Is Your Collaboration Tool A Swiss Army Knife?

By Pat Calhoun • May 2, 2018

Collaboration tools, like Slack, are helping teams communicate and become more productive. Slack enables collaborative channels, direct messaging, and integration with apps. While it does well with collaboration and messaging, can a collaboration tool become your Swiss Army knife replacing the need to go to a dedicated app?

The answer is “not always.” Even Slack indicates on their website that “creating simple workflows” can be done with Slack. When the workflows are more involved, enterprises are better served by striking the right balance between collaboration tools and dedicated apps.

What Does “Not Always” Mean?

To further explain the idea of striking the right balance, I thought I would share an example of one of my favorite apps – Forkable. At Espressive, we use Forkable as our lunch delivery service. We have tried a number of services, but Forkable is our favorite because it uses AI to predict what each employee is most likely to enjoy, and it is incredibly easy and intuitive to use.

As expected, Forkable has a Slack integration. Once a day, I receive a notification of my selection for the following day. Here is what I received today.

As you can see, Forkable is integrating with Slack in exactly the right way — they are using Slack to send notifications. Through Slack, Forkable provides me with my daily lunch recommendation. If I opt to make a change, Forkable doesn’t force me through a complex set of chatbot interactions. They instead take me to the Forkable web interface (which I include below).

Changing my menu selection is a complex workflow. It requires choosing between two restaurants, viewing options, making selections, and then tailoring those selections. Although it is complex, Forkable used design thinking to hide the complexity through an intuitive consumer-like interface. Imagine the number of back and forths required to do this with a bot on Slack. Forkable struck the right balance between a collaboration tool and their dedicated app.

Is Slack Alone Sufficient?

In the world of ITSM employee self-help, some vendors have opted to use collaboration tools like Slack as the only user interface. While this is fine for basic interactions with a chatbot, if there is any complexity in the workflow, this will not yield the right outcome for employees. Should they need help from the help desk or require invoking a more complex set of actions such as a password reset or acquiring a new laptop, forcing them through a collaboration tool would be a very clunky (and frustrating) experience.

Given poor employee acceptance of existing self-help portals, it is critical to leverage design thinking to maximize adoption and call deflection. Vendors who use collaboration tools as the only user interface have clearly not implemented a design thinking process. Design thinking is an innovative approach that ensures an optimal employee experience resulting in high employee adoption rates. Forkable would not be enjoying the success that they are today if they had tried to put the entire employee experience into a collaboration tool. It just wouldn’t meet employee expectations and would be quickly abandoned — and ITSM is no different.

Espressive — the Right Balance for Ensuring Employee Adoption

Espressive is the pioneer in creating consumer-like AI-based employee self-help experiences. Our mission is to make it simple for employees to get answers to questions and resolution to issues so they can focus on their jobs rather than navigating a world of portals, bots and knowledge bases.

At Espressive we are insanely focused on employee adoption and call deflection. We recognized early on that doing so required a comprehensive solution that covered the entire lifecycle of any request — and we believe that requires an app, not a Swiss Army knife. Sure, employees can use Slack to engage with our virtual support agent and to receive notifications, but for us that is just one of many channels. For our customers, the app is crucial when the virtual support agent has more than just a simple response for the employee. For example, resetting a password, acquiring hardware or software from the catalog, or even engaging with a live agent on the help desk. Helping employees with these types of complex tasks requires a dedicated app to ensure employees feel satisfied with the support experience and come back in the future.

Employees expect a convenient and dedicated consumer-like experience to help them answer their questions, see the status of their requests, and allow them to escalate their issues. These types of tasks require an app, not just a simple chatbot “chat” experience. We deliver that at Espressive. Click here to arrange a demo today.

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