slack

File: everything you need to remember about Slack

A mix between Facebook, Skype and Drive, Slack is a collaborative communication space. More than a messaging application, this workplace deploys various features intended for professional users. Its partnership with Amazon Web Service has made it pragmatic. Data management and sharing, videoconferencing or remote project completion, everything is possible on this platform. Here are the details.

Slack is a collaborative communication space

Close to Facebook, Slack is made up of several workplaces. These are collaboration spaces where each participant can contribute to a discussion group. These communication channels are public or private depending on the choice of the initiators. It is also possible to communicate with a specific person via chat-type instant messaging.

Unlike traditional social networks, Slack has several extensions. These are “add ins” that integrate a multitude of third-party tools. Private spaces thus become collaboration platforms where projects come to life. As with Snaptchat discussion groups, each Slack instance can be renamed to suit the needs of the company using it.

It is up to each employee of a company subscribing to Slack to join the groups or channels that concern them. Furthermore, certain collaborative spaces remained public to accommodate new ideas. Regarding dialog boxes, 2 to 8 people can take part in the chat which remains private. Everyone can respond to a specific message or intervene generally in the group.

Members will be able to react with emoticons and GIFs like on Messenger. For certain circumstances, memos and RSS feeds are more relevant. Sharing Add-In extensions also allows you to collaborate effectively. Advocating productivity, Slack recently became owned by Salesforce. Since its launch in 2013, numerous innovations have been made by the team of Stewart Butterfield, Eric Costello and Serguei Mourachov.

Reasons to adopt this collaborative workspace

From the first try, Slack proves intuitive. The interface is surprisingly simple. The initial design was thought of by Stewart Butterfield, who is none other than the creator of Flickr. Improvements were made by MetaLab. Compared to Microsoft Teams or Basecamp, the application is easier to learn, even for users unaccustomed to high technology.

Efficiency is also a major asset for this Salesforce application. The commercial management software publisher wants to make work possible everywhere. Slack is software as a service or SaaS. It can be opened from a computer running Microsoft Windows, a terminal with Apple OS or a mobile phone running Google Android.

This SaaS breaks with communication software which tends to play the sobriety card. Blue is swapped for vibrant colors. That said, users can personalize the tool to their liking by changing the tone, even if it means adding a touch of humor to the instant messaging section.

Businesses can maintain control over their platform. Like Skype, only guests can take part in discussions. It is possible to exclude certain members. Then, users benefit from a high degree of confidentiality. For good reason, the administrator of a workplace, in this case the entrepreneur, can never interfere in chats between employees without their consent.

However, the real advantage of Slack would be its compatibility with other collaborative tools. Users will be able to benefit from an entire ecosystem of applications. These include development software such as GitHub, Jenkins and StackOverflow. Those who work with numbers can also incorporate Google Analytics or Salesforce. All this makes the platform a hub where all technical and commercial stakeholders meet.

A successful SaaS since its launch

Before tackling the question of pricing, it would be better to discuss some significant figures on Slack. The latter has recorded unequivocal growth since its launch year. Which leads to a valuation of $20 billion. Its collaborative tool has 6.8 million users per week. Nearly 5 million people connect to the platform daily. About a third of them are paying subscribers.

The success of Slack was so dazzling that many of its opponents preferred to change activities. The Australian developer Atlassian is one of those who chose cooperation in place and venue of the competition. The publisher of Confluence and Jira productivity software has decided to resell its messaging apps called Stride and HipChat to Salesforce. All of this has allowed Slack to consolidate its status as a leader in its chosen field.

It should be noted that Slack is available in free mode. This is the route taken by many users to discover its different functionalities. It subjects the user to a number of restrictions. He will not be able to view all of the messages. The number of integrated third-party applications stops at 10. The issuance of invitations is limited. Other constraints concern each workplace in free mode.

Several subscription plans to choose from

slack rates

In order to take full advantage of Slack’s features, the user must opt ​​for the paid version of the SaaS. There are several offers:

  • The Standard subscription is aimed at SMEs. The price is set at €6.25/month for each user. This pack includes video conferencing calls and screen sharing. It allows unlimited archiving and data integration. Third parties may also be invited.
  • The Plus version is an offering for larger businesses. Priced at €11.75/month per user, it includes the features of the Standard subscription. An authentication system based around SAML (SSO) is there. Customers can export files in their messages.
  • The Enterprise Grid formula is intended for multinationals as well as entities operating in a highly regulated field, including banks. These users will be able to open as many workspaces as they wish. Optimal data retention is added to the cart. The publisher’s experts are on hand to help large groups, particularly to comply with HIPAA legislation or other regulations. The service is à la carte and the price becomes personalized.

Collaboration with Amazon Web Service

amazon web services logo

Slack relies on Cloud, in this case Amazon Web Service. Moreover, the platform team only uses AWS technical resources with regard to Big Data. Thus, the data created from the workspace is stored in the servers of the American e-commerce giant. This exclusivity is not to the taste of Microsoft, which does not recommend Slack for Windows users. The Redmond firm offers Teams, the first alternative to the Salesforce collaboration space.

Whatever happens, Slack and AWS have signed a joint venture for several years. Cloud products and services are thus entrusted to Amazon for a long period. Furthermore, features such as voice and video calls rely on technological means provided by Jeff Bezos. This internet mogul is also the owner of Amazon Chime SDK. This tool acts as a support for all communication via Slack.

The Slack Enterprise Key Management functionality is managed by AWS which ensures the encryption of exchanges and content shared in the collaborative space. Conversely, Amazon uses Slack for its internal communication. Chatbot, AppFlow and various other applications consolidate this agreement. This mutual trust is reflected in interoperability between their respective supports to the delight of both individual and professional users.

A gain in productivity thanks to this collaborative tool

Companies subscribe to Slack with the aim of increasing productivity. The exponential increase in SaaS turnover proves the confidence that companies place in it. Structures of all sizes have adopted it to make it a central nervous system. More than effective internal communication, they aim to coordinate all applications that can be compatible with the workspace.

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In fact, Slack asks its professional subscribers to create a group which will be entitled to a URL. If necessary, the workspace also offers the possibility of locating the data in France. The servers mobilized are then those based in France. This reduces message loading time. Furthermore, using Slack allows you to use emails less and be less dependent on providers such as Outlook or Google. Centralized communication involves the storage of all exchanges, comments and files in case of need for consultation.

Above all, small and medium-sized businesses especially benefit from the free digital tool. Their managers do not have to provide a bank card number or proof of payment. Free mode is suitable for start-ups who use Android, iOS or Windows applications on a daily basis. Multi-choice and various other features are accessible before a subscription.

Belonging to Salesforce is a guarantee of seriousness

salesforce logo

Created by 4 friends with a richly varied digital heritage, Slack became a property of Salesforce in December 2020. The provider of online solutions focused on productivity and sales acquired the collaborative platform for a whopping $27 billion. This Cloud Computing giant announces this purchase as the most expensive it has ever made in its existence. Furthermore, it is also the second largest transaction in software history. To date, only Red Hat, which was acquired by IBM in 2018, is ahead of it with the sum of 34 billion dollars.

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff believes that this acquisition is an essential strategic investment. This ambitious bet allows it to consolidate its place on the chessboard of software and online work tools. The customer management (CRM) specialist intends to diversify and significantly expand its scope of activities. The call center solution publisher is launching into collaborative Cloud messaging.

Thanks to the acquisition of Slack, Salesforce can position itself against Microsoft Teams, the other benchmark in terms of communication platform. Which further fuels the rivalry between the two digital giants who are leading the way in the CRM sector. The Windows publisher must fight a daily battle for its Dynamics 365 tool pack to stand up to that of Saleforce.

Right now, Slack’s popularity is massively propelled by the COVID-19 crisis. Confinement requires, many companies forced to telework are turning to this solution to continue to collaborate remotely. Thus, Salesforce is banking on a future where productivity rhymes with working from home. Purchasing a platform dedicated to messaging will make the duel even more interesting. Although information is filtered in trickles, Slack will soon undergo changes to be as effective as Microsoft Teams.

The collaborative platform market is booming

Although Microsoft Teams and Slack are attracting the attention of companies when it comes to collaborative communication spaces, they are not the only existing platforms. Other providers are in the fray. This is the case of Flock, an alternative solution from India. Names such as Ryver or Glip are also starting to resonate. These two challengers stand out for the integration of a task manager into their service pack.

Fleep is yet another collaborative platform to remember. Developed by a former Skype mastermind, it addresses a certain number of challenges. The former product director of Microsoft chat and video software intends to bring additional features to his own project. Still growing, Fleep allows you to create discussion groups and pin files that are directly readable.

Microsoft and Salesforce are also closely following the evolution of open source communications platforms. Tenors such as Rocket.Chat or Mattermost are making themselves heard in this sector. Then there is Wrike which was purchased by the rising cloud star, Citrix in January 2021. Weighing 2.25 billion dollars, this collaborative space looks a lot like Slack.

Disturbing resemblance to Clubhouse

Some features of Slack are similar to those of Clubhouse. For beginners, this audio chat platform hosts thousands of hosts. Social network created in the midst of the Covid19 pandemic, it allowed Internet users to chat with personalities. Among the illustrious subscribers, there was the visionary billionaire Elon Musk, the presenter Oprah Winfrey and the rapper Drake.

Slack currently allows voice calls, but the dialogue takes place between community members first. In the near future, virtual chat rooms will emerge. They will be accompanied by video, but require the interviews to be scheduled in advance. The similarity with Clubhouse Rooms is striking. However, technicians reassure that the two platforms take two distinct developments. One maintains popularity and the other boosts productivity.

Protecting themselves against remarks about copying Clubhouse features, Slack officials are drawing attention to yet another adversary. They recognize more of following in Zoom’s footsteps. This videoconferencing application provider has existed since 2011. It offers free online meetings for up to 100 participants.

Regardless, Slack developers make no secret of their intention to draw inspiration from existing communication solutions. They can thus take models from Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. The launch of the equivalent of “Stories” is proof of this. Many are wondering if this new feature is really useful or a way to attract more customers.

The ambition to replace email and telephone

Thanks to Slack Connect, the collaborative platform intends to dethrone tools such as Microsoft Teams. This functionality allows you to communicate with around twenty distinct organizations. Which helps entrepreneurs manage all of their social partners in a single app. Slack has gone beyond Ethernet to become a technological alternative to email and telephone.

Sending messages to people outside the company has been a reality since 2017. It is possible thanks to shared channels. Thus, two organizations that have their own respective workspaces can interact. Slack Connect eliminates the need to regularly check emails. It supports exchanges with 20 separate interlocutors on a single screen.

Another notable feature, Slack Huddles allows the sending and receiving of voice calls. It is intended for companies that must adopt teleworking during a health crisis. Unlike what is done on Skype or Messenger, the conversation can be started with one click, without the typical sound of composition. It will even be possible to talk to several people like in a meeting room. Everyone is free to join or leave the discussion as they wish.

A Huddle can bring together up to 50 participants during general meetings. He offers to meet privately via an invitation system. In addition to voice, tools such as screen sharing or file sending bring employees closer together. This feature is accessible on PC or on a Smartphone if the boss wants to speak to an employee still stuck in traffic jams.

Slack is far from perfect

Those who use Slack on a daily basis can quickly list the application’s shortcomings. The platform has a number of shortcomings, all of which can be corrected.

  • The ability to create multiple channels can get confusing. For good reason, users find themselves continually consulting them to keep up to date with the latest news. Moreover, many companies believe that Slack is too time-consuming in addition to being addictive to a certain extent.
  • Users also deplore the lack of functionality that allows them to block or mute contacts. Which becomes problematic in the presence of harassers or colleagues who are too “sticky” in the company.

In February 2021, Slack made one of the worst mistakes of its existence. The platform recorded user data in plain text. This means that the compromising information has been exposed to third parties, in this case hackers. The problem arises from a bug in an Android application. It took a whole month for technicians to discover the error and take appropriate action. All subscribers, or around 10 million businesses, had to reset their passwords and clear the caches of the mobile application. As Dzamel Debbouzze says in the film Alad2: “What a disappointment”.