The Slack Enterprise Grid is here: what you need to know

As the purported email killer, Slack has been a positive influence mostly on startups who aim to use a chat room-like experience to effectively collaborate all while ensuring that the flow of external communication remains minimal.

Naturally, with enterprises with more rigid structures, bureaucracy, and many more people, conversion to a new way of doing causes more resistance. But Slack, even with its so-called $3.8 billion valuation, knew that boxing itself into startup environments and leaner teams is missing out on a tremendous growth opportunity.

Enter the Slack Enterprise Grid. Recently announced, the new offering speaks directly to the enterprise by allowing companies of much larger size and scale to operate within Slack’s framework. Doing so, as Jennifer Manry, VP of Workforce Technology at Capital One, said, allows Slack to preserve “a sense of community, interactivity, and humanity of the workspace that our teams love, with the administrative capabilities we need as a larger enterprise.”

The Enterprise Grid is secure and adaptable, focusing on collaboration within an organized enterprise unit. Teams are given centralized controls, and like the Slack many already know, integration with other applications through webhooks and other controls is seamless. Threaded messages, conversation channels, /giphy images (just a guess), and voice and video calling are also supported. Further, unlimited workspaces support the growing needs of larger organizations, which should also mimic behavior anyone already familiar with Slack are accustomed to.

Today, Slack supports nearly 1,000 app integrations, including Salesforce, IBM, Box, Adobe, and GSuite. The Grid builds upon this by offering a SAP integration that supports Hana Cloud Platform, SuccessFactors, and Concur, which to those familiar with the offering, brings real-time reporting and feedback on performance goals, expense and travel management, and chatops development workflows within Slack.

The Slack Enterprise Grid, then, is a pretty familiar tool to those who have already used it. But underneath the hood, administrators are able to control permissions and configure integrations on a per-workspace basis, which hadn’t been offered before. This allows each individualized workspace to be more focused and distinct from other workspaces in the same team. Beyond that, the Grid allows for the creation of shared channels without external exposure across different channels.

The Grid solves a problem Slack acknowledges as having been particularly difficult for larger enterprise companies, in that the structure of the product previously required multiple teams who had to work across multiple unconnected Slack instances. The Grid allows for a single layer that spans the entire company all while allowing administrators to impose rules that make the operation of various channels still disjointed enough all while living under a single happy unified instance. This is particularly useful for searching.

One of the bigger concerns within the enterprise and why Slack has been slow to gain adoption within larger organizations is the concern for security. The Grid addresses this as well, ensuring users that security, policy, and compliance can be addressed across the entire organization. It also offers additional controls such as data retention settings for each workspace. Slack’s Grid is FINRA, HIPAA, NIST, and SOC2 and SOC3 compliant, and is a member of the Cloud Security Alliance. Its security enhancements support data encryption in transit and rest, SAML-based SSO, SCIM provisioning, support for DLP & eDiscovery, and more. Slack has partnered with offsite backup providers that include Bloomberg Vault, Skyhigh, Palo Alto Networks, and others.

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