Slack Pros and Cons
Slack is a real-time collaboration and messaging platform that unifies all workplace communication into one tool. Besides instant messaging, users can also voice and video call each other, share documents, and screen-share. Slack allows plenty of third-party integrations such as Salesforce and Adobe Creative Cloud, ensuring that its native capabilities are supercharged for greater results. It is also easy to use and is suitable for all companies looking for a robust work chat client.
While it serves as a great tool for workplace communication, Slack does not replace a project management solution, however its lack of in-depth project management features such as shared calendars and to-do lists can be compensated for with third-party integrations.
In this Slack review, we will explore project management features, pricing, ease of use, add ons, and more.
What is Slack?
Slack is a team messaging tool developed by Slack Technologies and is an acronym for “Searchable Log of All Communication and Knowledge”. It started out as an internal collaboration tool for founder Stewart Butterfield’s online gaming company, Tiny Speck. Though originally designed for the MMORPG market, Slack immediately gained traction as an effective work chat client.
Today, Slack is used by over 12 million customers and some of the companies that use Slack as a communication tool include Zendesk, Deliveroo, BBC, and IBM.
Facts and Figures
|Founder||Stewart Butterfield, Cal Henderson, Eric Costello, Serguei Mourachov|
|Headquarters||San Francisco, California|
Slack Project Management Features
Slack is an essential team messaging tool that enables teams to have productive, real-time conversations in the workplace. With features such as instant messages, channels, and screen-sharing, teams can work with collaborators and clients inside and outside of the company. The Slack App Directory also boasts a wide variety of third-party integrations ranging from customer support to finance, ensuring that teams can integrate tools beneficial for their workflows. Finally, Slack’s open API also allows developers to build more add-ons and gives teams the ability to customize the platform even further.
Users can manage travel requests, scheduling messages for the future, and update teammates on a project’s progress with Slack’s project planning features.
Slack’s Workflow Builder helps teams create workflow routines that are automated and improve efficiency. Slackbot, a chat robot implemented by Slack, answers any question a user might have about using the app. It can also function as a virtual personal assistant such as setting reminders for important dates or deadlines. Teams can add customized responses to questions in Slackbot. For example, “What is the Wi-Fi password?”, which simplifies the onboarding process.
Communication & Collaboration
From software development to managing sales, Slack is a collaboration hub where team members can come together and discuss ideas.
Slack is known for its direct messaging features that allow members to communicate with each other instantly. It supports voice and video calling, and the use of emojis and GIFs. Users can also share screen with each other, which helps express complex ideas more clearly.
Users can send files to each other on Slack and access file storage software such as OneDrive, Google Drive, and Dropbox with third-party integrations. On Slack’s free plan, the file storage limit for the entire workplace is 5GB whereas each member on the Standard plan is limited to 10GB of storage.
In Slack, different aspects of a project or different departments of a team can have their own communication platform named “Channels”. Channels can be public, private, or shared. Public channels are useful for external collaboration as vendors and clients can be added without them viewing private channels. Channels keep threads of conversations separate and organized, getting everyone on the same page.
Slack offers users a personal space where they can take down notes and reminders for later use. Users can click on their own names in the direct messages list to open a chat window and type in notes. Slack also provides users the choice to format text according to the markdown style. Once the note has been composed and sent, it should immediately appear in the user’s personal space.
Since Slack’s note-taking feature takes on the format of direct messages, it is currently not possible to structure and organize notes.
Slack offers four plans, one free and three paid. The free version of Slack provides great features at no cost, including channels, video conferencing, and access to the team’s 10,000 most recent messages. The Standard plan of Slack unlocks the team’s entire message history and an unlimited number of third-party apps. Both the free and Standard plans are suitable for small to medium-sized businesses.
On the other hand, the Plus and Enterprise plans are geared towards large companies that require advanced features such as enterprise-grade security and compliance. The Plus and Enterprise plans also offer advanced identity management features such as SAML-based SSO and 24/7 customer support with a four-hour response time. All Slack subscriptions can be paid on a monthly or annual basis. No matter the size of the team, Slack has an appropriate plan for every company.
Slack is committed to the highest levels of privacy and data protection. It is GDPR-compliant and is certified in ISO/IEC 27001, ISO/IEC 27017, ISO/IEC 27018, SOC 2, SOC 3, and more.
All data transmitted between Slack clients is encrypted with strong protocols, such as TLS 1.2 protocols and AES256 encryption. Data at rest is also encrypted using FIPS 140-2 compliant standards, and all encryption keys are stored in a secure server on a segregated network with limited access.
In case of a technical failure, Slack uses a combination of storage technologies to ensure customer data is fully protected. Slack hosts its services in data centers surveillanced by industry-leading service providers that offer modern and adequate physical protection for servers.
Slack ensures that only approved individuals and devices can access company information via features like single sign-on, domain claiming, and support for enterprise mobility management. When a company deletes its Slack account, data is removed immediately and Slack hard-deletes all information from currently running production systems. Backups are destroyed within 14 days.
Slack’s integrations with other project management apps are what make it such a versatile and effective tool. When coupled with other software solutions, its native functions expand greatly. Some integrations include:
Slack has a straightforward user interface. On the desktop app, users can find channels and conversation threads on the left. There is also a clear division between channels, direct messages and recent apps, providing clarity for the user. Slack’s settings and preferences allow further customization, such as light or dark mode and toggling notifications on and off.
Slack also supports the usage of emojis and GIFs, making the working process fun and relaxing. All the tools and features are intuitive and require little to no learning curve to learn.
Slack supports mobile apps for iOS and Android devices. The mobile apps share the same functionalities as the desktop app. Users can send messages, edit messages, and react to messages with emojis.
Slack offers users a variety of support options, including a Help Center that features helpful resources and tutorials. Users of all paid plans receive 24/7 support but with small distinctions:
Slack Free: standard support with form submission, response time is typically within an hour
Slack Standard: 24/7 support
Slack Plus: 24/7 support with four-hour first response time
Slack Enterprise: 24/7 priority support with four-hour first response time
Slack’s collaboration features can be a solid companion to other project management solutions such as:
Slack is a collaboration tool that centralizes all workplace communication in a single location, ensuring discussions and feedback flow smoothly. Its collaboration features such as instant messaging, direct messages, channels, voice and video conferencing make it a great addition in the workplace. It boasts many third-party integrations that expand the local features of Slack.
However, once a user upgrades from a free plan to a paid plan, the cost increases. The lowest-tier paid plan, Slack Standard, costs $6.67 per user per month if billed annually. It is also light on project management features.