By: Neivath Cheung
Like many teams in the IT world, the members of Coyote Creek’s Cloud Services practice (formerly Remote Monitoring and Management – RMM) are quite spread out geographically. We’ve got team members located everywhere from California and New York to Florida and Washington. Needless to say, there’s no break room in which we can all gather to talk things over! Which is why having a great communications system in place is vital.
This is where Slack comes in. Slack is a cloud-base Enterprise chat and collaboration application for business. Our Cloud Services team started using Slack about nine months ago, and we’ve been very happy with the results.
In the past our Cloud Services teams used Microsoft Lync with Skype for Business Conference, but it was not in persistent mode. While this was great for one-on-one or conference chat, it was not the same as a regular chat room, and it was much more complex to set up and run. Lync requires additional servers such as a SQL server and extra servers for redundancy, additional licenses, and so forth. Slack simplifies things. Since Slack is cloud-based, there is no need to set up and manage on-premise servers. We just pay for the licenses, download the client, and go.
How Slack is helping our Operational Effectiveness
We’re using Slack as a persistent chat application. By improving our communication, Slack has improved our Cloud Services team’s operational efficiency. Some of the specific benefits we’re seeing include:
- Keeps the whole team on the same page. Just like other persistent chat programs, Slack lets you create active channels where people can come and go at their leisure, and everything is always recorded. In addition to whatever takes place via email, our Slack channels are ongoing casual conversations amongst the entire team. Concerns, problems, statuses are all expressed out here for everyone to see. With team members going on or off shifts 24/7, keeping everyone informed like this is vital. For example, if a server goes down, the person coming in for the next shift will see that something happened, because discussions about it will fill the chat room. Even if the person who had the previous shift forgets to say something about this specifically, the next shift will be informed anyway.
- Is fast and easy to access. Popping into the Slack channel is much easier than saying “let’s start a conference” and having everyone have to log in to a GoTo Meeting or WebEx or whatever. Plus, Slack is mobile, so you can log in from anywhere, including from your smart phone or tablet.
- Allows you to create specific channels for specific projects. Access to each of these Slack channels can then be limited to the members of that project team.
- Creates a searchable archive. You don’t have to take notes, because past conversations are all fully searchable. Trying to remember what Tom said last June about XYZ Company’s server #12? A quick search in Slack will pull it right up.
- Makes document sharing easy. Slacks’s “drag and drop” document sharing is easier than sending things through email, and the document will then become part of the searchable archive that the entire team can access. You can use this document sharing function for any type of document, from text files and spreadsheets to quick screen shots.
- Integrates with other applications. Slack has the capability to integrate with many applications, including Opsgenie, Zoom Conference, ConnectWise and more. These integrations allow us to perform our duties smoothly without switching between too many applications.
- Promotes team building. Of course, at Coyote Creek we’re not always “all business.” We also like to joke around, use silly emoji’s and make each other smile. Sometimes we take advantage of Slacks’s video conferencing and desktop sharing functions. In these ways, Slack is great for helping team members feel connected on a personal level, too.
- Integrates seamlessly with Opsgenie. We recently started using Atlassian’s newly acquired product, Opsgenie, for alert and incident management. We’re loving the way that Opsgenie’s integration with Slack lets us consolidate alerts from all of our monitoring tools in Opsgenie and then take action from inside Slack. It gives us a way to effectively interact with alerts that makes incident management even easier. Check out more about Opsgenie in our last blog, Incident Management: A Tale of Two Approaches.
Want to learn more about using Opsgenie for incident management? Our upcoming webinar is for you!
Coyote Creek will be exploring Opsgenie in an upcoming two-part free webinar series. At webinar #1, “Using Opsgenie for Incident Management,” we’ll focus on Opsgenie’s incident management capabilities. Webinar #2 will hone in on its monitoring and alerting functions.
Join us at 10 am PST on June 26th to learn:
- Overview of Opsgenie
- How Opsgenie automates Incident Management
- How Opsgenie improves collaboration
- How Opsgenie streamlines management
- How Opsgenie integrates with other apps and programs
- And more