Influencer Perspective is a series showcasing the people, events and culture that make Influence Health unique. Today, Matt Ledom talks about how the company's adoption of Slack has made life easier.
When I first started using Slack, at BrightWhistle, it was mainly just a cool chat tool, which worked well for my small team. The push message feature set it apart from other collaboration tools we’d been using. But when we were acquired by Influence Health, my team more than quadrupled, which was a lot to manage, especially with a majority of my team now working remotely. Slack, with the options for different channels for conversations and variety of integration tools, just made sense. Previously, we’d been having trouble with multiple people trying to deploy Persuade code at the same time, which stalled the system. With Slack, everyone would see a message when a team member began a deploy and then another when the deploy was finished and it was clear for a second team member to start. Slack got rid of our overlap problem.
Pretty soon Slack started to gain more traction, first with the Audience Insights team. They work with almost as many remote team members as they do local, and Slack makes it easy for anyone to log in, see the whole channel and read the daily digest. From a management perspective, I could see what work was getting done, when people were collaborating and conversations about issues and tickets.
Slack's analytics show employees make a point to take time off from work and enjoy their weekends.
In the past couple of months we started creating alert channels for some of the different services we offer. When servers are acting up, Slack pushes an alert so everyone who needs to be aware of the problem can see it. We can even program bots to do automated tasks, like for code reviews. When one person checks in their code, another person gets automatically assigned and alerted by name to go over that code, to see if anything is missing or if there’s something out of the ordinary the original developer didn’t see. We also have a JIRA integration, so certain applications have an automatic feedback link. When you create a new ticket, it automatically goes into the Support channel, so whomever is on call can see immediately that there’s an issue without having to constantly refresh JIRA or look at their website.
One of my favorite integrations is the ability to have phone calls through Slack. Recently, I was chatting with a developer about a feature, and we decided we needed to rope in another developer and a product manager. We had four people messaging back and forth, and it got to be out of control. I suggested we jump on a phone call, so I clicked the call button in Slack and it immediately dialed their computers and had four of us on this phone call. After we hung up, the product manager said that was one of the most efficient things she’d done all day.
We’ve used this feature as a replacement for WebEx even. When we’re trying to show a QA engineer how to test a feature, we’ll use Screenhero – it comes with Slack when you pay for the first level, and you can share your screen and the other individual can take control. I’ve done troubleshooting on tickets with some people this way, since I can go into their computer history and see what they’ve done. It’s an amazing tool, and they’re adding more and more functionality on a daily basis. More companies are integrating with Slack all the time. It’s been really valuable for my team and the clinical side as well.
Influence Health has rapidly expanded use of Slack and integrations.
From just a few users when we first started, we now have over 300 users in the company. We had to upgrade to the paid version within four or five months because with the free version your message history starts dropping off after 10,000 messages. And we went through 12,000 messages in just one day recently. We’re constantly adding more people to Slack, like the Sales team, so they can have better access.
I love that you can go from phone to laptop in real-time. I have an Apple watch, and I can continuously keep up with any issues when I’m sitting in a meeting. Or when I’m walking around, I have my mobile, and people will chat me as I’m moving. All I have to do is hit the call button, and we’re talking. I don’t even have to know their phone number.
For Influence Health, Slack has gone from a simple chat communication tool to a team collaboration tool to an alerting tool for a bunch of people in the organization. It’s really powerful.
*Blog post constructed and edited via Slack. Number of emails saved: 20*