Slack rolls out cross-company collaboration, boosting guest access
- Slack Technologies Inc. unveiled its streamlined approach to intercompany communication with "Shared Channels" for its enterprise communication platform, according to an announcement on Tuesday. Shared Channels is an extension of the current guest account feature, which offers communication with partners outside a company.
- Slack's original guest account feature only allowed access for individual guests into either billed multi-channel chats or free single-channel chats from multiple Slack logins. Shared Channels now allow any organization already using Slack to connect with external companies using Slack just as they would in-house.
- In addition to the Shared Channels feature, Slack also announced on Tuesday the incorporation of three new languages to the platform: French, German and Spanish. The communication platform is presently used in over 100 countries.
Slack's integration of shared channel access for partnering companies comes just a day after Microsoft announced its own guest access feature for its communication platform, Teams. Both companies' implementation of off-premise communication capabilities are an extension of original features on the platforms.
Slack and Microsoft are acknowledging the need for a centralized portal for multiple companies to communicate on at once. While Slack already made the option for guest access, invited guests had to sign in with an email and the number of guest invitations were limited for a company to assign.
Since its 2014 release, Slack has grown to about 8 million users in over 35,000 companies; Microsoft Teams is used in approximately 125,000 companies. The disproportion in enterprise users is reflective of Microsoft's already dominating presence in the enterprise in terms of software, hardware and cloud services.
Teams is available via Microsoft's Office 365, and the guest portal can be used by any member of the Azure Active Directory, which consist of about 870 million people. Despite the difference in enterprise presence, Slack is widely considered the innovator of the field. Before Microsoft, other competitors such as Google's Hangouts, Facebook's Workplace and Atlassian's HipChat were not able to knock Slack off its throne in the market.