Slack it to me! Why the Slack Admin exam is 100% worth it.

Slack it to me! Why the Slack Admin exam is 100% worth it.

In September 2023, Slack will be hosting a webinar on prepping for the Slack Admin exam, and Kicksaw’s Marketing Operations Delivery Manager Ali Waguespack is a presenter. Ali was Slack Admin certified in April of 2022, Slack Consultant certified in December 2022, and she is the Slack Community lead for the Lafayette, LA chapter. She is a powerhouse Slack user who has been instrumental in helping Kicksaw take full advantage of the various ways that Slack can improve our internal operations, as well as helping our clients fully utilize the power of Slack for their organizations.

We highly encourage you to attend the webinar in September, but while you wait for the big day, check out Ali’s guide to studying for and passing the Slack Admin exam.

Hi folks! Ali here, ready to give you the skinny on why the Slack Admin cert is worth your time and effort. Slack is such an incredible tool, and if you don’t have someone on your team working to  leverage it to its full potential, you’re likely leaving untapped productivity and potential on the table. Not to oversell it or anything, but it is one of my favorite tools.

The Slack Admin certification covers the implementation, configuration, and management of Slack (across all paid plans: Pro, Business+, and Enterprise Grid). You do not have to manage a massive Enterprise Grid solution to find value in this certification. You will learn fundamentals and best practices that can level up your existing Slack org, or prep you to migrate/launch a new instance.

How to Prep for the Exam

You should have at least six months of experience administrating a Slack org, including user provisioning, channel structure, and data security.

The Slack Certified Admin Prep Course makes prepping for the Admin exam incredibly easy. The prep course is regularly updated with the newest updates from Slack. This bundle of both the exam and the prep course is $300.

I also found that reading through Slack’s Resource Library was very helpful for learning about the platform and discovering other use cases that companies were using Slack to solve for. Having some additional use cases as a reference point made some of the content easier to digest and understand, especially since I had not worked in an Enterprise Grid org at the time that I sat for the admin exam.

Slack Skill Badges are another great way to prep for the exam. Each badge takes 1-3 hours to complete and ranges in topic from deep-diving into Workflow Builder to identity and access management. This is a great way to get a bit more information on any topics that you might be struggling with or want to learn more about.

If you are a current Salesforce partner, you are eligible to receive the prep courses for free! Simply log in to the partner community and find the “Slack for Partners” group to get prep course codes and Slack exam vouchers. You can also get access to an Enterprise Grid demo org, but having access to an Enterprise Grid org is not necessary in order to pass the admin exam. As I said previously, understanding the different use cases for the different Slack plans was more useful to me when sitting for the Admin exam — I found it more helpful to have an Enterprise Grid demo org when sitting for the Consultant exam, as I felt that prep course/exam went deeper into the implementation behind an Enterprise Grid org.

What’s Covered in the Official Prep Course

The Slack Certified Admin Prep Course covers seven topics. Each topic takes about 1.5-3 hours to review. I highly recommend going through each section, even if you’re a seasoned Slack admin! Each section includes not only information fundamental to passing the test, but tons of links to relevant Slack support documentation, and downloadable content and templates.

Topic #1: Fundamentals

Familiarize yourself with the Slack plans that are offered, user roles, and administrative responsibilities of the Slack admin. On the test, you’ll be expected to match core features of each of Slack’s paid plans and identify which one best fits common business needs. Learn to explain the Enterprise Grid plan’s more complex organizational structure model and how the additional layer of management at the organization level differs from other Slack plans.

You’ll also learn how to describe the qualifiers that should be considered when selecting the Workspace or Organization Admin, as well as the tasks they will be responsible for within that role, including managing security settings, app approvals, and member actions. When you’ve finished this section, you’ll be able to properly identify which settings are managed from the Workspace Settings page and an organization-wide admin dashboard. As for channels, this section teaches you how dedicated channels can improve the efficiency of capturing and triaging member requests.

Topic #2: Workspace Administration

Learn to differentiate between the need for workspaces or channels, workspace visibility and security, and workspace structure.

This section explains the four key considerations that inform Enterprise Grid design and dives into how a thoughtful Enterprise Grid design clarifies roles and responsibilities for admins and members, setting your team up to scale securely. You will learn to summarize best practices for designing an effective Enterprise Grid organization and get into the benefits of claiming relevant domains for that org. Test takers should be able to explain the workspace creation request process, as well as the use cases for the four workplace visibility settings available to admins. Familiarize yourself with the risks of deleting a workspace, as well as use cases and settings for repurposing a workspace instead.

Completing this section will give you the tools to explain common reasons for performing a workspace consolidation, including consolidating control across multiple web domains and staying in alignment with changes at your organization. Familiarize yourself with the key considerations and consequences of consolidating a workspace for both an admin and a member.

Topic #3: Channel and User Group Administration

Here, you will learn to differentiate between the use of a channel or a DM — channels allow organizations to “work out loud” with multiple people while ensuring workplace transparency. This section will also teach you how to define use cases for different types of channels, as well as best practices for channel management and common naming guidelines, prefixes, and suffixes that ensure ease of use and communication.

Make sure you can confidently define channel creation policies and identify when a public or private channel may be needed. Prepare to describe the differences and distinct use cases for using a channel, DM, or group DM, and use cases for @channel, @here, and @everyone.

In regards to working with Slack users outside your internal staff, prepare to explain how to discover external organizations and when to use Guest Accounts versus Slack Connect, as well as the security features specific to Slack Connect. You’ll also learn how to list the responsibilities of channel ownership and the privileges external organizations have when connected to your Slack account. Prepare to explain how to use various dashboards and recommend permissions and settings to manage your channels and DMs.

When you’ve finished working your way through this section, you’ll be able to describe how to delete or archive a channel, and the consequences of either action. Test takers should understand the benefits and use cases for general Slack user groups as well as Workspace Admin and Workspace owner user groups.

Topic #4: User Lifecycle Management

Prepare to discuss topics related to user authentication, guest users, and user creation. Slack offers mandatory SSO and 2FA security provisions when onboarding new users — test takers should be able to define identity provider (IDP) and single sign-on (SSO), as well as identify the differences and advantages of the Google Authentication SSO versus a custom SAML SSO. Familiarize yourself with the benefits of using SCIM to provision users.

When provided with different use cases, you need to be able to recommend how best to create a new account and invite users to relevant workspaces, whether that’s achieved manually via link or auto-provisioning and mapping IDP groups. This section will help you learn that, as well as how to differentiate between the processes of creating new users when SSO is enabled and when it is not.

In this section, you will learn how to describe key considerations during the guest approval process when enabling permissions — which channels should they be added to based on their needs, and when to grant limited guest access for a predetermined period of time versus creating a Slack Connect channel. You will be able to explain the two ways user accounts can be deactivated and identify a key step you should take before deactivating users who have installed apps.

Topic #5: Administering Apps

Learn how to optimize routine processes, solve common business problems, integrate tools, and build code-free workflows.

Your Slack platform is built by your team, for your team, unlike many third-party apps. On the test, you need to be able to summarize the importance of interoperability for decision makers and end users. Identify the three types of Slack apps and when to install an app from the Slack Directory versus building a customized one. Test takers should be able to define key terms related to the platform, including app, bot, Workflow Builder, and prepare to identify the four categories of basic productivity tools.

Before installing an app, admins should consider the use cases, scopes, and licensing costs of working with a third-party creator. This section will teach you how to determine if an app meets your organization’s needs and fulfills the four criteria used to determine app installation safety.

Workflows allow anyone to build custom business processes without coding — test takers should understand the basics of building and publishing workflows as well as how to manage access to the tool.

Topic #6: Security

Admins should be familiar with governance and security compliance features as well as how to manage access, mobile devices, and data.

Slack’s internal security program offers a layered defense for your data — this section will teach you how to identify eight examples of how Slack prioritizes security governance, risk management, and compliance. Define and describe the benefits of EMM (Enterprise Mobility Management) and identify five security options for mobile devices not managed by EMM.

When provided with an example of data protection needs, you need to be able to determine when an organization could benefit from Slack’s EKM, DLP, or SIEM tools to increase admin visibility and control. Be prepared to identify Slack’s data export options by plan and use case, as well as when an organization should integrate an eDiscovery provider.

Topic #7: Enabling Slack Success

In order to be the most productive with the program, Slack admins should have a clear vision of what success looks like to your organization or workspace. On the test, you need to be able to identify business objectives for Slack, as well as relevant metrics for measuring progress towards those goals. This section will teach you how to list Slack’s data and analytics available through workspace and organization-level dashboards.

Prepare to identify common roles and responsibilities for Slack operating and supporting teams, and when to outsource governing settings and policy decisions to your security, support, or legal teams.

Finally, identify best practices as an admin by developing an etiquette guide for your team, including recommended resources for members that encourage ongoing enablement and training, like Slack Days or Slack Champions.

How We Can Help

Ideally, you want to have a certified Slack admin on staff at your company — after all, no one knows your business and your unique needs better than you. However, we realize that this is simply not possible in many cases, whether that be due to staffing limitations, budget constraints, or other concerns.

The next best option is to loop in consultants such as ourselves to implement/level up your Slack org, integrate Slack with Salesforce, and further optimize your Slack processes. Kicksaw is well-versed in Slack, and we’re more than happy to partner with you and help make sure you are getting the most out of your Slack investment. Reach out to me today, or use the Contact Us form on Kicksaw's website, if you want to learn more about that option.

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