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Power of a Slackbot in an Agile World

Post by
Vasanth Kumar Makam
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Modern businesses and organizations comprehend the necessity to approach DevOps projects in agile customs. They understand the need for face to face interaction of the teams to improve the flexibility and complacent nature of their businesses to minimize the business perils of reliance on fixed plans. Agile methodologies support software engineers to enhance system developments by enhancing communication.

Agile methodologies are typically concerned with the continuous interaction, development, and testing of the software development processes. Its features are interactive nature, incremental and evolutionary. DevOps, as practice, brings development and operations teams together.

Whereas many organizations are facing an emerging collection of cloud offerings, tools, and methodology for their businesses, there is still room for these organizations to influence innovativeness. DevOps approaches like continuous integration, continuous deployments are some of the tools that are leading to businesses increasing reliance on agile methodologies. These agile methodologies help to manage software engineering, development, and cycles. An information system used as a central portal within an organization can collect and manage its agile and DevOps activities better by the use of Slack Bot.

Slack is the king of team collaboration platforms. Slack works like a chat room for the whole organization. It is designed in such a way that it takes the place of email as the primary method of communication and sharing information. Slack allows one to organize conversations by channels for group dialogues. It also allows for private messages and files. As a bonus, it integrates users with a plethora of other apps so you can manage your entire workflow through a single platform. A bot is a type of Slack App that connects with users by having a conversation with them; it can access the same variety of APIs and perform all of the special activities that a Slack App can. A slack bot, therefore, gives the platform a face, a name, and a personality. A slack bot can send DMs, upload files, and invite users into channels or kicked out from these particular channels.

Generic architecture and slack bot integrations

Software engineers integrated Slack into the DevOps and agile environment as a way to offer users quick and flexible communication with feedback mechanisms and system notifications. The slack Bot provides a variety of integrations, notifications, the ability to store or save conversations in cloud-based storage. The slack Bot integrates with other tools like google calendar, google drive, Microsoft OneDrive, Outlook calendar, Slack for Gmail and Slack for Outlook. These integrations work with office and file management and communications.

Chatbox in a slack (Haque, 2019)

Increasingly, Slack Bot allows a combination of chatbots in the agile environment which consecutively increases the demand for bots to interact across other platforms. This ability gives users and organizations, the possibility to choose their messaging channels like a Facebook messenger or WhatsApp. Chatbots have brought a revolution of ways organizations engage internally and with their customers. Collaboration is a recent trend in communication platforms. It allows for project workspaces to become a central hub. From this hub, project teams hold intrateam conversations that can be held in different and separate channels (rooms).

Slack bot integration is inclined to assist teams in whatever channel they are in continually. This integration is incorporated into the development by designing features suitable for the organization's use.

The collaborative Infrastructure (Calefato & Ebert, 2019)

Slack Bot Features

Slack Bot features make it a preferred method of communication by teams. A bot user token is used to access multiple APIs to perform a specific set of tasks. A Slack bot is designed with many features for advanced functionalities. Organizations with the intent to develop A slack Bot ought to consider the features and functions for customization to their needs. The main features include commits to deploy, a command for checking updates from the repository, simple command slack apps for initiating deployment process (project name) as well as extract of database backup.

Slack Bot platform has a structure that is Project-friendly. The first step in using Slack for project management is to set up one for the team. Slack is an influential application, a programming interface that allows intra conversation applications integrated within channels or chat boxes. Slack bots register and receive feedback from various connections through the channels. The use of emojis is a prominent feature of the slack Bot. The number of users and integrations. Organizations get the option to create separate teams for different parts of the groups. An enterprise could build one on one team or separate teams for different parts of the group in instances where the number of staff is significant. Every single unit has a specific number of channels. Channels can be about certain topics, particular projects, location-based, integrations, used by a specific team, or restricted to any other group.

The first step in creating Slack for team

Slack Bot is a practical attribute of Slack, automation of easy to use reminders. Getting reminders is one of the functional characteristics of the slack Bot. There are various functions for this feature: by typing "remind" in a channel, you tell Slack` Bot what you'd desire to a reminder of and it will alert you when the time comes. It can also be configured in a way that; it can remind of a specific task at a particular time. Reminders in Slack bot work with the configuration.

Configuring Slack Bot for reminders

Managing and keeping track of your list of tasks to accomplish is one of the crucial parts of the project management team. Slack can integrate with programs such as Wunderlist and ‘To do list’, to enable one to add items to your task records straight from a Slack channel. Additionally, the slack Bot will help you to take notes – it can help set a new message chain securely. It stores messages that can be referred to later. It has an effective capability to search. It is normal to get a Slack channel packed full of messages. The impressive search capabilities integrated into Slack enable one to search for details from a particular team member and results can be arranged by date and relevance. The modifier allows one to search only for links or starred messages. Slack Bot is capable of setting teams in video and audio calls with a maximum of 15 participants. This means that project teams do not have to change from Slack to other apps to make a work call. It is efficient and cost-effective.

How companies are utilizing Bots to automate business processes

Chatbots and artificial intelligence in recent years have become a significant topic in software engineering and business minds. ChatBots and computer programs can now communicate using natural language. Developing a Chatbot is equivalent to developing integration with a messaging or communication platform. Microsoft Bot framework environment liberated software engineers from the creation of codes for integration for routine tasks to channel-specific messages. Bot framework and language understanding intelligent service (LUIS) were made available to software engineers in 2017.

Chatbots have become more of AI-driven, with the ability to handle complex human communication with ease. For this reason, they are taking over convectional conversational services. Slack bots can work in various areas such as processing, marketing, and payment. Nevertheless, client service is where they do well. As Grand View Research reports, 45% of final consumers prefer chatbots as their primary mode of communication for queries about client service.

Within a couple of years, many companies will stay adopting the use of chatbots since they will feel the pressure of getting updated with technology. Slack bots or chatbots are hitting the business mainstream at a fast rate. A recent report by Grand View Research stated that the chatbot market is estimated to hit $1.2 billion internationally in less than a decade. Additionally, professionals have predicted that the market will increase at a compound yearly growth rate of over 24%.

Organizations embraced bots to automate most of their processes like call center operations, data integrations, and migration, to administer services like claims, onboarding of employees, scheduling of systems, support sales process and manning helpdesks. The majority of call center operations or customer requests received by phone call centers are supported with Robotic Process Automation technology. When it comes to data migration, employees of a company are regularly required to get information from legacy systems to have the data available for the latest systems. Robotic automation can support the data migration process and finish it without introducing human error. Slack bots help with claims administration through input and processing. Automated bots also assist with the onboarding of employees by the provision of guidelines. Bots can reduce the workload of the worker's helpdesk by taking care of direct, repetitive issues. These level-one tech support issues are simple but use a lot of time. Constant diagnostic tests of a company's computer systems done by bots will assist the IT staff stay ahead of various problems.

Benefits of using slack Bot

Slack Bot is accessible from anywhere and from any device. It has a mobile application with a simple to understand layout and functionality. Teams spread in different locations or countries can communicate at all times – day and night. Being able to keep up with work communications helps team members to be in the loop on tasks and updates.

Slack bot offers all teams’ communication in one place. It is branched out by creating channels for various topics and categories. One can allocate users to as many channels as needed. Slack bot application can be integrated with services already in use like the daily used web services - for example, GitHub for notification and viewing the code check-ins from development teams, HelpScout – an email support ticket service, or Trello – a project organization tool. People see cards created, edited and completed in the Trello portal immediately.

Slack Bot makes all content easily locatable from one search box. It is easy to find a link even if it posted a couple of weeks back. The search is super-fast, friendly and filterable. Use of the Slack search filter options narrows ones’ search to conversations with specific team members only in the FooBox channel, or any of several other filters. Apart from searching, it makes file sharing with teams easier. Slack makes it simple to send files quickly to the whole team, especially the use of Dropbox integration for more in-depth file access.

Slack Bot communication mobile app

Disadvantages of using slack Bot

In slack Bot, messages keep flowing into channels. This is a harmful real-time messaging. It is noisy, filled with continuous notifications. Team members have to keep constantly checking in. Notifications can be harmful to one’s productivity. With file sharing, storage of data also becomes a challenge. The storage space is just 10,000 messages for the free package. If one has a team of more than five people, then this will go in a short period. History of the messages will not be stored, and any message from the past will be archived or deleted. With this constant exchange from teams, it leads to a large number of inboxes.

The advantage of inboxes is the capability to see everything in one space. Slack’s additional feed adds another layer of the mailbox. Getting off-track is easy inside of Slack as 5-minutes of looking at messages turn into 20-minutes of speaking about unimportant subjects. Slack Bot brings in outside of work interference. Responding to Slack messages after work hours can infiltrate personal moments which is pretty similar to email. The downside with Slack is that even though one has the ‘away’ setting activated, the messages will keep coming with no respect for your current environment. This interference with one’s free time damages the attention of users and their work-life balance.

Statistics and trends of slack bot utilization in the industry

For organizations to deliver features of a new product, a central focus for Slack was set up in 2020 to display the emerging features of slack. Slack publicized additional features that shape on its mission to improve the life of the Slack users to make it more productive and easier. Slack’s is aiming at creating a bridge with emails and Slack; unified navigation workflow builder and other shared channels. Shared Channels allows units and teams to transact directly with their teams, and their customers right in their workspaces.

Universities keep classes in session with channels: UC Berkeley's School of Business and California State University are using Slack to give instructions to students. They also use it as a means to give students support and feedback. The Universities are using Slack to build an empowering hub for students. With Slack, the universities have a centralized digital hub which they use for students’ feedback in terms of guidance. Students use the slack channels to correspond with one another and their professors, share and receive files and tools for their learning.

Twitter has been using its Slack channels to keep abreast of COVID-19 response. It has maintained its Slack channels to keep its employees abreast on happenings and any changes on their organization during the pandemic period. channels to keep workers ahead of developments and make changes to its work-from-home rule. Slack has demonstrated to be efficient for communication and organization, and the communal trait is just as valuable socially even as Twitter is.

Statistics on Slack in the Industry shows an increasing trend of its adoption around the globe. Several 8,000 users had obtained for slack services within one day of its release in 2013. In 2015, Slack had about 10,000 fresh active users joining each week. Slack had 135,000 and more Slack paying accounts distributed across 60,000 users. In 2015 the statistics had increased to 200,000 paying users and 750,000 more every day from active users. By the end of the year 2015, Slack had accumulated a million active users daily. In May 2018, it had 8 million and over everyday accounts from whom 3 million had paying accounts.

In 2015, Financial Times stated that Slack was the leading technology business to move from business into personal usage. Slack was named the most exceptional company of the year 2017. This was during the10th Crunchies Awards by TechCrunch.

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