Detox from email to collaborate better

Detox from email to collaborate better Cybersecurity

In 2012 GreenSI made the observation, with two posts, of the limits and brakes of collaborative work in companies and posed tracks for a 2.0 workstation (we were in the fundamentals of enterprise 2.0 after the first wave of the Internet 1.0).

This modern workstation would allow the transfer of uses currently in e-mail to new functional bricks more efficient and less destructive of knowledge (your mailbox is personal, difficult to search for, and destroyed when you leave the company).

Detox from email to collaborate betterIndeed, e-mail is a bit like the Azerty keyboard for collaboration. The Azerty keyboard (Qwerty in English) was designed to slow down the user’s strike when hitting IBM machines with hammers that could cross and jam. The letters were then organized on the keyboard of each language to reduce this risk and the typing speed. Since then no one has been able to change it …

Email was also imagined at another age (55) to ensure the first written communications on the network Arpanet which will become the Internet. The protocol SMTP, Simple Mail Transfer Protocol, was then standardized 38 years ago which allowed multiple interfaces to be able to use it (Lotus Notes, Outlook, Gmail, …).

As for its harmful side (spam) it passed into law (anti-spam) in the United States 18 years ago, but it continues to pollute our lives. The email also became the main (and massive) source of risk of entering the company with “phishing”.

It might be time to refocus it on communication and not collaboration, but as with the Azerty keyboard, the thing is not simple.

Slack, for “Searchable Log of All Conversation and Knowledge” was launched with the aim of reducing our dependence on e-mail. Born in 2009, the company is today listed on the NYSE and valued at more than 20 billion dollars. Slack does not replace e-mail, but its uses. This valuation shows that for the Stock Exchange there is a lot of collaborative value trapped in the email, since Slack customers are ready to pay to get more benefits!

Slack manages messages by ending the chronological organization, by organizing them into channels by subject, by projects shared by teams (end of personal e-mail box) … But Slack has above all been able to integrate multiple applications that know how to interact with these channels. Integration of videoconferencing applications such as Zoom (see Zoom on the Digital Workplace), allows you to move from writing to voice, without changing the working context. What we have been able to do with the omnichannel client interface and CRM, when the website includes a chatbot or a telephone call back. Slack is sometimes defined as “the glue” between applications for better collaboration.

To manage this new application ecosystem, Slack has developed its application gallery, its own “App Store” which contains more than 1800 apps on several platforms – iOS, Android, Linux… – and hundreds of thousands of application extensions developed specifically by its experienced users.

Thus, a supervision of servers can publish in a channel where the team in charge of the infrastructure can organize to deal with the incident. It is the ideal tool for organizing simple workflows. In addition, intelligent “bots” can also consult the channels and put “their grain salt”, for example by adding useful links related to messages to facilitate processing or analysis.

But until now, Slack would look for this value in internal emails between employees of the same company, which were replaced by the use of its platform. In 11 years, Slack has managed to convince 12 million active users worldwide who use it daily, including significant penetration in France, especially in the CAC40 when we look at their references.

Detox from email to collaborate betterThis week the company announced a major feature, Slack Connect, which allows you to extend exchanges between companies using Slack.

For GreenSI the stake of Slack Connect is indeed that equivalent to SMTP, that is to say to standardize the exchanges of collaborative functions between companies, including security mechanisms such as encryption keys or control of access rights.

This is a key step in the pursuit of an alternative model to e-mails. It is currently limited to 20 companies per channel, and does not have the ambition of a massive multi-company opening which would of course go through international standardization, and not a private protocol. But it is still a beginning of opening which brings multiple potential uses between Slack platforms.

This announcement also comes at a time when the health crisis has brought collaboration back to the fore.

Slack like videoconferencing, has benefited from the global growth generated by confined companies seeking to continue their activities. This crisis has shown the importance of logistics, which is at the heart of the customer experience. Logistics which is often a collaborative operation between several companies, from producer to consumer, within ecosystems. It will certainly be an important use case of Slack Connect, to better coordinate suppliers in the same supply chain with their customers.

Resilience is a textbook example of the need for agility that can hardly be programmed in advance in an ERP. It is the balance between the very structuring processes of ERP and simpler external workflows that moves.

So let the uses develop and we will soon come back to the value that this collaboration will draw outside the mailbox. We will also observe the reaction of Microsoft which on the one hand does not want Outlook, the engine of its Office 365 cloud to disappear, and on the other side has been developing for 5 years Teams with an approach inspired by Slack.

But GreenSI also write this ad in a more global perspective of evolution of the information system for the construction of collaborative applications. Not just the simple deletion of e-mail for its collaborative uses.

Indeed, there is already a strategic partnership with Google for the integration of Slack and G-Suite. Slack Connect gives it more importance by going beyond sharing documents and real-time events around these documents, with the possibility of building more successful workflows that convey structured information (in G-Suite ).

Detox from email to collaborate betterAnother Slack partnership draws attention. Slack’s infrastructure is AWS, the Amazon cloud. It is this strategic choice, not to have its own infrastructure, which allows companies with the “Enterprise Grid” version, to benefit from local storage according to the location of Amazon’s data centers, in order to comply with the rules related to hosting messages that certain companies, or countries, can impose. It also provides centralized user administration tools.

In this context, Slack should see Amazon’s announcement this week of its platform Honeycode, with a very good eye. It allows you to quickly and visually create mobile and Web applications without programming (“no code”), a new element of rupture in the collaborative sphere of IS.

It therefore targets IS users and not the ISD.

In fact, “no code” or “low code” applications are often form management to automate simple workflows, approvals, field surveys or surveys of users to report data from the mobile … an area very close to collaboration, within the company or between companies, and close to workflow that we find … in Slack!

So, if Slack wants to be the “glue” between all the applications, the ability for users to quickly create applications with the “no code”, take on a lot more scope by taking advantage of this “inter-application glue”.

The combination of Documents + NoCode + Channels has real potential for agility.

Hope that the strong links between Amazon and Slack, could give them ideas to go further …

In the same way as we have seen the emergence of interoperability middleware between applications around ERP, are we not observing with Slack and the development of “no code”, the structuring and organization of user-oriented applications, centered on the agile collaboration of the company?

I already hear whistling in my ears that it is the return of “shadow IT”, well not rightly, if the ISD organizes it instead of fighting it!

But while waiting to see the emergence of these new application approaches, to GreenSI, it’s a good time to detox from e-mail and see what it’s been hiding from us for 50 years: collaboration as an area of ​​business to urbanize.


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