7 min read
Jan 23, 2017
Project Collaboration

6 Slammin’ Slack Apps for Small Business

Matt Mullarkey-TonerAnalyst

Slack has made chatrooms cool again (at work, no less!): did you know that you can organize your to-do lists, sort out lunch plans, and even create and use your own chatbot in the app? However, using Slack (or other communications software) without integrated software is like driving a Ferrari and never shifting to sixth gear.

Most add-ons are as easy as installing a Google Chrome extension; after a couple of clicks you should be good to go. They’re usually free, which makes them great for small business. But before we get started, if you aren’t familiar with Slack, check out this article:

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Wait, what’s the difference between Slack add-ons, integrations, and apps?

If you browse around the Internet (or read the beginning of this article), you’ll probably see some sites with articles titled, “7 best Slack integrations” or “10 Slack apps that CRUSH it.” You may have also wondered, “What’s the difference between a Slack integration and app?” I even wrote an article (see link above) literally titled, “Beginner’s Guide to Slack and Its Integrations.” For the purpose of this article, the difference among integrations, add-ons, and apps is absolutely nothing. However, for consistencies’ sake, I will refer to them as apps for the rest of the article.

With that in mind, let’s soldier on forward:

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Trello

Trello (now part of the Atlassian family) is already a heavyweight in the task management world. I know plenty of people that not only use it to organize their professional life, but also their personal life. You can create, comment, assign, and do many of the things you could do Trello. While you won’t have that drag-and-drop control like you would on the normal app, it’s still useful. If you already are using Trello, it’s a no-brainer to at least try it out in Slack.

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Google Drive

There’s a decent chance that your company is already using Google Drive or one of its components (e.g., Docs or Sheets), so having the ability to create and share new files could help save your team/company time and energy. It’s easily accessed by clicking on the " + " in your message bar. From there, you can go ahead and create Docs, Sheets, and Slides.

Check out Google Drive here.

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Rubberduck

Rubberduck is the Slack app for DuckDuckGo. If you aren’t familiar with DuckDuckGo, it’s a search engine that doesn’t track you and makes user privacy a priority. This is in obvious contrast to Google which doesn’t exactly have a sterling reputation when it comes to data privacy. Rubberduck’s Slack app not only allows you to do web searches, it also can search popular sites such as YouTube, Amazon, and Google Maps. It also has handy features such as a currency/weight converter and horoscope.

Rubberduck for Slack

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Simple Poll

If you’re looking for an app that can quickly add a poll to one of your chats or channels, look no further than Simple Poll. Creating a poll is as simple as typing and using some syntax to customize it. The polls are emoji friendly, meaning that when you ask, “Should we go to the taco truck for lunch?”, people can respond with thumbs up, thumbs down, or an emoji that looks ill.

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Popular video calling app Skype is available for Slack. It’s very easy to install and use, and it allows you to initiate or receive calls. It also lets you create a specific channel for the Skype calls which multiple participants can join.

Some important things to note: This works with the desktop version of Slack, not the web version. Another thing to keep in mind is that you’ll need to close open Skype sessions in other windows.

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A word on bots

If you are hesitant when it comes to bots, don’t be. They can help you sort out scheduling. Furthermore, the workforce of the future is going to be comfortable and familiar with using bots. GetApp’s Suzie Blaszkiewicz has written about this before.

Need more proof? Look further than the messaging app Kik, which features a robust bot shop. The app is massively popular with 13-18 year olds and bots are regularly used. Why not stay ahead of (or at least keep up with) the game?

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Nextup JIRA

JIRA is like Trello’s older sibling that’s off studying engineering: its design is intuitive and based around cards (like Trello), but it’s a bit more complicated and stuffy to use. If you’re interested in finding more about JIRA, check out this article I wrote last year about the app and its alternatives:

Nextup JIRA integrates Slack to provide a variety of features, without being too intrusive or obnoxious. You can assign, log work, and comment on tasks, as well as use some advanced security and permissions features. Arguably most importantly, you’ll automatically get ticket info when an ID is mentioned in a chat.

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Busybot

Busybot is a handy bot that you can use to assign tasks to yourself and different team members. Busybot uses natural syntax (commands) to create and manage tasks. So if you wanted to create a task and tag somebody else in it, you’d just tag busybot and your team member followed by the task. From there you can add file attachments, subtasks, due dates, comments, and view a full task history. It organizes your notes and tasks into a channel for easy reference later on.

Busybot for Slack

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What’s your favorite Slack integration/add-on/plugin/app/bot?

What did you think of our list? Did we miss anything or have you used any of these apps before? Let us know in the comments below.

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