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Salesforce’s Slack acquisition could lead to deeper feature integration for business users

The news: Salesforce has completed its $27 billion acquisition of business collaboration tool Slack, per ZDNet. Slack will continue to be run independently by its current management, but the service will be deeply integrated into Salesforce, resulting in a “Digital HQ” initiative where it could serve as a conduit for 150,000 Salesforce customers.

The “Digital HQ” will ostensibly interweave Salesforce’s Customer 360 tools, namely CRM, digital sales, and digital marketing services, with Slack’s collaborative features as the connective tissue.

Why it’s worth watching: Business collaboration has become a hugely competitive market, not just for the tools themselves, but for the companies and platforms they are associated with. Virtual collaboration software like Slack and Microsoft Teams saw unprecedented adoption during the pandemic. They helped provide an ad-hoc foundation for the new remote work reality. Competition is expected to intensify as businesses define their new remote or hybrid work strategies.

  • Slack currently has 156,000 total paying customers, up 42% YoY, and had up to 12 million daily active users and 156,000 organizations in 2020.
  • Microsoft Teams has 145 million people using its collaboration services, up 26% YoY. Microsoft Teams was used by over 500,000 organizations worldwide in 2020.
  • Google’s rebranded Workspace has entered the collaboration software fray; it claims to have over 2.6 billion active users from enterprise, nonprofit, and education sectors.

How this benefits Slack: Slack can inherit entire businesses and new users from Salesforce. At the very least, Slack can gain inroads in enterprise markets it may have not previously served.

How this benefits Salesforce: Salesforce has a staggering ecosystem of over 3,000 apps that help automate businesses or improve productivity. Slack’s own rich app integration capabilities can serve as the conduit to integrating these apps into Salesforce.

What’s the catch: Merging parts of disparate solutions like Salesforce and Slack is a delicate and risky undertaking. Not only do integrations need to work seamlessly without affecting core features, but the risk of alienating customers who are loyal to each product or service is high.