Product Review: Butter.ai for Slack
Infinitely smarter through team shared knowledge
How many times has a teammate asked you the following line:
“Hey- what’s the name of that file with notes from our October planning session?”
“Where are the PSD files for our logo?”
Whether you remember or not, one of you ends up spending some unwanted amount of time discussing and digging around for the file. Was it in Dropbox? Did you try Google Drive? Or was it a Slack post? 😑
Teams of all sizes can easily find themselves stacked up against a large amount of data and files, strewn across various tools. Our small team has definitely come across this issue, hence our excitement when we heard about Butter.ai.
What is Butter’s Bread and Butter ? 🍞
Butter.ai launched under the premise that these existing document search processes don’t work:
- 🔎 Enterprise file search: Companies use more than one tool, but there’s no way to omni-search without first knowing which tool was originally used to create the file.
- 📑 Wikis/Intranets: attempts to make information live within a permanent location can lead people to forget where they saw something if it isn’t used often.
- 🔐 Restrictive IT policies: The birth to skunkworks.
To solve these problems, Butter.ai, an AI-powered Slack bot, has recently emerged to offer teams a solution to file overload within the workplace. Butter.ai makes all of your team’s documents searchable from one central location within Slack. As it sits now, integrations for Box or Google Drive exist independently but Butter offers the experience in the form of a smart bot.
Some teams will claim organization is key across their company and might not feel like they have a need for Butter, but even still it becomes a daily battle to track files laid out across different tools.
Setting up our account
Initial setup for Butter was rather simple. You can sign up with Slack, and then you’ll be presented with live integrations currently available (more coming soon).
Then you’ll have to connect each service your team uses and authorize access so Butter can begin the syncing process. In order to make your documents discoverable, Butter.ai downloads copies of your files and applies their algorithm to help cut down search times and match keywords.
Keep in mind sync times will vary from team to team — as all teams have a different number of files and messages within different tools.
The Butter’s Skack bot pings you once it’s finished syncing your connected services — expect some waiting time as Butter processes hundreds of thousands of files, comments, and messages to make their search instant.
How much data did we give Butter ? 📈
You know what they say, time is money ⏳ = 💸
For background context, here’s a snapshot of the data we gave Butter:
- Over 1,400 files within our Google Drive
- Over 3,000 files shared within Slack
This doesn’t even include our teammates who use individual accounts for services that the rest of the team may not use, like Evernote, Dropbox, or Confluence.
Using Butter 💬 💻
Once installed, Butter can handle questions or keywords to quickly search all of your connected services at once.
An interesting point about the bot’s overall intelligence is the way in which it implements tech. Originally we were under the impression it provided results based on the titles of each document. We were impressed to learn that Butter applies AI and NLP to the entire file’s content, offering the possibility to locate a file, or piece of one (even if we only remember a keyword, sentence, phrase) within a doc, spreadsheet, PDF, and more.
🔐 Safe & Secure — How it works
Alongside Butter taking privacy and security pretty serious, one of the biggest questions we had surrounded file access and search results — so we reached out to the Butter.ai Team:
Butter.ai’s responses are private and you can only search your own content. That’s why we rely on individuals giving Butter.ai access to their content.
Here’s an example: let’s say you have a Google Doc that’s shared with your entire company and you have a guest user in your Slack team, like a design contractor. We don’t want to give that person access to your company Google Doc and that’s why we ask each member to authenticate to the services they use.
Knowing that our file permissions were enforceable even by Butter was extremely reassuring.
Top Use Cases
1- Retrieving files we forgot the name for
2- Searching for one specific idea that might be found across different files and places
- Butter offers our small team an extra set of eyes — really sharp eyes! 👀
- After establishing some familiarity, we’re having fun seeing how quickly Butter can return results. 🏎
- Our long term goal is to get the rest of the team authorized so they can sync their own accounts — for now we’ll look forward to saving time. ⏱