Amazon is a massive company. With 840,000 employees, internal communication is incredibly important – especially considering the number of teams and time zones that Amazon works across. Bezos spearheads innovation. He’s always expanding and looking for ways to become more efficient. As you may have read, Amazon recently announced a partnership with the workplace chat app, Slack.
Slack, as you well know, is a collaboration app meant for internal communication within companies. Functionality is centered around multiple existing channels. As such, discussions are more organized. It was only a few years ago that Outlook was the communication tool of choice for Amazonians. In 2016, non-Seattle Amazon employees would even discuss their newest hacks and tricks for email filter rules on a WEEKLY basis.
Questions meant for engineers now belong in the FC’s engineer channel. Their corporate media team can have both video and print channels. Slack allows Amazon to better utilize both synchronous and asynchronous communication, introducing employees to instant messaging as well as announcements or questions that don’t have to be answered right away.
Slack is already the communication home to a significant number of major companies. Among Slack’s client-base are media companies like Fox and BBC, the retail giant Target, Airbnb, Pinterest, Lyft, and the list goes on and on. Most notably, Slack’s second-largest customer IBM (second only to Amazon now) trusts the app for workplace communication for all 350,000 of its employees.
In order to understand why Slack is a major part of so many influential companies, one also has to understand that Slack is MUCH more than workplace text-messaging.
Slack’s motto is “Where work happens”. This past quarter has certainly proved it’s a platform where employees can work together regardless of physical location. Originally, Slack didn’t have as many capabilities that made that work entirely possible. The biggest complaints came from companies using Slack’s platform for communication, but whose actual collaboration was happening offline or on other work platforms. The time lost between leaving the chat, searching another platform, then leaving that platform to go back to Slack to ask a follow-up question was, as might be evidenced by this long run-on sentence, ineffective.
And then Slack expanded its integration potential.
Slack made it possible to integrate other apps and platforms within Slack itself. This is done through plug-ins that can be added to Slack channels to centralize communication. Integration allows employees to work directly from Slack rather than bouncing between tabs constantly.
Take Jira, for instance. Because of the integration possibilities Slack offers, teams can add Jira to their Slack so crucial discussions and decisions can be made while cutting, for lack of a better term, slack time.
These integration capabilities are what makes the new partnership with Amazon even bigger news.
Slack’s biggest competition in the recent past has been the burgeoning Microsoft Teams. Slack and Teams have kept a close rivalry, both acquiring impressive customers and expanding capabilities.
One thing Teams had on Slack was the greater potential for collaboration through voice and video call. While one of Slack’s premiere integration abilities is with the now widely used Zoom app, Microsoft Teams had more internal functions that allowed even more ease.
The partnership between Amazon and Slack will go beyond a simple communication tool for the giant retailer. The relationship between the companies is expected to be mutually beneficial. This extends to amplified usage of Amazon Web Services (AWS), Amazon’s cloud computing platform. Amazon Chime, a voice and video call feature, will build into Slack’s base platform.
These functions give already happy customers more collaboration power.
In a time where being able to collaborate remotely has become necessary for nearly every business, this partnership adds to the list of qualities that make Slack an ideal choice for enterprise tech companies.