As you may have heard, Slack is now part of Salesforce! This means that some of the information below is dated, but we wanted to keep it around for historical context and other good reasons. For more details on Salesforce’s acquisition of Slack, read the official announcement.
It’s been one year since many of us transitioned to remote work, and what a year it’s been. While we’ve all dealt with obstacles, setbacks and missteps, we’ve also seen tremendous innovation from all corners of the globe. It hasn’t been easy, but organisations across sizes and industries are paving the way for a new, more dynamic way of working.
So today, on the anniversary of a collective, worldwide shift toward a new future of distributed work, we’re announcing our very first Slack Spotlight Awards. It’s our way of recognising ingenuity during tough times and inspiration through connection.
And the winners are…
The employee experience award: Nike
In a time of extreme disruption and enforced distance, how do you keep teams engaged and moving forward? It’s a question on every business leader’s mind, from Main Street to the largest multi-national enterprise. For resilience to take root, organisations of all sizes need to put employees first, leading with support and giving employees the tools that they need to stay productive.
Iconic retailer Nike is receiving the employee experience award for its sustained focus on digital transformation and employee experience.
When coronavirus first hit in early 2020, Nike quickly pivoted to adjust to new market conditions and the closure of many of its offices, expanding its use of Slack to help its teams stay connected and meet its ambitious product launch schedule. Without missing a beat, the sportswear brand shipped hundreds of new products in 2020, including the Air Jordan XI Jubilee and Air Jordan XI Adapt.
At the heart of the company’s ongoing growth strategy is a focus on human-to-human connection – with both customers and employees.
Inside Nike, employees embrace new ways of working together, driving the company’s successful digital transformation. Slack is one of the tools of choice. Slack users at Nike have more than doubled, from 14,000 to 30,000, organising their work, engaging with each other across both public and private Slack channels and sending more than 1 million Slack messages a month. And unlike with siloed email inboxes that remain hidden from view, the creative work and ideas shared across Slack have become a searchable archive of inspiration for the entire organisation.
Better still, the benefits of working in a channel-based platform extend beyond the boundaries of the organisation. Nike employees are also using Slack to collaborate with external partners, such as creative agencies, contractors and vendors, using hundreds of shared channels to connect Slack instances.
Further fuelling Nike’s digital acceleration and competitive edge internally are more than 2,000 custom Slack apps and bots. These integrations help teams work faster on what really matters to the business, like the Slack bot that automatically alerts employees when demand suddenly spikes on Nike.com. This workflow eliminates the lost time spent switching between applications and helps provide a better customer experience when traffic loads spike. Nike also makes it simple for employees to give each other ‘high fives’ right in Slack – a key way to stay connected and celebrate shared successes, regardless of location.
Nike is just getting started. With innovation in its DNA, there is little doubt that the industry pioneer will continue to inspire its ranks and surpass expectations, no matter what challenges lie ahead.
The new HQ award: T-Mobile
This award spotlights a company that seamlessly adopted a digital-first approach in 2020, creating a digital HQ – in some cases, practically overnight – to empower its workforce from anywhere.
The second-largest wireless provider in the US, T-Mobile, receives the new HQ award for using Slack to power its move from physical to remote offices in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Using Slack channels, T-Mobile was able to digitally onboard employees from its Sprint acquisition – all in one day, and without disrupting service for 102 million customers.
The effort included shifting 12,000 call centre employees to work from home in less than two weeks. To do this, T-Mobile’s care team orchestrated everything in Slack channels and facilitated kerbside pickup for employees to retrieve necessary equipment. Since experts maintained direct access with the appropriate teams, customers didn’t experience any dip in support.
To share critical updates and quickly triage questions, the consumer markets team uses a simple Slack form to solicit and answer questions about individual store reopening policies, compensation and safety guidelines in real time. Because shop managers can receive responses in under two minutes, they’re able to update and enforce local guidelines and keep customers and employees safe.
When it comes to new T-Mobile products, frontline employees often learn the details just days in advance, which generates a lot of questions. Before Slack, the only way to get answers was to file a ticket or call HQ support (which meant sitting on the phone with a long line of customers waiting). By implementing Slack support channels and user groups to mobilise the right people at the right time, experts can now answer questions in a matter of minutes.
T-Mobile continues to evolve and innovate its Slack workflows, such as deploying Slack bots to reduce troubleshooting time from 30 seconds to 1 second. In the wake of the shift to distributed work, the wireless leader has successfully pivoted, using Slack as its digital HQ and, most importantly, staying, as the company puts it, ‘customer-crazed and employee-committed’.
Slack Spotlight Awards by country
Across the world, we’re seeing an increase in Slack adoption – from young, fast-moving companies and traditional enterprises alike. What they all have in common is a need to unlock work and foster company-wide agility and alignment. This award recognises a customer in each of Slack’s major international markets – the UK, Germany, France, Australia and Japan – that uses the platform to effectively move its business forward.
The UK Public sector award winner: HM Revenue and Customs
The UK’s tax, payments and customs authority, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), is receiving the UK public sector award for moving fast in Slack to help design, implement and deliver a number of digital services that allowed more than 12 million affected businesses and citizens to apply for financial support during the pandemic.
A project that would usually take several months was completed in less than five weeks. Slack helped enable more than 2,000 people across 60 teams, mostly working from home, to collaborate at record speed. Communicating in Slack channels, HMRC’s digital teams saved time with custom Slack apps and integrations like PagerDuty and Jira. Stakeholders could easily see status and progress, with the right people – HMRC staff, contractors and IT partners – added at the right time to the right channels. This facilitated collaboration and helped the teams identify and resolve issues critical to the success of the high-profile programme. In spite of late nights and early mornings, they kept morale high by building camaraderie in Slack and other channels.
Up and running since April 2020, the first grants were paid within weeks of becoming operational, offering crucial relief for those furloughed due to the pandemic. The HMRC’s solutions have had record-high satisfaction ratings from customers, and the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) was recognised by the UK’s BCS Chartered Institute of IT as the ‘best public-sector IT project’.
The UK award winner: Gymshark
An early adopter of influencer marketing, Gymshark is receiving the UK country award for using Slack to help its employees focus on the work that matters to them: ensuring that the company’s 12 million social-media followers and customers continue to go wild for its high-performance, Instagram-worthy sportswear.
With Slack, Gymshark has shifted communications out of siloed inboxes and into channels, making it easier for teams to find the information that they need to get things done. Rather than having to waste time searching through emails for the latest files, the most up-to-date information is at hand. Because the company has integrated the apps that its people use every day into Slack, teams spend less time toggling between tabs and more time staying productive.
Every Gymshark worker is on Slack, and it’s where 95% of all their communications happen. Internal email is simply no longer required. Instead, employees connect in a variety of departmental and group channels, and they use direct messaging when they need to have a one-on-one conversation. From creating a companywide ticketing system to streamline employee requests, to hosting a Covid-compliant product launch, Slack has become the place where Gymshark’s real work gets done.
‘Slack is really a business-critical system for us,’ says Richard Boon, one of Gymshark’s tech support managers. ‘We have everything we need at our fingertips, and it has massively improved response times, productivity and efficiency.’
Recently valued at nearly $1.4 billion, Gymshark plans to rival the biggest fitness brands in the world and will continue to expand its use of Slack as it works toward that goal.
The Germany award winner: ABOUT YOU
One of the fastest-growing e-commerce companies in Europe, ABOUT YOU is receiving the Germany country award for its innovative company-wide use of Slack to offer users a more inspiring, convenient and personalised digital shopping experience.
To drive awareness for how internal teams can use the platform, Slack 101 and 201 sessions are included in ABOUT YOU Academy, a monthly internal knowledge-sharing event. This empowers every department to take advantage of Slack’s features – from HR, which welcomes new hires and streamlines onboarding with Slack’s Workflow Builder, to IT, which uses in-channel incident management tools to resolve issues.
During big retail events, for example, ABOUT YOU uses Slack to meet the increased demand on its website to ensure fast, seamless shopping for its users. In a network of Slack channels, the team uses message threads, emoji and @mentions to coordinate the regulation of their Amazon Web Services (AWS) server capabilities so that shoppers can enjoy an uninterrupted experience. When staffers need to chat directly with AWS, ABOUT YOU relies on Slack Connect to bring the right teams from each company into a channel.
The retailer also leverages Slack Connect with over 15 external organisations, including partners who participate in the annual code.talks conference sponsored by ABOUT YOU. Slack enables faster, more structured workflows and has improved how colleagues communicate internally by streamlining internal support requests. To receive and triage issues, the operations team uses a mix of workflows, emoji and public and private Slack channels.
The France award winner: Doctolib
One of the leading e-health companies in Europe, Doctolib is receiving the France country award for its use of Slack to help make the healthcare system more human, efficient and connected.
When France’s lockdown went into effect in March 2020, Doctolib quickly transitioned its teams to work from home. In a matter of weeks, 1,200 employees across 40 cities had started using Slack to continue to efficiently deliver Doctolib’s services, which were only increasing in demand with the pandemic in full swing. By April, Slack had replaced Google Hangouts as the collaboration platform of choice to connect teams and better serve health professionals and their patients.
Doctolib now uses Slack to not only keep teams aligned but also to increase engagement and success across departments, and externally with outside partners in Slack Connect. ‘We’ve extended the use of Slack to all Doctolib teams during lockdown,’ says chief people officer Matthieu Birach. ‘What started out as a communication channel has become the way to maintain an informal link between Doctolibers. Today, we meet in Slack to discuss structuring projects, tap into the collective intelligence or laugh together at our children’s jokes.’
The teams fostered new social connections and replaced internal newsletters with more engaging Slack messages using Block Kit Builder. Instead of emails, several teams, including IT, rely on dedicated #help channels powered by Workflow Builder to streamline ticket submissions and resolve issues faster. To support the company’s growth, new-hire onboarding is now supported by Slack, where the people development team welcomes more than 60 employees a month. It’s no wonder Doctolib, now 1,600 strong and counting, is part of the Next40 group of France’s 40 most promising ‘hypergrowth’ start-ups.
The Australia award winner: Afterpay
Pioneering a global shift away from credit, Afterpay is receiving the Australia country award for using Slack to facilitate seamless communication and increase productivity, both internally and with external partners.
By allowing users to pay in four fortnightly instalments, Afterpay is on a mission to power an economy where everybody wins, giving customers the ability to budget for the things that they want and need. Currently in the midst of a rapid growth spurt, the company is welcoming 20,500 customers a day, pushing its total base over the 11 million mark.
Afterpay uses Slack to connect and empower more than 900 employees to work more efficiently in every department. Even as the pandemic forces most of its workers to stay remote, the company relies on Slack to keep moving forward. In fact, in the past six months alone, Afterpay has hired and onboarded more than 300 new employees. Externally, Slack has been critical for the company to collaborate with third parties and keep contact centres in Manila and Texas up to speed with company developments.
In just five years, Afterpay has evolved from an Australian startup to an ASX (Australian Stock Exchange) top 20 company that now operates in New Zealand, the US, Canada and the UK. As the company continues to scale globally, it will rely on Slack to drive innovation, foster a culture of inclusion and communication and give millions of customers, as it says, a ‘better way to pay’.
The Japan award winner: KADOKAWA Connected, Inc.
Providing information and communications technology (ICT) services for the entire KADOKAWA Group, the iconic Japanese media conglomerate, KADOKAWA Connected, Inc. is receiving the Japan country award for its adoption of Slack as part of its digital transformation (DX) initiative across the organisation – enabling KADOKAWA to continue to supply fans with everything from books and feature films to anime and video games.
To help drive Slack adoption, KADOKAWA Connected organised internal education sessions and, playing to its strengths, created a guidebook in the form of manga, a Japanese graphic novel. Called ‘The complete use guide of ICT tools’, the manga provides a high-level overview of Slack and outlines the importance of DX in a uniquely relatable way.
With Slack at the centre of its internal communication tools, KADOKAWA Connected has expedited communication and increased efficiencies. For example, in the fall of 2019, Akira Yoshino won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. When Yoshino cited ‘The chemical history of a candle’, a series of lectures given by scientist Michael Faraday, as the catalyst that sparked his interest in the field, KADOKAWA turned to Slack to kick off an emergency reprint. The Nobel Prize was announced on 9th October, and by noon the next day, more than 100 people had collaborated in Slack to reprint as quickly as possible.
Inspired by the possibilities of such an impactful platform, KADOKAWA Connected will work to adopt Slack across 50 KADOKAWA Group companies, replacing decades-old legacy processes with a modern tool that will not only increase productivity but help the company publish Japan’s most compelling content (manga included).
The excellence in automation award winner: Veepee
This award goes to the organisation that saves its employees time and frustration, and facilitates better workflows, by automating tasks both big and small in Slack.
A privately held French company valued at over $1 billion, online retailer Veepee is receiving the automation award for its use of Slack automation to provide a better flash sale experience to 72 million members and 7,000 brand partners in 13 countries.
Veepee offers everything from clothes and home appliances to toys, wine, travel and entertainment at up to 80% off – for just three to five days at a time. This rapidly expiring window means that the company needs to move even faster internally. To do this, Veepee and its tech community, vpTech, used Slack channels, bots and both custom and out-of-the-box integrations to build a best-in-class incident management system that has decreased incidents by 67%.
Slack has also allowed Veepee’s HR team to get a better vision of their employees’ engagement, sending surveys through the Officevibe Slack integration to increase response rates by 54%. With a better understanding of its workforce, Veepee can adjust accordingly and empower its teams to deliver a better product to members.
To seamlessly accept electronic payments from customers, Veepee works with external payment service providers in Slack Connect, replacing email with a secure and productive way to communicate and strengthen relationships – and, ultimately, give both members and brand partners a better experience.
The excellence in sales in Slack award winner: Splunk, Inc.
Traditional outreach is becoming less effective, and sales cycles are getting longer. This award goes to a sales team that pivoted to Slack Connect to not only drive growth but attract and retain customers.
An expert at transforming machine data into accessible information, Splunk, Inc. is receiving the sales in Slack award for leveraging Slack to close deals faster and get usable data into the hands of more customers, including 91 of the Fortune 100 companies.
The need for Splunk and its Data-to-Everything Platform continues to grow as more businesses move operations online in response to the pandemic. To meet demand, Splunk’s sales engineers and professionals are using channel-based communication to collaborate, usher in prospective deals and grow their sales organisation.
As a global vice president of IT operations analytics and observability sales at Splunk, Quentin Packard manages hundreds of field sales professionals, who interact with customers and prospects on a daily basis. His team helps customers use Splunk products to move more workloads, applications and data into the cloud.
Splunk’s sales teams use Slack to keep communications organised and efficient. This helps them present a united front for their customers within a fast-paced environment. By using threads in Slack channels, Packard’s team can also find the information that they need, when they need it, from their cross-functional partners. Teammates can start threads from any message to ask a question, add context or give feedback without disrupting a conversation’s flow.
Kevin Pura is the area vice president of global sales engineering at Splunk, with a growing team of sales engineers worldwide. With Slack Connect, his team can move all their conversations with external partners, clients and vendors into Slack channels. Since most Splunk customers already use Slack, setting up channels is seamless.
‘Ultimately, our customers choose Splunk because we’re able to deliver value much faster than our competition,’ Pura says. ‘Slack Connect plays a major role in that because it gives our customers a single place to interact with our cross-functional Splunk team, making it easier for them to find the people they need.’
The excellence in customer service award winner: Oscar Health
This award goes to the organisation that uses Slack to provide a higher level of white-glove service and inspire customers to become advocates.
A direct-to-consumer health insurance company, Oscar Health is receiving the customer service award for using Slack to pioneer digital health services and offer its 420,000 members the ultimate customer concierge experience – both before and during the pandemic.
Oscar Health members are not only satisfied with the platform; they’re also satisfied with the service: Oscar’s Net Promoter Score is 36, compared with an industry average of –4 among insurers and 12 for Affordable Care Act providers.
Sebastian Burzacchi, the vice president of service operations at Oscar Health, says that the secret to customer satisfaction is white-glove support. Every Oscar member has their own personalised Care Team, which consists of about five care guides and a team of clinical experts. Care Teams are regionalised, and care guides are experts within the member’s area and hospital network.
When an Oscar member has an issue, the Care Team is there to support that person from beginning to end. Behind the scenes, the team uses tiered Slack channels to share knowledge and find answers fast. The tiered channels ensure that service representatives can quickly tap the right people for help.
‘In Slack, we can troubleshoot and identify the information needed to answer a question, and this enables us to be more succinct and efficient when responding to members,’ Burzacchi says. ‘Slack allows us to solve issues in almost real time, often with the member on the phone.’
In March 2020, when US healthcare systems went into overdrive in response to Covid-19, Oscar was at the forefront of the sprint to start up new services and testing. On 6th March, the company released a risk assessment survey and testing centre locator for free, public use. Both products launched during shelter-in-place, and most of the strategising was done in Slack.
‘A lot of that rapid-fire collaboration happened within channels, because all of a sudden we were all remote,’ says Duncan Greenberg, the company’s senior director of product. ‘Slack certainly made it easier for us to make decisions quickly and communicate them to everyone who needed to know.’
With Slack as its digital headquarters, Oscar Health scaled up its systems and moved its workforce remote, keeping more than 1,000 employees focused on doing what they do best: innovating to deliver a patient-first experience.
The Slack in education award in the US and Japan: Arizona State University and N High School
Driven by the pandemic and a world that’s starting to appreciate digital learning, education now takes place outside the four walls of a classroom. This award goes to the institution that uses Slack to improve the learning experience and successfully serve students, teachers and staff.
The Slack in education US award winner: Arizona State University
Ranked as US News & World Report’s most innovative school for five years straight, Arizona State University (ASU) is receiving the Slack in education award for its use of Slack to redefine education and power the modern learning experience.
A forward-thinking place, ASU was the very first university to adopt Slack campus-wide, rolling it out to five campuses and 200,000 users, including students, faculty and administrators. With 5,664 active course workspaces to date, Slack is used to host classroom discussions, develop new courses and support students – both on campus and at home.
For ASU’s CIO, Lev Gonick, going all in on Slack made perfect sense. ‘We observed a large population of Sun Devil Nation already leveraging Slack,’ he says. ‘Listening to next-generation voices has been key in our inclusive strategies as ASU continues to architect the most innovative digital campus.’
That strategy has paid off for the university’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, where journalism students use Slack channels to coordinate the publication of new stories. When news is breaking, the students whip up a new channel to organise coverage across the newsroom’s broadcast, digital and social-media platforms. They collaborate on the content in real time, simulating the fast-paced, hyperconnected newsrooms that they’ll encounter in their careers.
Giving students access to Slack doesn’t just help the students. As Phil Simon, a lecturer at ASU’s WP Carey School of Business, explains, it helps the faculty too. ‘I’m a professor who enjoys communicating and collaborating with my students,’ he says. ‘At the same time, though, I won’t spend my morning reviewing 150 emails, just answering the same query 18 different times.’ Instead, Simon sets up topic-specific Slack channels that are popular among students.
From automating administrative tasks and streamlining logistics to transforming the educational experience, Slack helps ASU innovate at all levels and for every person in its community. At this rate, the university will be in a prime position to earn a sixth year at the top.
The Slack in education in Japan award winner: N High School
A fully accredited online school, N High School is receiving the Slack in education in Japan award for using Slack to innovate in the digital learning space and successfully serve its student population since 2016.
Established by Tokyo-based publisher KADOKAWA and video-sharing website operator Dwango, N High School aims to nurture tech-savvy, creative graduates. With 19 commuter campuses and more than 15,000 students, the organisation has used Slack since its founding to facilitate communication between students, teachers and staff.
During the school year, more than 8,500 public Slack channels are used for form group, after-school activities and more. The Google Calendar app alerts students and staff of upcoming meetings and classes, while a birthday notification bot ensures that teachers don’t miss a chance to celebrate. In lieu of breakroom camaraderie, the Donut app for Slack automatically pairs up faculty and staff every Friday: Participants introduce themselves and enjoy a digital lunch together.
To encourage a supportive and fun atmosphere, custom-built Slack bots count and praise ‘likes’ and welcome new channel participants with auto-messages. While teachers generally give students some independence, certain channels have specific rules and policies, and faculty and staff are empowered to report cyberbullying.
Traditional high school clubs, and their corresponding activities, take place in Slack channels, from entrepreneurship and investment to e-sports and music. At 990 members, the art club is the most popular and home to both dabblers and those looking to pursue art as a profession after they graduate. A facilitator shares tips and insights and encourages everyone to post illustrations and interact just as they would in a physical art studio.
N High School students prefer Slack for its secure environment, whether they’re talking to each other, requesting support from counsellors or asking teachers questions. To make everyone as comfortable as possible, students are allowed to work under a pseudonym, and ‘speaking’, or typing in Slack, is not required. Most students thrive in the digital classroom, and graduates often say they don’t want to leave Slack.
The visionary award: Phil Wiser, CTO, ViacomCBS
This award goes to a visionary leader who recognised and seized the opportunity to fundamentally transform and improve the way that their business runs with Slack.
As the executive vice president and chief technology officer for leading content company ViacomCBS, Phil Wiser is receiving the visionary award for using Slack to support the evolution of ViacomCBS’s global business and empower its employees to meet the future of work.
Upon the completion of the merger between CBS and Viacom in December 2019, Wiser knew that Slack would be an important tool for the transformation of the combined company. ‘Ultimately, it’s not about deploying the technology. It’s about changing the way people work,’ Wiser told Business Insider. ViacomCBS partnered with Slack to help build a strongly connected internal culture committed to communication and collaboration. The company enlisted Slack ‘ambassadors’ to advise in the development and execution of an effective roll-out strategy to integrate Slack seamlessly across the ViacomCBS organisation and to train employees effectively.
The impact of the pandemic in March 2020 accelerated this integration, as ViacomCBS adapted to a remote environment while continuing to meet the increased demand for media and entertainment. Wiser highlighted how ViacomCBS brands have incorporated Slack to increase productivity, describing how the CBS newsroom uses Slack channels in the newsgathering process and to vet story opportunities efficiently. ‘Slack has facilitated our efforts to streamline the content creation process so we can continue to react rapidly to what’s happening in the world,’ he shared at the Slack Frontiers conference in 2020.
More broadly, ViacomCBS’s strategic shift toward more flexible ways of working underscores the importance of being agile, adaptable and collaborative. ‘We’re continuing to move quickly in our technology transformation,’ Wiser says, ‘and Slack has enabled us to bring everyone in our organisation along for this exciting journey.’
The employee culture award winner: Kristin Geyer, Wayfair
This award goes to the HR or internal communications leader who reimagined how to maintain employee culture through Slack in the absence of a physical office. Despite their disparate locations, employees felt supported and engaged with leaders, peers and colleagues.
As the global head of internal communications for Wayfair, Kristin Geyer is receiving the employee culture award for using Slack to maintain morale and keep teammates connected and engaged in the middle of the pandemic.
Wayfair lets customers browse more than 18 million home items across furnishings, decor, home improvement and housewares. As many people in the world continue to shelter in place, the online retailer is committed to helping everyone adapt their living spaces into home offices, classrooms and more. ‘Regardless of location, our team constantly goes above and beyond to create a positive experience for our customers,’ Geyer says. ‘Everyone has come together to continue to support that mission during this time.’
With Geyer’s guidance, Wayfair’s office teams in Boston, Berlin and London have gone all-remote for the first time since the company’s creation. ‘With our teams working remotely at this scale, we’ve leaned on tools like Slack more than ever,’ Geyer says. ‘We use Slack channels to share frequent reminders such as how to keep equipment up to date at home, the latest policy announcements from local and national officials and helpful tips for staying safe, healthy and balanced.’
In addition to providing a space for multiple teammates to send files and messages, Slack channels are searchable and participants can create threads to organise discussions. ‘It’s been great to see the creative ways that teams have used Slack to stay closely aligned and maintain dialogue,’ Geyer says. ‘Teams that held in-person status updates are now conducting those stand-ups in Slack channels. It’s a great way to make sure that there’s no sacrifice in transparency while everyone is in different locations.’
Geyer says that working in Slack channels does much more than simply boost productivity: it helps maintain a sense of community. For example, in a time of heightened civil and social unrest, Wayfair’s allyship channels, like #wayfair-allies and #allies-for-blm, have served as a safe space for employees to listen, learn and engage with one another to drive understanding and change. Other channels, such as #goodnews-wayfair and #global-supply-chain-spirit, have provided outlets for levity and spaces to celebrate one another’s resiliency and hard work.
Now a champion of distributed culture, Geyer will continue to use Slack to help grow and strengthen the global Wayfair colleague community.
The Slack admin of the year award winner: Andy Woodnutt, Rocket Software
Slack wouldn’t be possible anywhere without the unflagging support of Slack administrators (and for this, we thank you!). This award honours the dedication and commitment of a Slack admin who unlocked Slack’s success for their organisation.
Rocket Software’s director of global end user experience, Andy Woodnutt, is receiving the Slack admin of the year award for his relentless dedication to bringing innovative Slack programs to life at the global software company.
Empowering organisations around the world to improve on their legacy technology, Rocket Software is focused on building and delivering software solutions for more than 10,000 customers and partners. To help facilitate such an ambitious undertaking, Woodnutt championed five Slack innovations that changed how more than 2,000 employees, or ‘Rocketeers’, better serve the company’s 5 million end users.
When Rocket’s annual hackathon was temporarily sidelined due to the pandemic, Woodnutt was part of an initiative to digitally build and run the entire event in Slack. ‘Rocket.Build’ included more than 450 employees and 150 Slack channels, with each team working together remotely to ‘#BeLegendary’.
On the IT team, Woodnutt encouraged the use of Workflow Builder to streamline processes, including one that standardises IT announcements. The innovation reduces the number of employees needed to communicate important updates from 20 to 5, and saves approximately 6,240 hours annually.
To improve the customer experience during a critical incident, Woodnutt helped spearhead the IT team’s ‘Big Red Button’ Slack app. When ‘pushed’, it automatically spins up a channel, adds corresponding Salesforce data and invites relevant stakeholders, to restore service as quickly as possible.
On the HR team, an annual employee engagement survey often had the opposite of its intended effect: employees did not feel heard. Together with Woodnutt and his team, HR designed a digital suggestion box and moved everything into Slack. Now, the process is centralised and employees can seamlessly submit feedback anonymously. A live feedback loop invites honesty and ensures clarity of intent.
At Rocket Software, anyone involved in closing a sales deal gets an allocation of the total commission. Before Slack, the appropriate amount was discussed in Salesforce Chatter, but the process was challenging and time-consuming. With Woodnutt’s help, a new Slack workflow handles and tracks requests from submission through to approval, allowing teams to sidestep administrative tasks and focus on closing deals.
Thinking creatively to customise Slack to Rocket Software’s needs, Woodnutt improved processes across the company, not only saving his colleagues time and alleviating frustration but helping everyone work together to deliver ‘legendary’ outcomes.
The Slack champion of the year award: Karl Owen, Dell
This award goes to an extraordinary Slack champion who drove change, alignment and company-wide adoption.
Dell’s Karl Owen is receiving the Slack champion of the year award for being an essential part of helping employees adopt and unlock the value of Slack – because change is easier with the support of a trusted colleague.
Using his passion and position to advocate for Slack growth to increase collaboration throughout Dell, Owen was instrumental in defining the app and integration strategy within the company. This includes partnering on a Slack playbook for Dell team members and emceeing a digital town hall for all Slack users at Dell.
Owen acted as the primary coordinator of the Dell Champions network, a group of 100 teammates who develop custom scripts and apps that run in Slack. He has worked to streamline the security approvals process and was indispensable in cultivating this community.
To more efficiently manage 24/7 internal global engineering support, Dell Storage employees turned to Owen, who helped them create a Slack workflow that allows them to monitor and swarm questions. This both accelerates the support process and reduces email clutter for the support team.
Owen also spearheaded the creation of ‘BuildBot’ to coordinate the building, testing and release of large software projects across a global team of more than 50 engineers. The release management assistant reduced the build lifecycle by half and led to a ten-fold reduction in time to be notified of bugs in software builds, which means that resolutions can now be reached in minutes as opposed to hours.
‘Software development is a team sport, and Slack enables us to quickly collaborate and increase our velocity of delivery,’ Owen says. ‘We get to have fun while getting work done.’
About the Slack Spotlight Awards
The Slack Spotlight Awards recognise and celebrate our best-in-class customers for the transformative work they’re doing in Slack. In the awards’ inaugural year, our sales and customer success teams around the globe nominated the most innovative success stories. The Slack awards executive committee then scored the nominations and named the winners.
Are you doing innovative things in Slack? We’d love to hear from you. Reach us at email@example.com