Slack is designed by Slack Technologies and is an instant messaging program that is owned by Salesforce.
Slack makes use of IRC (Internet Relay Chat) style features such as private groups, direct messaging and channels that are organised by topics. The platform started out as an internal tool for Stewart Butterfield’s company – Tiny Speck – during the development of an online game – Glitch.
The acronym Butterfield chose for Slack is ‘Searchable Log of all Conversation and Knowledge,’ he chose this in 2012 to replace the previous code name – linefeed. In simpler terms, Slack is an enterprise software platform that allows teams and organisations of all sizes to communicate effectively.
Their total funding amounts to $ 1.4 billion. in June 2019, the company went public through a direct public offering that made them reach a market value of $ 19.5 billion.
On January 1 2021, Slack was acquired by Salesforce at the value of $ 27.7 billion. The acquisition was closed on July 21, 2021. Slack is a freemium product and its main paid features give you the opportunity to search for more than 10,000 archived messages and to add unlimited apps and integrations.
|Ease of Use
Getting Started with Slack
This section of the article reveals a detailed guide on how to get acquainted with Slack.
1. Select Try for Free either on the right side of the screen or beside the moving illustration.
2. Input your email and enter the code that has been sent to your email.
3. Select if you want to create a workspace or open a workspace you have been on.
4. Select Create a workspace.
5. Input the name of your company/team and select Next.
6. Begin adding teammates via their email or you add your Google contacts and select Next.
7. Indicate what your team is working on right now and select Next.
This is what your Slack workspace looks like.
There are 3 pricing plans in Slack and they include:
1. Pro Plan
This plan is for small teams who want better collaboration. It starts at $7.25 per person/month (when billed yearly) and $8.75 per person/month (when billed monthly).
This plan comes with free benefits including unlimited apps and integrations, unlimited message history, secure work with other companies using Slack Connect channels and unlimited lightweight, voice-first huddles.
2. Business+ Plan
This plan helps to scale your business, increase productivity and keep your team connected. It starts at $12.50 per person/month (when billed yearly) and $15 per person/month (when billed monthly).
This plan comes with all the greatness of the Pro plan including Data exports for all messages, 99.9% guaranteed uptime, SAML-based single sign-on and user provisioning and de-provisioning.
3. Enterprise Grid
This plan gives complex enterprises all the flexibility and power to meet regulatory requirements and growth. You’ll have to contact Slack’s sales team for s price estimate.
It comes with all the greatness in the Business + plan including Designated customer success teams, unlimited workspaces, HIPPA-compliant message and file collaboration and support data loss prevention (DLP), offline backup providers and e-Discovery.
How Slack’s Dashboard Works
1. The clock icon beside the search bar is to go through your workshop history.
2. Selecting your profile picture at the right end is to update your status, check your profile and set up your preferences.
3. Selecting your workspace (Product Curve) gives you the option of inviting people to your workspace, adding workspaces and customising your workspace or using the desktop app.
Features of Slack
This consists of sections in a team or an organisation. Assuming you have a marketing company, your channels in Slack may consist of Brainstorming, Content Strategy, SEO, Content Scheduling and the like.
How It Works
Be sure to be logged in to your Slack account. Select Channels at the end of your dashboard to either work on the sub-forums or to create/add a new channel.
The general channel includes the whole team (sections/department) and is for wide conversations, brainstorming and announcements. You can edit the channel’s description and add more people.
You can check messages far back as last month, the most recent or a specific date.
The random channel is for loosening up. Jokes, spur-of-the-moment ideas and GIFs are shared on this channel. The channel’s description can also be edited and you can add teammates.
Your workspace channel (in this case 2023-q1) is for your team, to share and brainstorm ideas. To add a new channel, select add channels and click on create a new channel or browse channels.
Selecting create a new channel is to name your channel (its best name/organized around a topic) and the channel’s description. You can make the channel private so that teammates can view and join by invitation.
When creating a channel, you can add general members or add specific people. This is just my created channel; I can choose to add a description and add more people.
Selecting browse channels is to search for channels either by name or description.
2. Audio Conversation with Huddles
Huddles accommodate a maximum of 2 participants on the free plan whereas, on the paid plan, you can have up to 50 participants.
You can communicate and connect with teammates over lightweight audio/video.
How It Works
Click on the headphone icon at the bottom left corner of your dashboard.
You can add a topic to the huddle; files, messages and links that are shared and sent are assessed as soon as the huddle is done.
Links can be copied and shared with those you’ll like to join.
The note thread icon is used to show or hide the thread that is associated with the huddle.
3. Automate with Workflow Builder
This makes your work and tasks easier. With the Workflow Builder; no coding is required, you simply choose how you want a workflow to start, then go step by step to decide what happens next.
You need to be on a paid plan to have access to this feature.
5. Keyword Highlight
Select your workspace (in this case Product Curve), click on Preferences, click on notifications and scroll down to the My Keywords section and list all the words you’ll like to get a notification for when it’s mentioned in any of your Slack channels.
You can also schedule when you’ll want to receive notifications.
6. Note Taking
The notebook feature was rolled out sometime in November and it helps you save (Slack) messages in your Notebook.
How It Works
Hover over any message and a list of prompts is displayed.
Select More actions (the three dots) and select add to the notebook.
To achieve this, you have to integrate Notebook into Slack – you can use Zapier, Zoho Notebook, Slite, Notion and /or xTiles.
7. Do Not Disturb
This feature gives you time to focus.
How It Works
Select your Workspace at the top left (in this case, Product Curve). Select Settings & Administration and click on Workspace settings.
You’re taken to a new page titled Settings & Permissions, scroll down to Do Not Disturb and select Expand.
Input the desired time and select Save.
8. Search Capabilities
Click on the search field and input what you want to see. I inputted messages.
To narrow your search, you make use of the modifiers.
9. Slack Connect
This is a better way of working with people outside your organisation. You can start with a direct message or create a channel.
If you select start a direct message, you input their email and have a conversation with them in their DMs whereas if you select create a channel, you experience Slack Connect with other premium collaboration tools with a free 30-day trial of Slack Pro.
Slack Ranking and Why We Recommend This Product
Now that we are aware of Slack being a communication and Human Resource (HR) tool, does it stack against specific user-centric parameters? These are what we found.
1. Search Function
With the use of filters and modifiers, Slack’s search function helps you find valuable conversations fast. This is also the best way to locate documents and files for any project.
On a scale of 1-5, Product Curve ranked it 5.
2. Instant Messaging
You can quickly send a message on Slack on the desktop or on the mobile app to be faster.
3. Ease of Use
Slack allows numerous app integrations. It is customisable and you have no trouble navigating around the platform. Slack also has an intuitive UI/UX design.
4. Update sharing
You can share updates with an audio or video clip (Huddles).
5. Privacy and Security
Comparative Analysis: Slack Review vs Microsoft Teams
This section looks at Microsoft Teams as an alternative communication and HR tool. We’ll cover Keap’s pricing plan, ratings from G2 and Capterra and features.
Microsoft Teams is developed by Microsoft and is a proprietary business communication platform. It offers workspace chat and videoconferencing, application integration and file storage.
Microsoft Teams was announced at an event in New York and was launched as a service worldwide on March 14, 2017.
Fun Fact: Microsoft considered bidding $8 billion for Slack.
Microsoft Teams Features & Services
1. Teams and channels
Microsoft channels are dedicated sections within a team to keep conversations organized by specific topics or projects.
2. Online Meetings
You can take your meetings to the next level by using Microsoft’s video conferencing feature, virtual event, audio conferencing and/or virtual meeting. This gives you the benefit of seeing your teammates and co-workers in addition to hearing what they are saying.
3. Audio Conferencing
Take audio conferences on your team by joining meetings that require you to dial a toll-free phone number and enter a conference ID.
Helps initiate conversations, create and name a group chat, add people to conversations and also brainstorm.
5. Document Storage in One Point
Files and documents are uploaded to a channel and stored in your Sharepoint folder.
Microsoft Team Pricing
Microsoft Team pricing plan varies from country to country. It has two pricing plans. This pricing plan is for customers and users situated in Nigeria.
1. Microsoft Teams Free
This is a free plan that comes with 5 GB of cloud storage per user, can accommodate 100 participants per meeting, file tasking, tasks and polling, data encryption for meetings, chats, calls and files, live captions in meetings, unlimited group meetings for up to 60 minutes.
2. Microsoft Team Essentials
This plan goes for $4 per user per month and comes with everything in the free plan including 10 GB of cloud storage per user, unlimited group meetings for up to 30 hours, and anytime phone and web support.
3. Microsoft 365 Business Basic
This plan goes for $6 per user per month and comes with everything in the Microsoft Team Essentials including business-class email, live captions in meetings (with over 30 languages), Microsoft whiteboard, team meetings recordings with transcript, web and mobile versions of Office apps, standard security, hundreds of collaborative apps.
4. Microsoft 365 Business Standard
This plan goes for $12.50 per user per month and comes with everything in the Microsoft 365 Business Basic including webinar hosting, desktop versions of Office apps with premium features, attendee registration, reporting tools, and management of customer appointments.
1. Microsoft Teams Free
It comes with unlimited chat with friends and family, 5 GB of One Drive cloud storage, Tasks and Polling, data encryption and meetings, chats, calls and files, and group calling for up to 60 minutes and 100 participants.
2. Microsoft 365 Personal
This plan goes for N2,699 per month and comes with everything in the free plan including creative tools for writing, design and graphics, 1 TB of cloud storage, group calling for up to 30 hours and 300 participants, ad-free email calendar and contacts in one place, access to the latest updates and new features, additional benefits, ongoing technical support for the duration of the subscription, premium versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint for PC, Mac, web and mobile, suitable for one person.
3. Microsoft 365 Family
This plan goes for N3,699 per month and comes with everything in the Microsoft 365 Personal including 6 TB of cloud storage (1 TB per person) and it is suitable for six people.
Benefits That Make Slack Stand Out
1. Slack boasts 2400 third-party application integrations.
2. Slack’s UX is very responsive when in use. You can navigate easily and quickly, especially as a new user. Slack also has a more onboarding system and step-by-step tutorials.
3. Slack offers customisable themes, custom welcome messages and personalized messages.
We’ve reached the end of this article and covered Slack with some reasons why you should give it a trial. Do try it out and we’ll be in the comment section to hear your feedback(s).