Service Provider Cloud

Slack Makes Big Enterprise Push

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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Michelle 1/31/2017 | 10:47:12 PM
Better for work Slack is all grown up now that it's introducing enterprise features. I have read a lot about Slack fatigue. It's great when it's great, but people get tired of interacting on Slack. They're probably just a small number of users so maybe regular folks will join in.
Mitch Wagner 1/31/2017 | 11:12:14 PM
Re: Better for work Folks view Slack as a cure for email overload. But email overload is a function of volume of messages, rather than the user interface. 

When Slack gets as busy as email, it's just as hard to keep up with. 
Michelle 1/31/2017 | 11:15:05 PM
Re: Better for work If I didn't think it were silly, I'd say you just dropped the mic on that one.

So yes, you're right exactly. Typing is super easy so message volume is the real issue -- maybe not so much the platform.
mhhf1ve 2/1/2017 | 2:16:50 PM
Re: Better for work Slack does have advantages over email for organizing documents and messages -- and Slack has integrations that allow apps to connect to it so that some things can be done nearly automatically. Sure, I suppose you could build a way to trigger apps with emails, but it wouldn't have the friendly interface that slack (sorta) has. 

Slack started out, though, as a kind of informal way to message with collaborators.. but now that it's added corporate oversight tools, that informal nature of Slack seems to be long gone. But it's somewhat dangerous in this way because some people might still use Slack with a certain amount of informality -- and not realize that all their work messages are being recorded and owned by their employer and subject to all the same rules as "work email" is (but with out the required footer about unintended recipients of Slack messages)....
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. 
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.
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 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 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 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. 
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