Digital technology is helping us in so many aspects of our lives to make things quicker, easier and more user-friendly. As project managers have to deal with so many different digital applications in their workloads these days, there are plenty of new programmes out there to help you organise your responsibilities.
Slack is increasingly becoming the prominent platform in which to communicate with teams. Only started in 2013, the app now has over half a million users – with a 75% increase in only 6 months which is continuing to grow. It's essentially an instant messaging app, making use of our social media habits for better communication in business. Instead of emailing info to each other, you can now 'slack it'. Showing your availability online can also allow you to video chat amongst colleagues too. For international companies or where central office is not where other parts of the business are located, this is very convenient and useful for project managers to understand and check up on how their plans are being carried out.
But what makes Slack so much more useful and innovative is the fact that integration is its main function – seamlessly inserting itself into the applications you already use but making it the first point of call for notifications and organisation. This means that you can interact with your apps directly through Slack with customised slash commands. Over 100 services can be integrated including Blossom, Twitter, Dropbox and MailChimp as well as other project management software such as Trello, Asana and Basecamp. If you add on Zapier to connect with Slack, another 400 services are available to integrate including Gmail and Evernote.
We all hate a clogged up inbox and it is difficult to keep track of all the different notifications you receive from different programmes, with the need for separate logs ins and using different interfaces. Slack simplifies this problem by becoming the main communications hub for all your teams by channelling all the information from different apps to this one interface. It almost eradicates the use of email amongst your business team, reserving it only for discussions with clients and people outside of the business itself.
The only potential problem is that through integrating all the different media channels through one operator, Slack essentially can become another email inbox overflowing with notifications of updates and comments and messages from colleagues. The ease with which we can communicate with each other these days sometimes makes some of the practicalities of working more difficult to handle with people able to comment almost endlessly.
Slack tries to handle this problem by allowing private messaging and the ability to separate large group chats into smaller 'channels' as conversations progress. There is also a search function in order to easily locate text that in other instant messaging apps gets lost as the myriad of incoming messages continues. You can also use Slack on desktop as well as iOS and Android so you can keep up with what is happening from the office as well as when on the move.
But overall, by making team communication easier and more efficient for modern industry in the digital age, Slack is saving businesses both time, energy and money by allowing project managers to take control of their apps across multiple channels through only one tap.