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Slack Targets Large Companies With Its Enterprise Grid Communication App

By Victor Thomson , Jan 31, 2017 11:52 PM EST
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Slack Co-Founder & CEO Stewart Butterfield talks in an interview about company's goals. Slack targets the corporate sector by extending its team chat app to work with large companies. (Photo : FORA.tv/YouTube)

Slack is launching its Enterprise Grid communication app, a new product that targets very large enterprises from the corporate sector.

Slack's Enterprise Grid

According to Tech Crunch, the business communication app Slack allows teams of users to share and work together on files from other services.  Since launching three years ago, Slack has become a market success. Currently, it has 1.5 million paying subscribers and around 5 million daily users.

Based on its present success, Slack is embarking on an ambitious next step with the aim to become a popular platform for all workplace collaboration. The company behind the app is launching a new product aimed at the corporate sector, called Enterprise Grid. The new communication application designed to work with very large companies has been in the works for over a year.

Slack's Enterprise Grid will include some new features and an enterprise-grade version of Slack with unlimited workspaces. Later in the year will be rolled out a new set of search, analytics, and business intelligence tools. The new tools will suggest content and contacts to users and will provide the ability to look for files across the whole of users' system.

Slack aims to position its Enterprise Grid communication app as a platform to interact across the whole knowledge base of a company. The new app was launched on Tuesday, Jan. 31. Among its initial customers are top tech companies such as IBM and financial services such as Paypal and Capital One.

Given that it sells IBM Connections, its own collaboration product for large enterprises and it is also working on Watson Workspace, its own AI business intelligence product, IBM is a particularly interesting name to see on the list of Slack's customers. Other competitors to Slack's Enterprise Grid communication platform would include Jive and Spark from Cisco, Microsoft's Teams and Workplace from Facebook.

Enterprise Grid's Features

With Slack's Enterprise Grid, IT administrators will now be able to manage multiple large teams. The communication platform for corporate sector adds new layers of security and identity management in addition to the encryption that Slack already offers. The Enterprise Grid app's security is integrated with Auth0, Bitium, Clearlogin, Centrify, LastPass, OneLogin, Okta, Ping Identity/Federate and MSFT Azure.

Enterprise Grid also sets new HIPAA & FINRA compliance and data loss prevention integration as well as new security and compliance controls. Among others, the new communication platform is working with Bloomberg Vault, Relativity by KCura and Smarsh, PaloAlto Networks, Netskope, and Skyhigh. Slack is also adding in a new partnership with SAP, building a portfolio of bots to integrate with SAP services.

The first three SAP bots will be a bot to interact with the HANA Cloud platform, a SuccessFactors performance management bot and a Concur travel and expense bot. The partnership with SAP expands on the kids of relationships Slack already has in place with other B2B businesses like Google Cloud and Salesforce. Rather than just for users of Enterprise Grid, these SAP bots will work across all of Slack.

By calling its product "Grid," Slack highlights the concept of creating federations of teams that can then interlink workspaces with each other but also can work independently of each other in order to remain efficient. In an event where Slack debuted Grid, Slack's VP of product April Underwood said that Slack will have the flexibility to work as teams.

According to The Verge, the new features and critical design changes will make Slack more efficient and easier to use for large corporations. The company's team for Search, Learning and Intelligence (SLI) is developing artificial intelligence-based methods to combat information overload. Some of these include channel highlights, daily briefings, and more robust universal search.

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