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Slack for enterprises: going on or off the grid?

Community Insights November 10, 2018
Slack Enterprise Grid Graphic

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Slack for enterprises: going on or off the grid?

Slack Enterprise Grid Graphic

Slack Enterprise Grid has now reached over 150 paid customersCustomers now living life on the grid include huge organizations like IBM, 21st Century Fox, Capital One, Intuit and many others. Capital One alone, has 25,000 users. The question is, should your business consider migrating to Slack Enterprise Grid, and if you also use Office 365, Cisco hardware, or other collaboration tools, how does it fit in to an overall Unified Comms strategy?

Why get on the grid?

Slack Enterprise Grid offers power through versatility and scalability for large customers. Businesses are using more tools than ever before to stay connected. As the need for collaboration grows, a single Slack workplace may not be enough to empower your team.

That’s where Enterprise Grid comes in.

Slack Enterprise Grid powers the administration of multiple workplaces within a company. It’s a way of making sure you have unlimited rooms for the different groups in your workforce, like sales, marketing and IT. However, at the same time, Enterprise Grid ensures that those rooms aren’t siloed. 

In a world where 86% of executives believe that silos are the reason for business failure, it pays to be connected.

Slack Enterprise Grid allows organizations to deploy their enterprise chat apps at scale. Multi-departmental teams can build their collaborative environments, disbanding and creating new digital workspaces as they go. However, it’s worth noting that other chat apps like Microsoft Teams also allow for multiple rooms in a workplace. 

Global administrators on Microsoft Teams can also create an unlimited number of teams. At the same time, Cisco Webex Teams allows companies to create and organize teams under specific “themes”. For instance, you may create a selection of teams in a “Marketing” workspace, and connect it to your “Sales” workspace.

Slack Enterprise Grid
Slack Enterprise Grid

Slack Enterprise Grid vs. Microsoft Teams vs. Webex Teams

The fact that 150 companies are now using Enterprise Grid is evidence that Slack’s presence in the corporate world is growing. However, Slack is far from achieving absolute domination in the enterprise chat world.

77% of the Fortune 100 use Slack on a regular basis. At any one time, 3.5 million simultaneously connected users are online, sharing files and hosting conversations. Enterprise Grid, launched in 2017, is a key component in Slack’s plan to continue pulling corporate customers into its network.

For now, Enterprise Grid is a collaboration tool that claims to adapt to the needs of larger companies. However, many features available through Enterprise Grid are also available on other chat apps. Microsoft Teams also has “Unlimited Workspaces”. Cisco Webex Teams by nature allows for many “Teams” to exist within a global namespace.

While Slack Enterprise Grid offers HIPAA and FINRA compliance, Microsoft Teams can claim the same thing, and Cisco is working on gaining HIPAA compliance.

Perhaps the thing that really makes Slack stand out, is it’s plan for the future.

Slack Analytics
Slack Analytics

What can we expect next from Slack Enterprise Grid?

Slack continues to compete against collaboration experts like Microsoft and Cisco for their share of the corporate customer market. Recognizing this, the Grid continues to evolve. This year, Slack announced their acquisition of Astro – an email management company – in a move designed to provide more options to Enterprise Grid users. While other collaboration tools fight to kill the inbox, Slack may be one of the few brands embracing email as an additional part of the communication stack. This could be a valuable point of differentiation for the Enterprise Grid. 

Another major focus for Slack going ahead is analytics. Rumors suggest that Slack is building analytical tools to give companies more profound insights into their collaboration data. Slack’s head of Search, Learning and Intelligence, Jaime DeLanghe announced the team is working towards a set of insights that demonstrates how Slack is being used, and how groups are functioning as a unit. DeLanghe believes that there’s a lot more that can be done with the data that Slack is exposed to every day.

Enterprise Key Management (EKM) is also due for imminent release. EKM will enable Slack administrators to control encryption keys and “provides all of the security of an on-premise solution, with all the benefits of a cloud tool.”

Finally, Slack will be working more aggressively on their approach to security in the years ahead. As companies continue to shy away from applications incapable of supporting their compliance needs, Slack aims to prove its readiness for the enterprise. Since Enterprise Grid launched, Slack has had a strong focus on business protection, with FINRA and HIPAA compliance available for regulated companies. In 2018, Slack strengthened its security portfolio with two enterprise-grade certifications: ISO 27001 and ISO 27018.

Slack Astro acquisition
Slack Astro acquisition

Thinking of going off grid, or off Slack completely?

We often see the case where enterprises opt against the paid Slack subscription, because they are also invested in Cisco Webex Teams or Microsoft Teams. This is the final part of the Unified Comms, and more specifically, the Unified Messaging, strategy.

When businesses reach a threshold of 200+ users, paid subscriptions for team chat apps become a serious investment. This is where we typically see IT Managers involve business representation. In order to release funding for a new collaboration tool, a business case must be formulated. When evaluating options, cheaper and more business appropriate tools appear on the shortlist. Sometimes, the key to finding the best solution to cater for all needs, as well as resolving the costs concern, is finding an external tool that acts as the glue for the overall solution.

Microsoft Teams and Cisco Webex Teams are the biggest threat to Slack Enterprise Grid
Microsoft Teams and Cisco Webex Teams are the biggest threats to Slack Enterprise Grid

Fitting your team chat together with Mio

Building a business case for any new expense is tricky. Whether you are looking for an immediate ROI or long term, once of the key considerations is who will this new tech benefit? If the answer isn’t everybody, then it becomes harder to justify the business case and get buy-in from all stakeholders.

As Slack continues to learn more about the needs of its customers, the Enterprise Grid experience will continue to transform. Already, Slack’s Enterprise Mobile Management system has seen a significant update, with integrations available for dozens of EMM vendors. Slack also added new integrations for providers like ServiceNow and Oracle. A clear sign of their understanding of the market’s need for versatility.

While Slack Enterprise Grid has a lot to offer, it doesn’t mean that everyone on your team will want to use Slack as their enterprise chat tool. There will still be users that love Cisco Webex Teams or Microsoft Teams.

With Mio, you can build on the benefits of Slack Enterprise Grid with an interoperability solution that allows everyone to use the tools they prefer in a secure, collaborative environment.

Discover what you can accomplish with Slack Enterprise Grid and Mio today.

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