Slack partners with Amazon Web services to take on Microsoft Teams

Slack is partnering with Amazon during a multi-year agreement meaning all Amazon employees will start to use Slack. The deal comes even as Slack faces increased competition from Microsoft Teams, and it'll also see Slack migrate its voice and video calling features over to Amazon’s Chime platform alongside a broader adoption of Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Amazon’s rollout of Slack to all or any of its employees may be a big a part of the deal, because of an enterprise-wide agreement. It’s not immediately clear what percentage of Amazon’s 840,000 employees are going to be using Slack, though. Up until today, Slack’s biggest customer has been IBM, which is rolling out Slack to its 350,000 employees.

While Slack has long used AWS to power parts of its chat app, it’s now committing to using Amazon’s cloud services as its preferred partner for storage, compute, database, security, analytics, machine learning, and future collaboration features. The deal means it’s unlikely we’ll see Slack address Microsoft’s Azure cloud services or Google Cloud to power parts of its service within the foreseeable future.

“We haven't used Azure,” says Brad Armstrong, vice chairman of business and company development at Slack, in an interview with The Verge. “The overwhelming majority of our service has always run on AWS.” Armstrong says it’s “not likely” that Slack is going to be looking to use Azure within the future.

The move to Amazon Chime for Slack voice and video calls is additionally a big a part of the deal. Voice and video conferencing may be a particular liability of Slack compared to Microsoft Teams, but this new integration should mean it'll be vastly improved within the future. Slack has already started the migration, and it’s looking into new features. “For now, we’re just focused on shoring the rear end,” says Armstrong. “As Chime has additional features, we’re watching bringing the mobile experience to incorporate video, which it doesn’t today. We’re also watching transcription.”

Slack and Amazon also are promising better product integration and interoperability for features like AWS Chatbot, a service that pushes out Slack channel alerts for AWS instances. within the coming months, Slack and AWS will improve its Amazon AppFlow integration to support the bi-directional transfer of knowledge between AWS services and Slack channels.

All of those integration points and Slack’s embrace of Amazon are designed to form the chat app much more appealing to enterprise customers. Slack has been steadily growing its enterprise business, despite Microsoft’s big push with Teams recently. It’s some extent that CEO Stewart Butterfield has been keen to worry in recent interviews, albeit he thinks Microsoft is “unhealthily preoccupied with killing” Slack.

“The way forward for enterprise software is going to be driven by the mixture of cloud services and workstream collaboration tools,” says Butterfield during a statement today. “Strategically partnering with AWS allows both companies to scale to satisfy demand and deliver enterprise-grade offerings to our customers.”

It’s a deal which will benefit both Amazon and Slack. Amazon gets a crucial partner for AWS and its Chime platform, and Slack gets the reliability and security of AWS with a far better voice and video calling service underpinning its service.

The partnership also speaks to the core of how Slack has managed to win businesses over. Slack has opted for partnerships and integrations with a spread of rival software and cloud providers and hasn’t always attempted to create those features into its own app. Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield touched on the worth of that integration during a wide-ranging interview on The Vergecast last month.

Slack’s main rival, Microsoft, is additionally trying to entice developers and improve app support in Microsoft Teams, but the company’s tightest integrations are still the Office suite of Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and more. Microsoft has also been bundling Teams as a part of its Office 365 subscription, tempting businesses to use the communications software over Slack and other rivals. Microsoft Teams hit 75 million daily active users recently, an enormous jump from even the bump at the start of the pandemic.

Slack’s approach seems to be working, especially for businesses that aren’t as reliant on Microsoft’s productivity apps. Slack reported its earnings today, revealing quite 122,000 paid customers, a rise of 28 percent year over year. Over 750,000 organizations are now employing a free or paid subscription plan, up from 660,000 at the top of the half-moon.

Butterfield describes Slack’s recent quarter as “phenomenal,” with 50 percent revenue growth year over year. Slack broke a user record back in March, even as many businesses began to order employees to figure from home amid the continued coronavirus pandemic. “We believe the long-term impact the three months and counting of performing from home will wear the way we work is of generational magnitude,” says Butterfield. “This will still catalyze adoption for the new category of channel-based messaging platforms we created and that we are still the sole enterprise-grade offering.”

As much as possible supplant basic pieces of email, it can't totally supplant gatherings. It can positively help lessen them, yet gatherings are still at the core of simultaneous joint effort for associations—that is genuine whether groups are working in the workplace together, or remotely from their own homes. 

While email has truly been the innovative spine that drives work, Slack worked on that idea in the course of recent years. Nonetheless, this pandemic is giving us that more than email, and possibly more than channel-based correspondence, calling is the bit of innovation that associations need the most in a dispersed workforce. The second everybody began telecommuting, they immediately understood that email isn't perfect, and there should be a superior way. Be that as it may, the capacity to viably associate progressively over voice and video was fundamental. 

By the day's end, gatherings must be a basic piece of any technique for a work environment joint effort item like Slack. Until this point, Slack has decided to put daintily in calling, selecting to concentrate more vitality on joining forces with outsider items so associations can pick whichever item works best for them. In doing as such, Slack has been compelled to share development that could have been theirs with their accomplices. Putting all the more vigorously in local calling would permit Slack to catch a portion of that development for themselves. 

Gatherings fabricate a viral development part into the item 

There are different points of interest to having a local considering highlight that functions admirably with gatherings. While facilitating a virtual outside gathering, all clients, potential customers, sellers, and different accomplices are compelled to join the approach to the host's gathering stage. 

For associations that utilization Slack and host gatherings with an outer client on Zoom, Teams, Google Meet or Webex, that outside client will never encounter Slack. Slack won't dispatch for them, nor will they have any thought that the individuals on the opposite finish of the call are Slack clients. In these circumstances, the video call stage gets the presentation, while Slack gets none.

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