Jul
26
2018
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Slack forms key alliance as Atlassian throws in the towel on enterprise chat

With today’s announcement from Atlassian that it was selling to Slack the IP assets of its two enterprise communications tools, HipChat and Stride, it closes the book on one of the earliest competitors in the modern enterprise chat space. It also was a clear signal that Slack is not afraid to take on its giant competitors by forming key alliances.

That the announcement came from Slack co-founder and CEO Stewart Butterfield on Twitter only exacerbated that fact. Atlassian has a set of popular developer tools like Jira, Confluence and Bitbucket. At this point, HipChat and Stride had really become superfluous to the company and they sold the IP to their competitor.

Not only is Slack buying the assets and Atlassian is effectively shutting down these products, Atlassian is also investing in Slack, a move that shows it’s throwing its financial weight behind the company, as well, and forming an alliance with them.

Slack has been burning it up since in launched in 2014 with just 16,000 daily active users. At last count, in May, the company was reporting 8 million active users, 3 million of which were paid. That’s up from 6 million DAUs and 2 million paid users in September 2017. At the time, the company was reporting $200 million in annual recurring revenue. It’s a fair bet with the number of paid users growing by one-third at last count, that revenue number has increased significantly, as well.

Slack and products of its ilk like Workplace by Facebook, Google Hangouts and Microsoft Teams are trying to revolutionize the way we communicate and collaborate inside organizations. Slack has managed to advance the idea of enterprise communications that began in the early 2000s with chat clients, advanced to Enterprise 2.0 tools like Yammer and Jive in the mid-2000s and finally evolved into modern tools like Slack we are using today in the mobile-cloud era.

Slack has been able to succeed so well in business because it does much more than provide a channel to communicate. It has built a platform on top of which companies can plug in an assortment of tools they are using every day to do their jobs, like ServiceNow for help desk tickets, Salesforce for CRM and marketing data and Zendesk for customer service information.

This ability to provide a simple way to do all of your business in one place without a lot of task switching has been a Holy Grail of sorts in the enterprise for years. The two previously mentioned iterations, chat clients and Enterprise 2.0 tools, tried and failed to achieve this, but Slack has managed to create this single platform and made it easy for companies to integrate services.

This has been automated even further by the use of bots, which can act as trusted assistants inside of Slack, providing additional information and performing tasks for you on your behalf when it makes sense.

Slack has an otherworldly valuation of more than $5 billion right now, and is on its way to an eventual IPO. Atlassian might have thrown in the towel on enterprise communications, but it has opened the door to getting a piece of that IPO action while giving its customers what they want and forming a strong bond with Slack.

Others like Facebook and Microsoft also have a strong presence in this space and continue to build out their products. It’s not as though anyone else is showing signs of throwing up their hands just yet. In fact, just today Facebook bought Redkix to enhance its offering by giving users the ability to collaborate via email or the Workplace by Facebook interface, but Atlassian’s acquiescence is a strong signal that if you had any doubt, Slack is a leader here — and they got a big boost with today’s announcement.

Jul
26
2018
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Facebook acquires Redkix to enhance communications on Workplace by Facebook

Facebook had a rough day yesterday when its stock plunged after a poor earnings report. What better way to pick yourself up and dust yourself off than to buy a little something for yourself. Today the company announced it has acquired Redkix, a startup that provides tools to communicate more effectively by combining email with a more formal collaboration tool. The companies did not reveal the acquisition price.

Redkix burst out of the gate two years ago with a $17 million seed round, a hefty seed amount by any measure. What prompted this kind of investment was a tool that combined a collaboration tool like Slack or Workplace by Facebook with email. People could collaborate in Redkix itself, or if you weren’t a registered user, you could still participate by email, providing a more seamless way to work together.

Alan Lepofsky, who covers enterprise collaboration at Constellation Research, sees this tool as providing a key missing link. “Redkix is a great solution for bridging the worlds between traditional email messaging and more modern conversational messaging. Not all enterprises are ready to simply switch from one to the other, and Redkix allows for users to work in whichever method they want, seamlessly communicating with the other,” Lepofsky told TechCrunch.

As is often the case with these kinds of acquisitions, the company bought the technology  itself along with the team that created it. This means that the Redkix team including the CEO and CTO will join Facebook and they will very likely be shutting down the application after the acquisition is finalized.

Lepofsky thinks that enterprises that are adopting Facebook’s enterprise tool will be able to more seamlessly transition between the two modes of communication, the Workplace by Facebook tool and email, as they prefer.

Although a deal like this has probably been in the works for some time, after yesterday’s earning’s debacle, Facebook could be looking for ways to enhance its revenue in areas beyond the core Facebook platform. The enterprise collaboration tool does offer a possible way to do that in the future, and if they can find a way to incorporate email into it, it could make it a more attractive and broader offering.

Facebook is competing with Slack, the darling of this space and others like Microsoft, Cisco and Google around communications and collaboration. When it launched in 2015, it was trying to take that core Facebook product and put it in a business context, something Slack had been doing since the beginning.

To succeed in business, Facebook had to think differently than as a consumer tool, driven by advertising revenue and had to convince large organizations that they understood their requirements. Today, Facebook claims 30,000 organizations are using the tool and over time they have built in integrations to other key enterprise products, and keep enhancing it.

Perhaps with today’s acquisition, they can offer a more flexible way to interact with the platform and could increase those numbers over time.

Nov
06
2017
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Quip adds an App Store as it pushes toward full-blown collaboration platform

 When Salesforce bought Quip, a document-based, mobile-first collaboration tool for $750 million last September, it may have seemed like an odd purchase, but Salesforce and Quip have been hard at work enhancing the product. Today at the Dreamforce customer conference in San Francisco, the company announced significant updates to the product designed to make it more of a central way to… Read More

Oct
26
2017
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Facebook’s Workplace, now at 30,000 orgs, adds Chat desktop apps and group video chat

 It’s been once year since Workplace, Facebook’s social network designed specifically for businesses and other organizations, came out of beta to take on the likes of Slack, Atlassian, Microsoft and others in the world of enterprise collaboration. Now, with 30,000 organizations using Workplace across some 1 million groups (more than double the figures Facebook published April)… Read More

Jan
31
2017
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Slack takes aim at the corporate sector with Enterprise Grid, adds bots from SAP

enterpriseasset-01 Slack, the business app that lets teams of users communicate, share files from other services, and work on them with each other, has taken off like wildfire since launching three years ago, with 5 million daily users, 1.5 million of them paying today. Now, Slack is embarking on the next step in its ambition to be the go-to platform for all workplace collaboration, no matter how big the… Read More

Aug
09
2016
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Pingpad hitches wagon to Slack with new collaboration tool aimed at enterprise

Young business people collaborating on project. Today, Pingpad, which launched last year as a consumer mobile app, did an about-face, announcing it has built a collaboration tool on top of the popular Slack enterprise communications platform. It shut down the consumer mobile app recently to concentrate on this approach.
Ross Mayfield, one of the founders of PingPad, has been around since the earliest days of Enterprise 2.0, founding… Read More

Jul
08
2016
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Siris Capital to buy Polycom for $2B in cash, Polycom cancels its $1.96B Mitel merger

globe with arrows Here’s an interesting twist in one of the bigger enterprise acquisition stories of 2016. After Mitel earlier this year announced that it would acquire Polycom for $1.96 billion and consolidate the two companies’ enterprise communication businesses, today private equity firm Siris Capital has come in with a higher offer: it has agreed to acquire Polycom for $2 billion in cash and… Read More

Jun
30
2016
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IBM and Cisco team up on enterprise collaboration to stave off rivals like Slack and Microsoft

Spain, Murcia Region, Port of Cartagena, Containers Earlier this month, IBM and Cisco announced they would work together to integrate IBM’s Watson artificial intelligence technology into edge routers from Cisco, and today the two IT giants are deepening their partnership again, as they aim for a bigger piece of the enterprise collaboration market being chased by the likes of fast-growing, popular upstarts like Slack, large… Read More

Apr
15
2016
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Mitel buys Polycom for $1.96B in enterprise communications consolidation play

earth, connected, flight patterns As more enterprises move their communications services over to IP networks and cloud-based services, we’re seeing an increasing amount of consolidation as the businesses that serve them continue to grow to provide end-to-end services — and to shore up against smaller, newer and less expensive offerings from the likes of Slack, Skype, Google Hangouts and more. Today comes that… Read More

Mar
02
2016
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Facebook adds 36K Telenor employees to Facebook at Work as it gears up for global launch

sommer_075-high-1250x585 Facebook at Work — the enterprise version of Facebook that lets businesses build their own secure social networks — has racked up over 60,000 companies on a waiting list while still in closed beta. And as it gears up for a full global launch and new features like an app platform later this year, Facebook is announcing its newest big customer. As of today, Telenor, the… Read More

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