Michelle Burbick
Michelle Burbick is the Associate Editor and a blogger for No Jitter, UBM Tech's online community for news and analysis...
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Michelle Burbick | January 31, 2017 |


Slack No Longer Brushing Off the Enterprise

Slack No Longer Brushing Off the Enterprise At long last, Slack unveils its plan and features for the enterprise.

At long last, Slack unveils its plan and features for the enterprise.

Proving the rumors true, Slack today unveiled Slack Enterprise Grid, the long-anticipated product aimed at providing large organizations the management and security features needed to take Slack from team use to enterprise scale.

"Teams of all sizes rely on Slack today, from growing retailers like Blue Bottle Coffee to huge, multinational corporations like IBM," the official Slack Blog says. "While these companies don't operate at the same scale or in quite the same way, they all want to empower their employees to do their best work. Slack should be where that work happens, regardless of a company's size or shape ..."

Slack Enterprise Grid, available now, will serve the needs of large, complex organizations of up to 500,000 employees (not that there are too many of those around!).

Enterprise Grid: What It Is
If you recall from the piece we published last week on Slack's possible enterprise entry, Slack's website had, up to now, featured a "Coming Soon!" indicator where it housed its pricing information for Slack for Enterprise. Today, the "Coming Soon!" is no more, and Slack has updated the page, replacing "Slack for Enterprise" with "Slack Enterprise Grid" and adding a fresh list of features, as you can see in the screen grab to the right. Absent from the page, however, is any information on pricing for Enterprise Grid.

The communications structures reflected in Slack's enterprise offering are meant to mirror how teams already collaborate, and Enterprise Grid is meant to adapt to each individual business, Slack says. Enterprise Grid adopters will be given an unlimited number of workspaces so the business can organize workspaces in a way that fits its unique structure -- by department, team, location, or organizational group, for example.

Large enterprises that made use of Slack before today's announcement would typically have had multiple unconnected instances of Slack deployed within different departments. Enterprise Grid eliminates these communication silos with a new single layer spanning the whole company, enabling users to find each other as well as relevant information and workspaces. "Search, one-to-one and group direct messaging, and discoverable workplaces all exist in this layer, which means that people can sign into Slack once and have access to all the tools, people, and spaces they need to do their job," Slack says.

Each user will have a similar Slack experience to what has been available thus far, able to use conversation channels, threaded messaging, voice and video calling, and support for platform integrations.

Security, Admin Controls, & Integrations
The big difference with Enterprise Grid is that admins have centralized management to not only maintain visibility across the organization, but also can control permissions and configure integrations at a per-workspace level, Slack says. Additionally, Enterprise Grid allows administrators to create shared channels between different workspaces, a feature aimed at supporting collaboration on business projects that span multiple teams or departments.

Additionally, administrators can integrate Slack with e-discovery, data loss prevention, and backup tools from providers such as Palo Alto Networks, Bloomberg Vault, Skyhigh, Netskope, and Relativity by KCura.

As discussed previously on No Jitter, the battle for dominance in the team collaboration space may come down to application integration. Slack has long touted its growing list of app integrations, now listing more than 900 in its App Directory. Late last year Slack added Google to its list of integration partners, and with today's launch of Enterprise Grid it brings SAP into the fold. This latter partnership will result in a portfolio of integrations across SAP's Hana Cloud Platform, SuccessFactors, and Concur, with Slack bots for things like real-time reporting and feedback on performance goals, and message-based expense and travel management.

Check back in to No Jitter tomorrow for more analysis on Slack's latest move, and see today's piece from Dave Michels on the team collaboration/workstream messaging trend in general.

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