Lessons and Challenges from Slack

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We at Nimeyo have always been fascinated with how employees communicate, and an intriguing company on the forefront of this is Slack.  Slack has succeeded where many others have failed.  Heck, Microsoft almost bought it for $8 billion. Given that, what has it done right that we can all learn from and what challenges does adopting Slack create?

How did it get traction?

On the surface, Slack does not look all that appealing.  It is, after all, just IM plus channels.  But that’s the key to its success.  It is not reinventing the wheel nor overwhelming the user.   Slack presents something we all know and makes it really easy to use.  Just a browser and you are ready to go.

Simplicity is the key, and Slack nailed it.  Slack just fits into an employee’s natural workflow.

Making communication conversational

One way Slack fits right into the employee’s workflow is by facilitating conversation.  Sure, there are documents, e-mails, wikis – but information often flows through conversations.

And what is a conversation?  A series of quick back and forths – something humans are naturally good at.  And Slack allows this in an electronic forum.

When it comes to this type of communication, there is always a tug back and forth between structured, formalized knowledge, and informal conversational knowledge.  And Slack has succeeded by knowing that employees generally prefer the latter.   In other words, people would rather have ease and simplicity– they don’t want to be bothered with formatting, manipulating, or overall shaping the data to something that is useful later.

Doesn’t make the user change behavior

Slack also allows integration with many third party tools and services:  e-mail, Box, Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.  Employees can still use their favorite means of electronic communication and have that be automatically integrated into Slack.  If an employee still prefers e-mail, she can use e-mail.  If she wants to put information into a document on Dropbox – no need to duplicate that information into Slack. In other words, Slack integrates, but doesn’t force change.  After all, everyone is a creature of habit in one way or another.

But is Slack taking away from organization?

But the picture is not all rosy.  Conversations do have weaknesses – they are tough to organize.

With Slack, there’s less need for documentation, formalized transfers of information, seminars, etc.  While this saves time, it also means that the expertise will often remain siloed and only be passed on, piece by piece, when needed due to the chatty nature of communication.  But in the age of rapid turnover, what happens if an expert leaves?  Does all their knowledge leave with them?

And is adding yet another channel of communication worth it?

It’s important to remember that Slack is another tool, and tool fatigue sets in.   With real estate space on the screen becoming even more precious and people being pulled in many different directions, very few employees clamor for another tool to deal with.

What can be done about these challenges?

While Slack is a great tool, we at Nimeyo understand the challenges that it presents

  •  Keeps information siloed by detracting from more formalized training methods
  •  Information is haphazardly placed, with little organization, and plain tough to find
  •  Information is in yet another place, making discovery much more of a chore
  •  Yet another tool amongst a myriad of tools that the average employee has to deal with

There are many ways to go mitigate this.  Slack provides APIs to integrate channels into whatever management tool you wish.  They also have Apps which provide integration with 3rd party tools like Box. Unfortunately, this requires a lot of IT resources from employees who would rather be working on core services.

qPod by Nimeyo provides a ready-built solution by processing Slack information into a searchable, interactive, question and answer system.  Information flow can be congregated from various sources like Slack, e-mail, Box, SharePoint, Salesforce, JIRA, Confluence, and much more.  And the knowledge gained can be easily accessed to help find the information you’re looking for in bite sized pieces.  Information from Slack is more structured, available in the user’s workflow, and can easily be discovered.  In other words, qPod takes Slack to a higher level.

qPod and Slack together!

qPod and Slack work well together with our newly introduced “qPod by Nimeyo” Slack App.

Slack integration within qPod allows users to simply login via Slack – no need to setup a separate login username and password.

And once integrated, channel messages can be imported and accessible throughout qPod.

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And with our “qPod by Nimeyo” Slack App, accessing qPod and posting information is a breeze with easy to use Slack Commands.

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If you’d like to take a test drive, please head over to our Slack App page and sign up.

qPod now available on Amazon AWS marketplace!

We are delighted to announce that qPod from Nimeyo – a “self-help” knowledge system for pre- and post-sales organizations – is now available through Amazon AWS marketplace.

Why AWS?
Amazon Web Services or AWS offers reliable, scalable, and inexpensive cloud computing services.

With our qPod Saas solution exclusively hosted on AWS you can be assured of robust security and data protection guarantees provided by AWS. In addition, for those
customers who use AWS private cloud for added security and control, qPod can be deployed with a single click in their existing VPC!

We continue to strive to make qPod deployment fast, easy, and intuitive so that customers see the value of qPod within minutes of deployment.

Click to learn more

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A critical piece to tribal knowledge management in enterprises

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Email is the de facto form of communication in the business world. According to the market analysis group Radicati, in year 2013, 929 million corporate mailboxes generated roughly 100 billion emails every day. Moreover, despite all the talk about an imminent demise of email, corporate usage of this medium is expected to grow over coming years. Unfortunately, this most pervasive corporate application is more or less untapped by current enterprise knowledge management tools.

At an individual level, an average employee receives about 150 emails per day, among which about 50 include attachments. Further exacerbating the issue is corporate email retention policies which often conflicts with the needs to preserve corporate knowledge.

So the critical question is – how are your employees able to save and retrieve important information about products, customers, and peers? Are they able to access useful data from years before with ease? If not, then efficiency is being affected.

Nimeyo Inc. recently helped a publicly traded company with a global team of sales engineers deal with a similar issue. The company relied on email communication, particularly inter- and intra-departmental mailing lists like ask-se, ask-experts to triage and resolve customer issues. Unfortunately, the rich set of knowledge hidden in these raw email threads was unusable due to lack of technical solutions to analyse and search. This resulted in iterative and repetitive work that wasted time and effort, reducing efficiency of the team. Nimeyo’s qPod, using its email analysis engines, converted 3+ years of email content into a functional knowledge that provided superior search, usability, and mobility to the world-wide team of field engineers. Moreover, qPod provided bookmarking and personalized search for efficient knowledge retrieval. Finally, qPod continuously refreshed knowledge as new email content got generated, allowing users to stay in the medium they were comfortable with.

If your company is struggling with repetitive discussions on previously explored and resolved topics, if your email systems are in a mess, contact us and see how Nimeyo can help improve your team’s efficiency.

Our product – qPod – solves this exact problem. It is a knowledge base that seeds itself from information that is already around, and more importantly, it continuously refreshes itself as new information flows through various communication channels like email, social feeds, and chat rooms.

If your sales force can use a software that actually helps them do their job better, sign up for the free trial of qPod.

How to Boost the efficiency of the world-wide sales force

One of the most common scenarios we hear while talking to Sales and Sales Engineering teams is that

  1. They are growing fast and it is challenging to scale the sales force to meet the needs of new customers, and
  2. They are hiring new employees but it is a challenge to ramp those employees on product and customer specific technical details.

What further exacerbates the problem is that Sales and SE teams are scattered world wide. Non-HQ employees are at a further disadvantages given their inability to knock on the “expert next door”.

Obviously sales organizations are constantly looking for solutions that can help them tackle these “growing pains” by improving the collaborations and knowledge management processes. Unfortunately, the tools they employ (e.g., CRM software, Wiki pages, document repositories) just don’t work in improving the productivity of the sales reps and SEs (more detailed treatment of this topic to follow).