We’ve had email for nearly 30 years, and we’ve had Skype for about 15 years. But Skype brought us video, voice and then chat. Somewhere around 2013, instant messaging in the enterprise extended beyond Skype and something called Slack arrived on our desktops. Within 5 years, Slack has redefined what enterprise messaging is for tens of millions of people each day. Sometime in 2019, Slack is expected to go public. Chatting amongst out team members is big business.
It’s tough to imagine how teams shared and communicated with each other before Slack became front and center on our phones and desktops. Even Microsoft released Teams; their version of Slack. But like any new collaboration technology, Slack has its own problems, and these have been written about by others.
Slack relies on the notion that everyone participating in a discussion is available within a suitable timeframe that is required to progress the conversation in a meaningful way, and hopefully result in determining an outcome. Slack is a constant stream of thought, feedback and know how being exchanged across your organisation in real-time. You’d be forgiven for thinking Slack might be an acronym for ‘Sorry, Lost All Concept of Knowing’ due to the expectation of being available in the ‘now’. Slack segments your content and knowledge, but this gets lost at scale. Channels in Slack help to deal with this segmentation through the opportunity of categorization, but channels can also suffer from the same issues as real-time conversations. Return from two weeks of being away from the office, and there’s no place to view key decisions.
If only there was a way to control time around your content and knowledge, and browse them in a more traditional long-form process?
The digital workplace is a landscape cluttered with traditional on-premise software, cloud-based productivity apps and a suite of development and infrastructure management tools. This stack of apps has led to a fragmentation in how we work. Many teams have put Slack at the center of this landscape in order to connect and provide visibility into what’s happening; share progress, provide updates and ultimately influence how decisions are made. As a result, Slack acts as an intricate SMS (Spaghetti Management System), where links to external cloud-based apps enable teams to know where they should go based on what they need, assuming they’ve kept up with the conversation.
As more of us transition into working remotely, and across multiple teams, the tools we use will influence how we communicate with each other and achieve work outcomes. Slack supports short form content, where conversation is the general form of content being shared. We instinctively scan and assimilate what has been discussed between team mates, and then act accordingly (even if we don’t fully understand the context of what has been discussed or agreed upon).
Outside of these short form conversations, we rely on stalwarts like Google Drive, Dropbox, SharePoint (and many other trusted silos of discrete binary) to store traditional documents that capture thoughts, arguments, legal agreements and all the glue that allow us to function with merit. How did it come to this?
Long form content captures our critical thinking. For any knowledge worker, no matter what industry, this is our knowhow. It’s what ultimately defines our commercial value. As Lawrence Hart recently wrote in his article, Slack Is Good, But It Could Be Better, the problem is Slack is not ‘work’ and teams require a trusted ‘workspace’ where long form content can exist for everyone to access our knowhow.
We’re excited to be releasing our beta of CentricMinds Paper for Slack! Our app is a desktop app for Windows and Mac and provides a long-form content authoring and management solution for use with your Slack account.
CentricMinds Paper for Slack is a unified environment where your team can create long form articles, drag files and associated them with categories. You can also choose to share everything you create in CentricMinds Paper directly with your team mates in Slack. Stop managing the mess of embedding links to Google, Dropbox and other places where you’re not completely sure if shared workspaces should be viewing those links, or not.
As a beta release, CentricMinds Paper for the immediate future is free. There’s no limit to the number of team members you can use within our app. Below are some key features of the app, including links to download CentricMinds Paper and get started.
CentricMinds Paper supports long-form content in your Slack work flow.
Create long-form articles in CentricMinds Paper and share with team members in Slack.
Drop files into categories for easy management & filtering. Share with team members directly in Slack.
Once you’ve downloaded Papermind, installed it and started exploring, we’d love to receive your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org