OpenChoice Channels for Slack: Frequently Asked Questions
Business agility has always been necessary, but the financial and work from home challenges induced by the pandemic makes it more essential than ever before.
According to McKinsey, successful agile business transformation can boost customer satisfaction, increase employee engagement and improve operational performance—and potentially deliver a 20% to 30% uptick in financial performance.
Achieving these goals means providing employees with the tools they need to do their jobs wherever they are working. However, rapid transition comes with its own challenges. According to the Harvard Business Review, those challenges can range from social isolation, distractions and interruptions, and lack of motivation to absence of in-person supervision and difficulty accessing essential information.
To face these challenges head-on, the Harvard Business Review suggests providing workers with team collaboration technologies like Slack or Microsoft Teams — that can emulate a face-to-face experience.
As a result, Slack, Microsoft, and Cisco collaboration tools are growing at an unprecedented rate. However, their inability to interoperate with one another is a growing concern for IT departments that manage these tools.
Today, when nearly 42% of organizations run more than one team collaboration app internally, the team collaboration market remains fragmented. As a result, an increasing number of end-users are on different collaboration platforms than Slack.
Without cross-platform interoperability solutions, data and communication become siloed and trapped within the tools – creating walled gardens and hampering productivity and open communication.
The only way to eliminate the silo effect is to understand cross-team collaboration challenges and improve it.
What is NextPlane OpenChoice Channels for Slack?
From a single shared channel to Slack Connect for up to 20 organizations, Slack has led the way in promoting channel-based communication between Slack customers.
As more companies operate mixed collaboration environments, increasingly internal teams can be on different collaboration platforms, including legacy instant messaging platforms like Cisco Jabber or Microsoft Skype for Business.
NextPlane OpenChoice Channels works just like Slack Connect or Slack Shared channels. Except your Slack users can invite their colleagues on Microsoft Teams, Webex Teams, or legacy UC platforms to participate in their Slack channels.
In Slack channels, Slack users and their non-Slack contacts can share presence status, send rich-text messages, GIFs, and emoji reactions, view channel members, and share files. Also, Slack users can view non-Slack members’ profiles and send DM them.
Slack users stay in their preferred team collaboration app, and their internal or external colleagues can remain in theirs. No one has to install and learn another app or get a guest account.
Why OpenChoice Channels?
NextPlane OpenChoice Channels allows Slack users to invite external contacts on Microsoft Teams, Skype for Business, Cisco Webex Teams, and Cisco Jabber to participate in Slack channels.
As channel members, Slack users and their external contacts can share presence status, send messages with rich text, GIFs, and emoji reactions, view channel members, and share files. Also, Slack users can view the members’ profiles and send direct messages to them.
Do OpenChoice Channels work with an existing Slack Channel?
Yes, NextPlane OpenChoice Channels works with existing Slack channels. After setting up the OpenChoice Channels solution in your Slack workspace, members of the workspace can add external colleagues to any existing slack channel of their choice.
Do OpenChoice Channels Support Slack Connect and Shared Channels?
No, but we plan to support them soon. No extra permissions will be required to add your external non-Slack partners to Slack Connect and shared Slack channel.
Can Slack users see the presence status of the non-Slack members?
Yes, Slack users can see the external members’ presence status as ‘Active’ or ‘Away.’
Can Slack users and their external contacts post messages with rich text and emoji reactions?
Yes, Slack users and non-Slack members post messages with rich text and emoji reactions.
Can Slack users and their external contacts share files in Slack channels
No, Slack users and non-Slack members cannot currently share files. But file-sharing is coming soon.
Can Slack users DM the non-Slack members?
Yes, Slack users can direct messaging their non-Slack colleagues.
Can Slack users and non-Slack users engage in a group conversation?
No, but we plan to support this feature soon.
How can legacy UC users participate in Slack channels?
NextPlane uses SIP or XMPP to establish interoperability between Slack and legacy UC platforms such as Microsoft Skype for Business or Cisco Jabber.
Users on these platforms do NOT need to add the nextplane app to receive an invitation to a Slack channel.
Once users on a legacy UC platform accept the invitations to join a Slack channel, they will see the Slack channel names as contacts on their client applications.
To view and send messages to Slack channels, UC users need to open a chat session with the Slack Channels as contacts – representing the Slack Channels. Their messages will be visible to all the channel members.
Can Slack users see who the members of a Slack channel are?
Yes, Slack users can view all the channel members, including the external ones.
Can non-Slack users see who the members of Slack channels are?
Yes, non-Slack users can view all the channel members, including the external ones.
Can Slack users see the non-Slack users’ contact details (V-Card)?
Yes, Slack users can view external members’ profile details (V-Card).
Can Slack users remove individual non-Slack users?
Yes, Slack users, with necessary permissions, can remove external members from Slack channels.
Slack workspace admins have full control over their channel to grant or withdraw permissions related to the channel.
Slack channel owners and members can manage the external members of their channels.
Can external members manage the Slack channels or invite other users?
No, external members cannot manage the Slack channels or invite other users. Only,
Slack channel members can add external contacts to their Slack channels.
Can Slack users rename the Slack Channels?
Yes, Slack channel owners can rename their channels. However, the new channel name will only be visible to Slack channel members. External members will not be able to see it.
Do Slack workspace owners and admins have full control over OpenChoice channels?
Yes, Slack workspace owners or admins have full control over OpenChoice channels and their members as with any other Slack channels.
Can an external member be removed from a Slack channel but remain in the workspace?
Yes, external members removed from the channel will remain in the workspace. Thus, anyone from your workspace can still send direct messages to them or add them to other channels.
Workspace admins can remove non-Slack users from the workspace.
What are the required Slack Permissions?
During the installation to Slack, the NextPlane App will request the following permissions:
- What will the App be able to view?
- Content and information about your identity
- Content and information about channels and conversations:
- Messages and other content in public and private channels that the App has been
- added to
- Basic information about direct messages that the App has been added to
- Messages and other content in direct messages that the App has been added to
- Content and information about your workspace:
- The name, email domain, and icon for the workspace the App is connected to
- People in your workspace
- What will the App be able to do?
- Perform actions as you (send messages on your behalf)
- Perform actions in channels and conversations (send messages to channels on your behalf)
What are the advantages of OpenChoice Channels?
The key advantages of the NextPlane OpenChoice Channels are as follows:
- Unprecedented Platform Coverage
- NextPlane supports both team collaboration and unified communications (UC) platforms – from Microsoft Teams and Cisco Webex Teams to Microsoft Skype for Business and Cisco Jabber.
- Complete User Management and Access Control
- Slack workspace admins have full control over their channel to grant or withdraw permissions related to the channel.
- Slack channel owners and members can manage the external members of their channels.
- External members have no access to manage the Slack channels or invite other users.
- Slack channel members can add external contacts to their Slack channels.
- Slack channel members, with necessary permissions, can remove external members from Slack channels.
- External members cannot invite other external members to Slack channels.
- Slack channel members can see external members as individuals and view their profiles.
- Flexibility and Rich Collaboration Experience
- External members can participate in both public and private channels.
- Slack users can send direct messages or engage in group conversations with external members.
- There are no limitations as to the number of channels external contacts can join or participate.
What are the Key Differentiators between OpenChoice Channels and Alternative Solutions?
Mio Universal Channels allows Slack users to establish a shared channel where users on Microsoft Teams, Cisco Webex Teams, or external Slack users can participate.
Mio allows you to either convert existing Slack channels to a Universal Channel or establish a new one within your Slack workspace.
The following are the critical differences between NextPlane OpenChoice and Mio Universal Channels:
- Member management
- Direct and group messaging to external members
- Viewing channel members and their presence
With NextPlane, Slack admins do not need to create separate channels specifically for external collaboration. They can use existing channels and add or remove external members when necessary. As a result, channel history will remain intact.
Mio Universal Channels do not allow Slack admins to manage Slack channels’ external members. As a result, Slack admins cannot remove external members from their Universal Channels or block specific external users from participating in their channels.
The Slack channel owners must deactivate or archive the existing Universal Channel and create a new one to remove external members. Then, they need to re-invite all the necessary members and deal with the loss of channel history.
On the other hand, NextPlane OpenChoice Channels allows adding external users to Slack channels as individuals and workspace admins can easily remove them at any time.
On Mio Universal Channels, any member has access to the channel link and can invite others to Slack channels. Workspace admins have no control over who can become a member.
Mio Universal Channels do not offer direct messaging or group conversations with external members.
With NextPlane OpenChoice Channels, Slack users and external members can switch between:
- Channel discussions
- Direct messaging
- Group conversations (coming soon)
Moreover, by joining the Universal Channel with multiple external members, you agree to collaboration with no privacy since all the chat messages and files shared in the channel will be visible for all its members.
Presence status is essential to any channel-based collaboration. Mio Universal Channels represents external channel members via a single bot. As a result, you cannot see individual members’ presence status.
NextPlane OpenChoice Channels allows Slack users to see external members’ presence as active or away.
Mio doesn’t use a helpdesk platform. As a result, users cannot track the progress of their open issues. Instead, the users are required to join Mio’s Support Team channel.
NextPlane offers a secure helpdesk service to open and track issues’ progress and provide information to resolve them quickly.
Below is a direct comparison between NextPlane OpenChoice Channels and Mio Universal Channels:
|Features||NextPlane Open Choice Channels||Mio Universal Channels|
|Platforms Coverage||Microsoft Teams|
Cisco Webex Teams
Microsoft Skype for Business Cisco Jabber
|Microsoft Teams Cisco Webex Teams|
|Rich Text, GIFs, and Emojis||Y*||Y|
|Slack Shared Channels||Y*||Y|
|Viewing External Members||Y||limited|
|External Members’ Profile (V-Card)||Y||–|
|Managing External Members||Y||–|
|Channel Access Control||Y||–|
|Removing External Members||Y||–|
How do I contact NextPlane for More Information?
For more information, feel free to book a free 30-minute call with a NextPlane expert.