Salesforce has long shown a strong interest in providing collaboration tools. Chatter, Quip, and now Slack represent major investments in delivering solutions in this product category. However, the results to-date have not gained market share comparable to Microsoft Teams. Several reasons for this include:
- Microsoft is able to leverage their existing strong Azure Cloud and productivity applications market presence.
- Corporate IT organizations already use available Microsoft development tools and messaging products (e.g., Exchange).
- Office365 has been a major success and provides a gateway for enterprise sales of the Teams product.
Slack is a strong and innovative solution but still lags behind Teams in terms of enterprise IT adoption. What must Salesforce do to compete in this segment given Microsoft’s present advantages? I believe that Salesforce leadership must continue their strategy to make the Lightning Platform an open cloud development environment. This includes introducing robust CD/CI tools expected from a major platform player, integrating Mulesoft and Heroku capabilities into a developer friendly ‘Integration/Developer Cloud’ that provides unified access to AWS and Azure clouds, creating a transparent licensing model that enables enterprises to effectively manage their IT spend, and continues their historical commitment to citizen developers through a low-clicks experience.
Slack is a major component in this strategy. However, to effectively compete with Microsoft, Salesforce must deliver an integrated collaboration product strategy. This will avoid the past Chatter and Quip struggles with gaining market traction.