Challenge those sacred cows in your organisation writes:

A European rival to workplace messaging app Slack called Element has won the world’s largest-ever single contract for a collaborative software service, supplying half a million licences to help communication in the German education system. The win points to the growing concern about privacy in communications around the world.

At Raise, we use Slack pretty heavily both for team communication as well as compartmentalisation of threads. Slack seems to be the obvious choice for chat but it’s worth always noting that there are other services out there. Not just from a competition and pricing point of view, but from an awareness of what’s out there, what’s available on the open market.

Are you in with the in-crowd?

It’s worth challenging these notions because they can become sacred cows. When you’re part of the in-crowd, you use the in-crowd tools. But not using Slack isn’t a revolution, it’s just a tool. And what is Slack other than IRC with a slightly more pleasant interface? You haven’t heard of IRC? (I had had much greater hopes for Wave, especially when Google said they’d please the code to let everyone run their own servers. But alas, and I digress)

No-one was fired for…

This group-think becomes just the same sort of toxic thought that echoes “No-one was fired for buying IBM”. It’s the same sort of damaging rhetoric that a thoughtless developer can espouse when they hear a tool was made with a language or framework they despise (or even just not their favourite).

You can build software in lots of different ways. You can use lots of different tools. Sometimes you can write an email without a Word document attached. These things are possible. Take a look beyond what everyone else is using.

Look for tools that offer these features…

  • Decentralised communication – essential for keeping your stuff private and persistent.
  • End-to-end encryption – Slack and Teams don’t offer this. But they should.
  • Data security – Seems obvious but it still isn’t. Check how it’s stored, where it’s stored.
  • Decentralised reputation – This isn’t really useful within a single organisation but for tools which allow more open collaboration, essential.

I’ve not tried Element, but I think I will.