Anyone Working At Agency Using Slack? How Do You Use It?

8 years ago from , Technical Lead at Mirum Jakarta

Anyone has successfully implemented Slack in an agency?

I've been trying to push the agency I work in (we're have 150-ish people) to use Slack, and we did, but it never got off.

When I shared Slack to everyone, some of the people were excited, but most never even signed up. The main reason is they don't want yet another platform to use and those that did sign up eventually never seem to see something unique that Slack brings into the table that email+IM don't.

All the work-related stuffs in the agency are communicated via emails and all the semi-casual chats are done via Whatsapp groups. And actually, that's pretty solid argument. Emails are necessary because that's the gateway to communicate with clients and Whatsapp is more than enough for private chats for internal teams.


  • Daniel WhyteDaniel Whyte, 8 years ago

    We're not an agency but a company with products, and 513 people in slack.

    It creates great open collaboration and open chit-chat.

    It's like having a water cooler that you can share URL's on.

    2 points
    • Pieter WalravenPieter Walraven, 8 years ago

      What kind of products are you working on? Would you say that most of you are relatively tech savvy?

      0 points
  • Account deleted 8 years ago

    Our product team uses it for quick communication. It's great. Super easy to drag-and-drop files for sharing and discussing with other team members. The search function is really intuitive, too. Also, it looks pretty.

    2 points
    • Pieter WalravenPieter Walraven, 8 years ago

      If you don't mind me asking: what other teams in your organisation have failed to pick it up?

      0 points
  • Giulio MichelonGiulio Michelon, 8 years ago

    HOW can you use WhatsApp in a job related place? I find it horrible. You can't use it from pc, it's just the wrong tool.

    1 point
    • Hendra Susanto, 8 years ago

      Whatsapp is used for private and more casual talks for internal teams (no client). And since everyone in a team is basically friends with everyone and have each other's Whatsapp, that's a logical choice actually.

      0 points
  • Wayne PWayne P, 8 years ago

    In our agency all communication is done through Slack (and occasionally email). We don't have telephones, all calls are filtered through accounts and reception which is less disruptive.

    Everybody has open dialogue about all projects for all clients - each client has it's own channel. It's easy to get up to speed on a project. There are channels for casual chat and a channel to share things through social media which runs through buffer.

    Personally, I am also connected to the UX Community slack channels so I can see what's happening in the UK (and around the world).

    As different systems are used and proved successful other systems are closed down so we are all using the same tech.

    1 point
  • Ruby ChenRuby Chen, 8 years ago

    I'm also having trouble when introducing Slack or even other communication tools beside email. The main question I received is the security of the data. Who and where the data is stored? We use email heavily, have our own server (no dropbox) and everyone open email from their email client, which make people feel safer than having conversations and files on the internet...?

    It's also really hard for me to introduce invision app, which I really like while making prototype...

    0 points
  • Ryan MurphyRyan Murphy, 8 years ago

    "The main reason is they don't want yet another platform to use"

    • This is the best argument for Slack. It's not another communication tool on top of Whatsapp, messenger, email, pigeon,..

    It's all of them, in one place, on multiple devices, wherever you need it.

    0 points
    • Hendra Susanto, 8 years ago

      But we still have to use email for external communication with clients and Whatsapp for our life outside work.

      So the argument becomes, "Why should I add another platform when I'm using emails and Whatsapp anyway?"

      0 points
      • Ryan MurphyRyan Murphy, 8 years ago

        You go to work, you can mute all the outside world (social communication) easily.

        You go home you can mute all the work communication just as easily.

        Email will persist, but a lot less when only dealing with clients. Then only the people who have to communicate with the client often have to use it, the production people can spend more time producing.

        0 points
  • Pieter WalravenPieter Walraven, 8 years ago

    I think it also depends a lot on what type of agency you are. Digital agencies will adopt Slack much easier as people are quite tech-savvy.

    In the below comments the companies that have successfully adopted Slack are very likely digital/mobile/web focused.

    Problem for all other agencies is that Slack was built and designed for software devs. It's got lots of '/' & '#' and geeky bells-and-whistles that for non-techies are completely irrelevant. As a result the experience is extremely overwhelming for a lot of people (while tech people see the UX as simple and intuitive as it resembles IRC, both copy and design).

    0 points
  • Hendra Susanto, 8 years ago

    Thanks for all the answers. Still, I've been trying to find the answer for the biggest roadblock to implement Slack to its fullest which is the reluctance for most people to add another platform to their daily life.

    1. Emails are for external communications, sure, but since all employees are certain to use emails, then all the internal communications are done via emails too to make sure everyone gets and reads it.

    2. Whatsapp is used for more private communications because of the same reason, everyone uses Whatsapp anyway.

    I agree though, Slack/Hipchat/other solutions will only work with a supportive community. There must be interesting contents to make people engage in the platform, but we need people to engage in the platform to have interesting contents. It's a chicken and egg situation all over again, haha

    0 points
  • David Wilder, 8 years ago

    I feel your pain. I found that there were about 4 main blockers when implementing it in our office. It's still not completely adopted, but we're at about 75% of staff having an account and climbing.

    Here's the 4 blockers I found if you're interested… http://itswilder.com/slack-hard/

    0 points
  • Wheeler Preddy, 8 years ago

    We started using it at the company I am working at now and I would never go back. We never really use emails unless we have to, and you definitely have to for external uses. But other than that opening up a # for a certain project and being able to just talk and focus on that particular project is a dream.

    0 points
  • Lacie Webb, 8 years ago

    We use it with a company of about 35 people (some in other countries/timezones). It's awesome for creating separate channels for each project so as not to bother everybody needlessly. It also cuts down on emails as well. We also have more internal channels for fun stuff like recipes, gifs, and general announcements.

    0 points
  • Jeff HeatonJeff Heaton, 8 years ago

    We're a 100+ person agency and we switched recently to Slack from Campfire. It has revitalized our company communication, which had slowly languished on Campfire. I'm of the opinion that a few things made this happen:

    1) Forced switching. The IT department said we're moving and closed the other method of communication. We unsuccessfully tried a number of other solutions to replace Campfire (including Slack at one point) but they were small efforts made voluntarily by a couple people at a time. This combats the fax machine effect, where a communication system is only as valuable as the number of people using it.

    2) Shiny content already waiting. Our company is full of interesting people with interesting things to say. This time around the channels were quickly seeded with various interests, including a dedicated Gif channel, and our bot and karma systems were migrated over.

    Slack is certainly nice. It has a pretty interface, some handy integrations, and is actively being developed. But I don't think it was Slack's features that really made our communication come back. That was the community of brilliant and funny people who were itching to talk again. This was just a good excuse.

    Its price will make your IT department cry, but if it makes communication better it's worth it.

    0 points
  • Katarina RdultovskaiaKatarina Rdultovskaia, 8 years ago (edited 8 years ago )

    We recently made the switch to slack with our own team of 200 in 4 countries. I proposed the idea and we started test run with the design team to see how it stacked up to skype, which we use a lot. After some more research and approval from the heads of the company we made the transition.

    It provides many more options and the search capabilities alone are awesome, since a lot of the conversations on projects happen via messenger ie skype. Such as the ability to easily see links, fantastic search, time zone capabilities so you dont wake up your fellow coworkers, reminders, nice integrations with Jira, dropbox, etc. Since we are so large it easily integrates everyone together and you can easily learn whos working on what and how the project is doing. It also helps some of our staff keep the emails that flow in throughout the day from overflowing their inbox. We are not fully on slack since it does not support voice calls, but soon will, and at that point I think we will drop skype all together.

    Point out some useful things http://venturebeat.com/2015/03/14/10-things-i-love-about-slack/

    But best bet is to talk to the decision makers and make your case how this would help the company and decrease some of the unnecessary apps you use now. Then they can push the rest of the company to jump on board.

    0 points
  • Jean-Philippe CyrJean-Philippe Cyr, 8 years ago (edited 8 years ago )

    Hello Hendra,

    If people see it as a communication platform in addition to Hangouts, Skype, etc.. they are certainly missing the point. It would change the way you are communicating if it is part of the company culture. It needs to be implemented and supported by the bosses for it to works. A company culture can be cultivated by the employees, but the farm is owned by the bosses. The company culture is the mirror of their values... and nothing is more important than how you communicate your values.

    For it to works, I would even further than saying that people should never create private rooms unless they what they are talking about is essentially private (you would lock yourself in a private room to talk about the subject). The main benefits of Slack are the open channels. They are breaking the silos in a company, as anyone from any team can now get a glimpse of what is happening in another. In the agencies where it been successfully implement I see channels around team departments (marketing/sales, dev, design, account management, etc.) and also one for each main projects (archive when the project is finished).

    Hope this may help.

    • JiPé
    0 points
  • Théo Blochet, 8 years ago (edited 8 years ago )

    We at @ikomobi (mobile agency, 30 people, France/Spain) made the move to Slack quite organically.

    I implemented it, invited a couple of people I knew would be early adopters and promoters of the tool. Then it grew into teams, slowly but surely. Now, everyone (almost) is using it.

    The case for Slack agains Whatsapp is that Slack is much more than a discussion plateform. It's a productivity tool.

    If you want to promote it internally within your team, I suggest you organise a lunch & learn about the tool to tell your team just that.

    For us, it has been a no-brainer :

    • Search allows us to post links and thoughts within different "watch" channels ( #usageWatch, #devWatch, #statsWatch, #iOS, #Android, etc.), so that they can be easily found later
    • Integrations of Trello/Jira/Hangouts/Google Drive made it really easy for us to gather information and relevant notifications in the same place. It actually allows you to avoid checking other tools on a regular basis. There must be tons of others that will save your agency time and efforts.
    • The transparency aspect of it allowed designers and developers to challenge each other and work together better on a variety of topic, as they could enter and comment within each other's channel in a very open way

    However, there needs to be some rules for how to use the tool : what #general and #random are for, what you can and cannot post, etc. Also, you need to make clear that "the Switch" is official : you can't have some of your team that's still email-only, while others are communicating important information on Slack.

    You need to make Slack official for internal communications, and email for external communications. Once this is clear in everyone's head, I think it is a great improvement for all involved.

    Good luck with that ! :)

    0 points
    • Pieter WalravenPieter Walraven, 8 years ago

      Some really great points in there about how to 'sell' it internally.

      Do you have any learnings on how to get the more traditional and less tech-savvy people on? Like some older more traditional managers or other more digital illiterate coworkers if any?

      Curious to hear about how they initially reacted on Slack, what was their experience like?

      0 points