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Slack; team communication for the 21st century

13th November 2016

SlackFor years people have been searching and waiting for something to replace email. Email is an undoubtedly successful and useful program developed, designed and laid out in different ways by companies such as Microsoft and Google however; many believe that there is a need for more progress.

Slack is an application for real-time messaging specifically for groups of people within a business. It boasts itself for being intuitive and has been developed specifically for ‘team communication in the 21st century’. The makers describe the software as being ‘a messaging app for teams who are changing the world’ on its site due to it being used by the team who were in charge of the Mars Curiosity rover. So far it has gained 1.25 million active business users in the last two years.

Slack allows it’s users to create channels in order to organise conversations for different projects, topics and teams. These channels can be private, or not. Direct messages can also be sent in order to communicate with just one member of your team or organisation which is completely private and secure. It allows you to not only communicate messages in your channels but all files, images, PDFs, documents, and spreadsheets can be dropped into Slack and shared with anyone you choose. These documents can be commented on, searched for and ‘starred’ to come back to later.

In order to avoid the irritation of having to switch between apps, Slack allows the user to connect all of their frequent apps to Slack and receive all notifications within the app so everything is in one common place. Depending on what the user wans, the notification alerts can be set to notify you on everything, specific things or nothing. To ensure that you can easily find everything you send and archive within Slack, the app allows you to search everything you have ever sent or received to find that one message or file you are looking for.

Slack is currently set up for small to medium sized teams however, it is in the process of being developed for larger ‘enterprises’ that will be able to manage and connect sub-teams across the entire company. As it stands, you can have Slack for free however it would only be suitable for a small company or team due to a small amount of storage (5GB) per team, 10k of your team’s most recent messages and the free version only has the ability to have two-person phone calls. In order to get more through Slack as well as what you get for free you can either pay £5.46 for the standard version or £10.24 for the plus version. What is included under each price can be found on the Slack website.