What's your opinion about Apple compared to Samsung?
• Couple of years behind and trying to catch up?
• Mastering quality and usability and introducing what customers want at the right pace?
You could follow the same logic for Slack.
Slack pioneered the chat-based tools market and pushed the concept of a streamlined and real-time communication in small and mid-sized companies.
The same way Apple was followed by Samsung, HTC and other similar companies in iPhone's early years, Slack is also being followed (I'm avoiding the word "copied") by HipChat, Microsoft Teams, Watson Workspace, among others.
Now that Slack has announced its new Enterprise Grid offering, we cannot help but think that they are sticking to their roots.
Slack is not going after new and fancy collaborative features, such as co-authoring documents, depth of information (like multiple layers of info. Though they have just released threaded conversations a few weeks ago) or even static data (wikis, blogs).
Slack is sticking to its roots, for even though it is now offering enterprise wide features, it is still a real-time, chat-based tool, and it stops there. The paradigm or even adoption does not change, only the fact that it is not as tough a sale to IT as before.
Just like Apple with the iPhone, Slack is not adding new features in order to have X more features than HipChat or Microsoft Teams. Slack is adding the features the market and/or current customers are asking for. Slack is successful because it's easy to use, and not because it's an all-in-one collaboration tool for small and mid-sized teams. The only thing that - at least for now - was missing from Slack was being a trusted platform for bigger companies.
We also do not believe that Slack will compete in an apples to apples way against Microsoft Teams and the rest of the crew. As the new offerings’ name says, Enterprise Grid will focus even stronger on being the middleman. The one who sits between 3rd parties (the ones developing bots, integrations and apps) and the end users (chatting on Slack and collaborating using those 3rd parties). Slack - if not acquired by IBM or other big players - is heading to the path where it'll be a chat platform, bringing together teams on the one hand and any kind of 3rd party WYWaaS (Whatever You Want as a Service).
That's why IBM was there at the Enterprise Grid's announcement (even though being a direct competitor with its IBM Watson Workspace). Some people told me a few weeks ago that they felt ashamed by IBM, subjecting themselves to being at a Slack announcement as one of the biggest customers. We don't see it that way. Quite the contrary. It is in fact very clear that IBM sees the huge potential that Slack has to become the ubiquitous chat platform, used by most of the businesses in the world, therefore being a huge marketplace for 3rd party app/services like - guess who - IBM's Watson.
Keep your eyes opened to Slack and don't get distracted by people comparing Slack to Microsoft Teams, HipChat, Watson Workspace and saying that competition has finally caught up.
Change your perspective a little bit and try to think more holistically, the big picture. Slack wants to be the one-stop-shop for real-time communication productivity. It will be the consolidator of all the notifications from any other 3rd party system you might have in your environment. It'll be the place you go to see what's happening "right now" and where (salesforce, sap, o365, dynamics, azure, aws etc) and from there, start conversations or voice/video calls based on that context.
And for that reason we reinforce that Microsoft is not competition for Slack. Slack wants Microsoft's O365 and Azure to thrive, as well as AWS, Salesforce, SAP, Oracle etc., etc. Slack knows already that Cloud is an agnostic land, and businesses will not stick to only one vendor. Multi-cloud is the next big thing and Slack will be there to bring everything together with chat.