Slack Makes Big Enterprise Push

Mitch Wagner
1/31/2017

Cloud collaboration provider Slack on Tuesday introduced a new version of its popular team communications service, with tools tailored for the big enterprise.

Slack Enterprise Grid looks the same to end-users as the company's regular cloud service, but it provides added centralized management features. It provides controls for data security, with a single point of control for administrators, and integrates with other enterprise collaboration applications, according to a post announcing the service on the Slack company blog.

Users can set up unlimited workspaces for departments, teams, locations and groups. "For individual users, these workspaces offer much of the same day-to-day Slack experience that millions have come to know and love, including conversation channels, threaded messaging, voice and video calling, and support for platform integrations," the company says. Administrators can control permissions and configure integrations on a per-workspace basis. Teams can collaborate between workspaces when needed.

And the new service provides integration with tools for e-discovery, data loss prevention and offsite backup, along with US Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINFRA) and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) certifications, Slack says.


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The service integrates with products from companies including Salesforce, IBM, Box, Adobe, Google G Suite and SAP.

Slack has a cult following among workers who see it as a replacement for email and clumsy enterprise instant-messaging systems. It's taken off among tech organizations in Silicon Valley and elsewhere, and then spread into the enterprise. Until now, it's been designed to be installed and managed by non-technical users; Enterprise Grid is a bid to woo IT managers and get them on board.

Slack faces competition from Microsoft, which launched a Slack-killer collaboration tool, Microsoft Teams, in November, as part of its Office 365 suite. (See Microsoft Attacks Slack, Slack Whacks Back .)

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— Mitch Wagner, Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, Editor, Light Reading Enterprise Cloud

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kq4ym
kq4ym
2/12/2017 | 11:59:50 AM
Re: Better for work
Interesting how everyone tries to imitate. Whether Facebook can actually leap over Slack would be an interesting bet. In the end it's probably going to end up with whatever folks get used to and can depend on for ease of work and costs.
mhhf1ve
mhhf1ve
2/6/2017 | 3:29:35 PM
Re: Better for work
Being first to market has its advantages, but it's not everything. Facebook might have a long-term strategy to beat out Slack (and Slack's many competitors now). For example, Facebook has a built in "social graph" that could turn it into a LinkedIn and a career-building site much more easily than Slack. Microsoft has LinkedIn now, so it may be thinking along the same lines....
Michelle
Michelle
2/6/2017 | 3:25:29 PM
Re: Better for work
I don't see the point of it when there are many other tools that already do this sort of thing and better. Facebook may have done better if they'd launched the product before Slack. I think they're too late to market for this one.
mhhf1ve
mhhf1ve
2/6/2017 | 1:25:44 PM
Re: Better for work
I don't think you need to worry too much. I don't think Facebook at Work is meant to be a replacement for an Office Suite or a UC platform. I think it's maybe a "new category" service for business for keeping employees on the same page on a higher level strategic view? I'm not sure exactly because there don't seem to be many reviews or details about what people are actually using it for. Who knows it may pivot or get killed off soon?
Michelle
Michelle
2/6/2017 | 12:24:26 PM
Re: Better for work
That's very interesting and I hope my employer doesn't decide to subscribe. We've already got Office 365 and a unified communication system. 
mhhf1ve
mhhf1ve
2/5/2017 | 12:29:28 AM
Re: Better for work
Oops. It's called Facebook AT Work (not "for work")... and it looks to be in a kind of beta stage? Even though some companies seem to be paying for it? I haven't used it personally. But it sounded like something that might be good for collaboration projects. Someday. It's been in the works since 2014, apparently. https://www.google.com/amp/s/techcrunch.com/2016/09/27/facebook-for-work/amp/
Michelle
Michelle
2/4/2017 | 9:25:40 PM
Re: Better for work
Facinating. I didn't even know Facebook for Work existed! Is it in beta or something?
mhhf1ve
mhhf1ve
2/2/2017 | 3:12:35 PM
Re: Better for work
> "when they upgrade to enterprise slack.."

I think this is the fundamental problem with platforms like Facebook for Work and other similar services -- if there's a "consumer" version that isn't enterprise grade, then there's likely to be some confusion for some users over what policies and etiquette rules exist.

I've heard that Facebook designed Facebook for Work completely independently from regular Facebook to try to separate the two systems, but then FBfW loses all the advantages of having a familiar interface or overlapping FB user base.

I don't see Slack having as much of a problem since Slack isn't typically used as a casual friends social network, but it's still a problem for communication platforms to go from startup-casual to formal-ware in a single upgrade.
Michelle
Michelle
2/2/2017 | 2:31:19 PM
Re: Better for work
You make an excellent point about the changing nature of the platform. Hopefully, companies will remind users about content retention policies and whatnot when they upgrade to enterprise slack.
wanlord
wanlord
2/1/2017 | 2:44:45 PM
slack threads
Their new thread feature is a mess. It needs to be more like FB groups. 
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