Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

March 18 2016

Slack Is Building Bots That Could Increase Workplace Productivity

David McMillin

Productivity. It’s the magic word in the workplace. As more employees aim to check items off to-do lists and rush between meetings, everyone is aiming to accomplish more. Now, one of the most talked-about communication platforms wants to make sure that all the members of the team are staying on task and producing as much as possible. Last week, at SXSW, Stewart Butterfield, the founder and CEO of Slack, told attendees that the company is building bots that will be able to communicate with users, request project updates and then pass that information along to higher-ups. Zachary Pincus-Roth, Pop Culture Editor at The Washington Post, tweeted the news during an Interactive session in Austin. The news comes on the heels of Slack’s hiring of Noah Weiss, a former Foursquare executive, to direct a group focused on artificial intelligence.

There is very little information on how these bots will actually function, but it seems certain they will be more sophisticated than simple reminders of deadlines. Ilan Mochari at Inc points out that the extra layer of machine-based sophistication may come at a price, though. “There are larger questions at work here, and they are pertinent to any organization,” Mochari wrote. “The questions are: How well can you do your job--and how much will you enjoy your job--if you know you're always being watched or monitored?”

Regardless of the pros or cons of bot-based management, they could transform Slack into something even bigger. While you’ve probably heard of Slack, Weiss highlights that the company has a long way to go. “The Slack story is still just at the beginning,” Weiss wrote in a blog post when he was hired. “It has fewer than 350 people, under 1M paid accounts and under 2 years since its launch.”

There may be plenty of new exciting developments including bots for Slack, but the current version can make a powerful addition for teams in the convention industry. You know the dreaded back-and-forth email volley that occurs throughout every stage of planning a meeting? Slack helps keep that game in check. A recent survey conducted by the company showed that the average user sees a 48.6 percent reduction in email. Deleting some of those messages isn’t the only benefit, though. Nearly 80 percent of respondents say that Slack helps improve transparency and office culture. Check out Slack here.

Looking for more technology that will help you manage your workload and ease your stress? Click here for six tools that might be right for you and your team.

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