more importantly it has improved how efficiently these projects get completed. The ability for us to work efficiently as a team is why we are able to grow and stay on top of today’s data center trends, and Slack is one of the tools that helps us to do just that. I would highly recommend Slack for any organization that is looking to enhance its internal communications, and to see the benefits that come out of it!

 

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