Slack is a cloud-based, workplace collaboration platform breaking traditional assumptions of how people communicate. Slack is an innovative platform because it removes the barriers between the multitude of tools teams use to collaborate in a flexible, easy-to-use way. It combines the functionality of email, instant message, and video conference in a single platform that functions seamlessly across devices.
Slack’s innovation as a platform is fueled by two key elements: integration capabilities and simplified internal communication. Slack has committed to building an open platform and encourages third parties to develop applications and to integrate existing tools that enhance its product features. Its open platform decentralizes and accelerates the scale and speed of which the tool can evolve to serve its users. Over 1,500 third party apps currently exist for users, generally at no cost, which build upon Slack’s standing as a continuously innovative platform. The sheer volume of integrations enables users to adapt the platform to fit their organizations’ specific needs, thus increasing its overall value and usefulness.
Slack revolutionized how organizations communicate internally by creating a ‘work space’ that acts as a hub for members to collaborate in function / topic-oriented spaces called channels. The platform allows users to opt-in and set individual notification settings for each channel, which not only increases transparency, as users can choose to be involved in a greater scale of conversations that is not compatible with other forms of communication, but also streamlines the need to read every notification. Slack also reduces many of the barriers created by modern workplace email culture. It’s more casual format enables more quick communication as users spend less time composing messages. Information such as links and files are easily shared as the platform features tools to automatically provides details and enables instantaneous search abilities. Additionally, Slack is built to work seamlessly cross-devices to allow users to communicate when they want, how they want. By building a platform from the ground up, opposed to adapting existing an platform, Slack has been able to develop innovative elements to create a truly valuable workplace communication platform.
Slack’s core value creation for its users relies on its ability leverage its core elements, third party integration capabilities and simplified internal communications, to increase productivity for its users. On top of many of the benefits previously mentioned, a survey of Slack customers concluded that after adopting the platform, that about half of users spend less time writing emails and about a quarter spend less time in meetings. The ability to communicate cross-organizationally improves the effectiveness of collaboration across functions and geographies. Slack decreases the friction many remote teams previously faced in communicating effectively and building rapport virtually. Slack’s privacy and security controls provide organizations with the assurance that information shared on the platform is safe-guarded and can meet any required compliance standards. SAML Single Sign On integration also provides users confidence that they can receive the functional benefits of the platform with the protection of traditional applications. Additionally, Slack is entirely cloud-based, which allows the company the flexibility to scale features across users at a low-cost, to maintain flexibility in storage costs, and to process larger amount of information at faster speeds.
Slack effectively created the workplace collaboration market, which provides the firm protection against competitors because its size and first mover status has encouraged more developers to create compatible applications. As last reported, Slack currently has over ten million users with at least three million paying users. It’s most recent focus on enterprise customers and their needs will enable the platform to continue to capture an increasing amount of value, while reinforcing value creation through improved features to continue to simplify its internal communication capabilities.