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Slack in the wild: Is the collaboration app a hit or a myth?

John Brandon | June 9, 2015
Slack is one of those rare business tools that comes along once in a while that shifts the technology landscape. In a nutshell, Slack is a team collaboration app that essentially turns email into a group effort, allowing users to create channels where discussions take place in public so everyone can participate. While Slack has some serious competition from apps like Convo and Circuit, it seems to be gaining the most momentum.

[Related: As collaboration tools multiply, here's how to avoid overload] 

Monitoring social media. One surprise for companies using Slack is that the tool can integrate with existing social media channels, which means they don't have to reply on tools like TweetDeck or Sprout Social as much. Golden Frog's Staples said his company uses Slack to monitor all company mentions. They have a dedicated channel called Brand Mentions to track this activity. While email apps can pull in RSS feeds and help you monitor mentions and direct messages, it's harder to do that for an entire brand in a way that lets everyone see the activity in a public channel. Slack does just that. 

Keeping up on news. TicketCity told their company also has channels set up to track news. As a sports ticketing agency, it's important to stay up on news and information from almost every league. So they created a dedicated channel that pulls an RSS feed from such sites as CBS Sports, ESPN and USA Today. This saves employees from having to use a different app or browse to those sites and keeps everyone focused on the work collaboration. It also means employees are seeing the same reports and can hold discussions about them in real time. 

Fostering business relationships. Another ironic benefit of using Slack is that it encourages deeper relationships. TheSquareFoot's Susman says employees know they'll be a part of discussions and not excluded by private email threads, which can be a closed loop of information sharing. It's human nature to want to feel part of the process, and Susman says using Slack offers a way to keep everyone in the loop and foster input and a sense of ownership from a much greater percent of the company community.


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