Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, communication in the workplace could be slow, with conversations often mired in lengthy email chains that remained invisible to the rest of an organization. Slack’s mission for six years has been clear: to bring greater transparency to workplace discussions, creating a space where co-workers can quickly share information and collaborate closely on projects.

Since its launch in 2014, adoption has boomed: more than 12 million people now use Slack every day, and last year the company became a publicly traded company following its direct listing. As remote work became more of a necessity due to the pandemic, teams have found themselves turning to the workplace chat app as they seek to remain productive during the disruption.

“Slack’s main strength is its passionate user base,” said Larry Cannell, a research director at Gartner. “Success breeds success. Slack met a need to provide robust messaging and it found an audience where it has flourished.”

Slack’s rise has not been without its challenges, most significantly Microsoft’s introduction of its rival Teams app, with Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield telling The Verge in May that Microsoft is “perhaps unhealthily preoccupied with killing us, and Teams is the vehicle to do that.”

The competition from Microsoft is, of course, indicative of how seriously it views Slack as a rival. And for good reason: Slack has been hugely popular with end users, benefitting from viral adoption that is leading to enterprise-wide adoption in many cases.

“Slack realized its strength was in replacing email as a primary communications platform,” said Wayne Kurtzman, a research director at IDC. “The one-time department tool grew significant security and compliance features and made it easier for enterprises to adopt Slack.”   

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.



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