Slack: review, drawbacks, advantages

Having the right tools to help your team communicate is vital for a lot of companies. However, work-related communications have different requirements than personal ones, so regular applications like WhatsApp, Messenger, Hangouts or even Skype might not always do trick. Even though you don't hear about it that often, Slack is one of the best solutions available for a remote team's communication needs. Here's everything you need to know about the service:

What is Slack?

As I previously said, Slack is a business-oriented communication tool that centralizes everything. It includes a wide array of features including instant messaging, video calling, file sharing, notifications, file storage and archiving. Another interesting aspect is that the service offers native applications for all the major operating systems: Windows, MacOS, Android and iOS. What's even cooler is that Slack integrates with numerous other tools including Google Docs, Dropbox, Google Drive, GitHub, MailChimp, Zendesk, etc. Lastly, the application also features the ability to search inside popular file types such as Word documents, PDFs, Photoshop projects and more.

How much does it cost?

The Standard membership costs $6.67 per user per month for an annual subscription or $8 per month if you choose to pay monthly. It includes features such as custom user groups, two-factor authentication, guest access, group video as well as audio calls, OAuth via Google, custom retention policies, priority support and 10 GB of storage space per member. The Plus version costs $12.50 / user / month and as added bonuses it includes 24/7 support, user provisioning and deprovisioning, SAML-based single sign-on (SSO), Compliance Exports of all messages and 20 GB of storage space per member. The Enterprise payment plan is only available through quotes and includes a fully searchable archive with a capacity for unlimited messages, detailed statistics, priority support and more. Finally, in case you have a very small team and can make do with 5 GB of total storage space and calls limited to two people you can use Slack for free.

Advantages

The thing everyone loves most about Slack is that it reduces email clutter thus improving personal productivity as it allows individuals to read what each is interested in instead of sending everything to everyone. Furthermore, the messages exchanged through the service are kept in a repository and can be revisited at any time. As I already said, Slack is great for connecting a remote team and it offers a home for both formal messages as well as communications that wouldn't be appropriate for official emails. 

Disadvantages

As far as drawbacks go, the main problem could be adoption as the less tech-savvy personnel might take a while to get accustomed to how Slack works. However, the service works best if everyone participates, so investing a bit of time into making sure that's possible will prove beneficial in the long run. Another possible problem is that Slack is too well designed and may be too much like a social network, thus possibly creating a distraction for some of the team's members.

All in all, Slack is a great all-round communication service for business-clients and it's no wonder that it's one of the most popular ones on the current market. Also, in case you need additional help choosing the right tools for your business, you can use Google's recommendations for enterprise-friendly Android phones.

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