Adoption and usage are an enemy of enterprise-wide data platforms. Data professionals are constantly looking for ways to drive better collaboration around the discussion and use of data — this is where Slack potentially changes the equation.
Salesforce has completed its acquisition of Slack as of 7/21/2021. This is a seismic level deal by any measure adding the messaging app to its already formidable suite of data products and platforms.
So what’s next?
As Salesforce integrates Slack into its Marketing Core, will it significantly improve the volume of enterprise discussions on sales and marketing performance data? Is Slack the intended collaborative hub that finally improves marketing decision-making for sales, service, and marketing professionals? The answers to these questions may ultimately lie within Slack’s very name: Searchable Log of All Conversation and Knowledge.
Slack is a multi-service application that combines major lines of communication including video/voice calls, direct messaging, and document sharing. It integrates more than 2,200 existing services, including Office 365 and Google Drive, so employees can operate entirely within it. Slack has more than 2,400 premade “workflows” (small apps to do routine tasks) that speed up processes without the need to open a separate program. Employees can use these quick workflows to send time off requests, meeting reminders, and docs that require signatures — all of which can be directly integrated into programs like Google Calendar and DocuSign. In 2020, Slack hosted over 12 million daily active users. Every weekday, Slack surpasses one billion usage minutes, according to SiliconAngle.
“Together, Salesforce and Slack will shape the future of enterprise software and transform the way everyone works in the all-digital, work-from-anywhere world”
Salesforce CEO Mark Benioff
In July of 2021, Slack was officially acquired by Salesforce, one of the world’s largest enterprise software service companies specializing in Customer Resource Management. Slack is one of many acquisitions that position Salesforce as a contender in enterprise business communications.
Salesforce acquired Slack in a cash and stock deal that was worth just short of $28 billion dollars. But, why would it do that? The simplest answer is to compete with Microsoft Teams, Oracle, and SAP, as a dominant messaging and document sharing platform. That’s a large bet on improving enterprise data collaboration and knowledge share, but is that the only reason to spend so much on one acquisition?
It’s no secret Salesforce wants to become the one-stop shop for all customer data, including marketing, sales, commerce, and service. Long before the acquisition, Slack had a successful history of building human connections and improved data workflows with the integration of thousands of productivity apps. The bottom line is, as everyone has seen over the past few decades, if a store has everything, people tend to go there. Salesforce wants to be the superstore of enterprise communications.
Slack was built for a post-Covid world where employees have to improvise in order to do their work — sometimes without warning. It provides a turn-key answer for most if not all of the jury-rigged workarounds many businesses have had to rush into. Application and integration capabilities may be the key to transforming employee productivity and communication and this is where Salesforce is placing its biggest bet.
87% of Slack users say it improves communication and organization in business.
(Source: Securities and Exchange Commission)
One of the hardest things to do in a business is to integrate sales, marketing, and internal communication data. These puzzle pieces too often aren’t fitted together successfully. Slack has a rare opportunity to help Salesforce accomplish what universally eludes sales and marketing professionals: Improved knowledge share, data collaboration, and data socialization.
Salesforce is integrating Slack into their other offerings to create a unified program for their clients. But what does this mean in the long run? Is this a major step forward in internal and external business communication? Is it simply another clever software package with a bunch of bells and whistles?
To answer these questions, let’s look at an example from one of Salesforce’s core set of data platforms. Datorama, a Marketing and Sales Intelligence platform with more than 4000 enterprise subscribers, is largely touted for its data management, ETL and marketing dashboard capabilities.
Datorama integrates with Slack by making each dashboard a “channel.” Channels are how Slack organizes conversations using dedicated spaces. They can be created for any project, topic, or team, and with the right people and information in one place, teams can share ideas, make decisions, and move work forward.
Once the channels are established, users can immediately add members, archive conversations, upload files, send messages, review historical comments, and even generate new collaboration channels.
For Datorama, Slack creates a more user-friendly interface with huge potential for customization. It’s quick to learn and team members can streamline mundane tasks.
Notably, Slack maintains a repository of permission-based, enterprise-ready data apps that can be used to control a variety of third-party providers directly from its interface, including cloud storage, email, web conferencing applications, and document management tools.
The lockdown proved many office jobs don’t need physical offices, which saves companies on overhead costs. In addition, it makes communication easier regardless of where the employees are physically located. As a result, how we collaborate and interact with others may have irrevocably changed.
But one thing is almost certainly true: Our insatiable need for access to data, and improved and more organized decision-making is and will remain a competitive advantage for enterprises that truly support it.
Will the combination of Slack and Salesforce finally break the data inertia dam? Or will we continue to do less even with more data?