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Danny Ryan: Hello and welcome to the Work Together Better podcast. This is your host Danny Ryan and I’m here with the other host, Tommy Ryan. How are you doing, Tom? 


Tommy Ryan: I’m doing well, Danny. It’s a great day. It’s spring time. 


Danny Ryan: It’s beautiful outside. 


Tommy Ryan: Things are blooming. 


Danny Ryan: Yes, it’s wonderful. It was a beautiful day today. I’m looking forward to getting out later on as well. So today we wanted to get together. The last couple of weeks we’ve been getting together to talk about migrating off of different platforms and into Microsoft 365. Today I wanted to talk to you about Slack. To get us started here, I know we had some experience where we were using Slack internally and migrating off ourselves. Maybe the best place for us to start here is just talk about our own personal experience since that’s probably a microcosm of what some of the larger companies run into. Tell me a little bit about that. 


Tommy Ryan: It’s very similar to what you see out there with other social based collaboration platforms. Very centered around the conversation and making that kind of a stream of activity that people can hop in and out of which is a different metaphor than collaboration within say email where it’s kind of limited and you can’t hop in to the conversation and expand and contract the group very easily. 


We found it user interface was clean. You can get started quickly and then you could extend with some of the connectors to do things. So where we started is, I think, where a lot of organizations start, some on the dev ops side of things to have teams work together and share information as we’re going in a virtual way. 


So, really, we enjoyed it but what was interesting is we saw teams coming on board and we got on the bandwagon with teams so it’s the release of it. We kicked the tires and teams for maybe a month at most and we decided this is good enough for us to move over and just sunset this Slack as a way to collaborate on projects. 


Danny Ryan: Did we have to migrate any of the content over or we just had people migrate over and it was just leave everything there? 


Tommy Ryan: We left it on, kept it alive where we could go back but we didn’t continue the conversations there. We didn’t have a lot of content that was document binary files. There was more conversations was the focus. 


Danny Ryan: So it sounds like and as we were preparing for this. I think you and I were sort of talking about what we’re finding is is there’s different social platforms that are out there and that’s where you have sort of like the collaboration, the ad hoc collaboration that goes on within organizations. Then you had more of the long term documents storage and CMS, more of that long term storage of information and content. I guess the looking at Slack, they have integration with different sort of CMS products but it’s … and there is some storage of documents but it’s not trying to be, sort of like Jive’s approach where it’s not trying to be a CMS at all. 


Tommy Ryan: Yeah, yeah. It doesn’t have a lot of the traditional CMS features that you would see with iron grain versioning and retention policy and things like that that you see in CMS systems. I see it more for sharing a document that’s not going to be the source of the truth or the master copy, let’s say. But it’s something that you’re sharing that adds to the conversation and, if you really need to have documents managed, you’re going to connect it and you’ll use of connector like for Google Drive or teams or SharePoint where you have the ability to keep that content somewhere else that’s going to be well controlled. It’s all about the conversation and allowing people to quickly chat back and forth virtually and organize it in a very basic way, a very simple way. So I think Slack really leans on the side of simplicity and trying to keep it as simple and clean from a design standpoint that I think attracts the development groups that have an appreciation for clean design. 


Danny Ryan: Part of our conversation too is around Slack’s IPOing sometime soon, maybe of this year and just in talking about, looking at the history of interacting with Jive and with companies that have their lifetime and wondering if we’re going to run into people with the same types of issues that came up when we were talking to customers, even right now about Jive where some of the problems that come up where you have a component, your social component is from one company and your CMS or documents storage is from another and, I think, some of the things that we keep on running into,I mean, we were mentioning these earlier where issues with search, issues with security, problems with the age old problem of where do I store things and just running into some of the … there’s also just the problem, I think, companies recognize if I have two of the same types of playback within the company, it just creates some confusion about what are we using and might want to use. You see that playing out here or do you see some of those things coming into play with this at all? 


Tommy Ryan: What I find interesting is as I look around in that space with Slack and the overlap of our teams, we’re in the age of shadow IT where Cloud based services and without any level of administration that typically is required by Enterprise kind of tools, so the beauty of the cloud is it’s quick and easy but that’s a large sword. It could easily fractionate your IT infrastructure and the way that you can control and maintain the right balance of ease of use and engagement of the individual and the company versus securing the intellectual property of your company and doing what is expected in the Enterprise. 


You do have integrations that allow you to stay in both but that is where, if you have Slack in teams and now you put something in between to synchronize that, now you’re worrying about what’s the security of this, what’s the implication of managing this? Does this have really what I need or is it going to fall short and make it a worse experience that now it’s kind of clunky to kind of get around. I think any time you enter a tool that has an overlapping capability is you create confusion to where things go. That can lead to, well, where do I get it? Where do I find it? Where can I discover it? Then how do I control it? 


How do I put the governance around it? To work within the limitations of, well, this side of the equation over here in Slack, I can do this but can’t do this over in teams or vice versa. That just complicates your IT strategy. I think a lot of it comes with trying to make it easy for the end user. There’s going to be organizations that are going to want to have, say Slack for their dev groups because it does the trick for them and they got a work with that risk or they say, “You know, that’s, that’s good enough for us”. I think that’s where you see a lot of people that are in Slack. It’s kind of good enough for us. 


Then Slack, you know, seems to be say, “Well, how do we get into the Enterprise”? We see Slack or the Enterprise grid. You’re trying to create a bunch of Slack communities in the umbrella of the Enterprise and that’s where, I think, you see immediately it falls short from an Enterprise standpoint is you can’t just stand up Slack. You have to go to the Enterprise level so you have the right levels of control from security and information sharing of where are my communities within the organization? 


Danny Ryan: I think, when you and I were looking at it, seems like it was definitely when we were just looking at Slack for teams. It was something for smaller organizations could really see a lot of benefit working with it. I think we enjoyed the user experience and pretty easy for us to get up and running on it, which was really nice. 


Some of the other things I think we were looking at from our experience. Often, with these things, it’s sort of like thinking how we as a service organization can help people if they want to make the move from a different platform over to Microsoft 365, where can we help them or where would they need the help? This seems to be one of those where it could be more around like to change management and training, just preparing people to make the move and what needs to be communicated for those things. But, opportunity wise, it looks like there could be some very viable, just give people enough time to get the content that they need to out of it and into the right place and then just set some expectations with people about, “Okay, this is how you did it in Slack and this is how you do it in teams.” 


Communicate and do some … I would classify user training around that. But, beyond that, I’m not sure what other additional things … and if you’re watching this, please leave a comment to this if there are other things where you see you would need an organization or help with. But I just didn’t see anything more than that. You see anything? What other things do you think people would need to go and do this? 


Tommy Ryan: So, as it relates to how we can help organizations going from Slack to Microsoft 365, I think some of those opportunities are really more from a consultantive standpoint where we’re helping organizations understand what is the communication that’s required, the training, the change management of you’re moving people’s cheese from one platform and some of that might not come down to moving content as much as we used to collaborate this way. How does that translate to the new world and, if we do have information that comes along with that, what’s the most methodical way to approach that and assess what comes over migration opportunities. It’s about how do you use that as an opportunity to do spring cleaning? 


If you look at moving to a new house, it’s a big event. It’s a costly event. You can benefit from that if there’s some planning and I don’t need to move this table or this piece of furniture from one house to another because it’s not going to be in this new house. If you don’t think about it, you move it over and then you’re worried about how do I sell this? How do I get it out of the house versus getting rid of it in the first place? I think that’s a discipline that we’ve got well honed as an organization to help people go through that process. Then whatever comes over, we’ve got the technical skills. 


There might be some lacking and some tooling but a lot of it’s going to be more document centric because there’s not a lot of heavy features that are going to be relative to what you’d want to move over into Microsoft 365. Really, it’s going to be the document content. How do you get that translated and put in the right place. That’s where we doing that. I mean, the key thing is is understanding what is that structure in your future state. What is your digital workplace look like? Where do you collaborate around what types of information? So, we’re not moving it just to the same structure that you have over in Slack. We’re actually moving it to the structure that is the right structure for you long term. 


Danny Ryan: Got ya. 


Tommy Ryan: I think that’s a key element of having organization that is the process into the Microsoft 365 platform. It’s moving it to the right place and putting the right design to make sure you’re going to get the most value out of that content after it’s moved. 


Danny Ryan: Cool. Excellent. I think that’s a great point. I think the big thing for us is going to be designing that digital workplace in Microsoft 365. I have a feeling some of these efforts might take multiple … Slack might be just one of the different products that folks are using this combined with other products. Then designing what is this look like. Where’s this going to and how do we make sure that we’re designing Microsoft 365 and have everything set up there properly for the organization. I think that’s real important. So … 


Well, thanks, Tom. I appreciate your time doing this. It was good conversation today and, folks, everybody for listening. Definitely leave a comment if you’re looking into doing this or if you want to talk about doing this, please go to and you can go to the contact us page and we’ll follow up with you there. Thank you so much and have a wonderful day. Thank you. Bye bye. 



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