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Slack, AWS Team on Collaboration


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While rumors of Slack acquiring Fuze have yet to pan out, the team collaboration provider isn’t resting on its laurels planning its future. Instead of an acquisition, this week Slack announced a multiyear, multipronged deal that includes development of enterprise collaboration features using AWS services and AWS-related options for Slack’s enterprise customers.
While acknowledging that this relationship is interesting, industry analyst Dave Michels, of TalkingPointz, said he’s hesitant to say it changes much. Slack has been using AWS since 2014, after all, and "for companies that want a more robust integrated solution for real-time communications, there are quite a few partnerships, which are unaffected," said Michels, pointing to Slack’s teaming with Zoom for video as one example.
As part of the partnership, Slack reconfirmed its use of AWS as its preferred cloud provider, and the two companies said they will work together on new collaboration features that take advantage of AWS storage, compute, database, security, analytics, and machine learning services. In addition, Slack will be able to leverage AWS’s global infrastructure to offer data residency options, by country or region, for enterprises needing to meet geography-specific compliance requirements.
Product Integrations
The partnership should help Slack strengthen ties to developers, some of the earliest users and biggest advocates of its team collaboration application. Toward that end, the companies said they will be eying product integrations and interoperability that allow developers to manage their AWS resources in Slack channels and Amazon Chime chat rooms more easily. The work here will include:
  • Migration of Slack’s audio, video, and screen-sharing capabilities from Slack Calls to the Amazon Chime meeting service, allowing Slack to eliminate the cost and complexity of supporting its own UC infrastructure
  • Integration of the AWS Chatbot service into Slack, allowing users to manage their virtual agents from within the Slack platform
  • Integration of Amazon AppFlow into Slack, enabling enterprises to transfer data between Slack and AWS services for storage, data warehousing, and more, for purposes such as analyzing customer engagement, the companies said. On tap is the ability to support bidirectional data transfer between multiple Slack channels and AWS services in a single flow.
Separately, last month, Slack made enhancements to its enterprise key management, which uses the AWS's Key Management Service for distribution and control of cryptographic keys.
Growing the Base?
Besides targeting developers, the deal also has AWS committing to use Slack for its internal communications and collaboration needs.
These are promising for Slack in terms of netting new users, but there remains an age-old IT problem that can prove a thorn in Slack’s side — adoption. "Amazon will use Slack for team collaboration and has the potential to become Slack's largest customer,” he said, “but it isn't clear how many of its employees will use it.”