In this blog series, we showcase small business IT cloud tools we think help our clients run their small businesses better. We don’t have any affiliation with the companies, nor are we concerned about increasing their sales. We just like these tools and think you will too.
Our pick for group communication and project management: Slack
Anyone who’s tried to communicate with a group of people or manage a digital project knows this can result in hundreds of emails passed back and forth. The more emails you send, the less people read them. The project suffers and important tasks are often missed.
Slack is based around group communication. It’s a messaging tool for business that can be tailored to different themes and projects. It offers real-time messaging, file sharing and conversations (which can be among the group or happen one-to-one).
You can use it on your desktop or your smartphone — all the data is automatically synced — making it easy to manage projects and have conversations on the go.
We use Slack here at TWT. Here’s why we like it:
Transparent & Collaborative
When using Slack, you can see what everyone else is doing and saying. If you need an update on a day’s tasks, you can easily review the conversations instead of sending out a mass email. These conversations are also searchable, making it easy to go back and find a key insight or assignment.
You can also invite your clients or other external parties to join you on Slack, making it a great option for collaborative projects. But you can also maintain private groups for discussions that shouldn’t include clients (like when you share funny cat videos).
Slack let’s you organize your discussions in channels, which gives users context and helps save time. It’s clear you’re discussing Project B or the annual report because the discussion is inside the appropriate channel.
You can also invite particular people into a discussion that care about the topic. Team members who don’t need to be a part of a particular discussion can be excluded from the channel.
Notifications & Reminders
To cut down on clutter, you can adjust your settings so that you only receive a notification when someone mentions you directly. You’ll know when you need to jump in and contribute to the conversation.
Third Party Integrations
Slack integrates with lots of third party services, like Google Drive, Dropbox and Twitter. You can pull data and information from these services directly into Slack channels and keep your staff informed. This really helps make Slack your go-to communication platform for your team.
The basic version of Slack is free, no matter how many people on your team are using it. If you want to keep the history of your chats, archive your data or access more security features, you do have to pay a fee.
Slack even comes with a programmable bot that helps you set up your profile and generate automatic responses to posts in channels. Its name is Slackbot and it makes your life easier.
We asked some of our staff members why they like Slack. Here’s what they had to say:
“I would have to say my favourite feature is how un-intrusive it is compared to email. I can get an instant response and have everyone talking in a thread but I don’t have to watch it like email. It notifies me if someone requires my direct attention (by tagging me).”
“The best feature of Slack for me is the ability to organize conversations. We can group them into discussions by company, or by internal items like our availability, which helps us see who is free to leave the office and see our clients. We are also able to separate a spot for us to talk about random, personal items like that funny clip we want to share with the team, but it doesn’t have to get in the way of the work conversation. It’s our version of the water cooler for gossip and chat.”
Interested in more cloud solutions? Check these out:
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