The first set of financial results from Slack was expected to be a big deal. Sure enough when released earlier this week, they didn’t disappoint, even though there were a few noteworthy weak points that enterprises need to watch out for in the future. Revenue came in at $145 million, 3.1% better than the estimated $141 million, but a services disruption cost the company $8.2 million in compensation to frustrated business users.
It also announced its paid customer base grew 37% to 100,000, while customers generating annual revenue of at least $100,000 grew 75%.
However, co-founder and CEO Stewart Butterfield is predicting a slowdown in growth for many different reasons, but specifically a concern that the Microsoft Teams collaboration app is cutting into growth rates following its recent claim that it has 13 million daily active users, which tops the amount claimed by Slack. No one is disputing Microsoft’s figures, but with Teams often included by default in a number of Office 365 packages, it leaves little room for Slack to fit in. Only time will tell, but growth prospects in the current collaboration suite market seem tough all around.
As is common in financial reports, there were some interesting insights into Slack operations. Butterfield again used the figures to predict a movement away from email to collaboration tools — and Slack in particular — even though there is no evidence to suggest this process has started.
“This is an entirely new category of software enabling a once-in-a-generation shift in the way people work together. We believe channel-based collaboration is so superior to email-based communication for work, that this shift is inevitable,” he said. “Customers are choosing Slack because we offer a great user experience, a rich application platform and ecosystem, and a growing network for inter-company collaboration via shared channels.”
It’s all a matter of perspective when you start talking user experience, keeping in mind that Microsoft too is spending a lot of development time on Teams. Butterfield is, of course, well aware of this and has again pointed out that there is still room for Slack in enterprises that use Office 365.
“Of course, like most of our large enterprise customers, they run on Office 365. They still chose Slack because only Slack was capable of meeting their needs. Increasingly, in regulated industries, we are seeing significant traction because Slack delivers security and compliance with scalability, an open platform and a great user experience,” he said in the earnings call.
What happens over the next quarter is anyone’s guess, but all indications are it will be a tight quarter characterized by competition with not just Microsoft Teams, but also G Suite, Workplace by Facebook and many other collaboration tools.
Microsoft, Oracle’s New Collaboration
Meanwhile, Microsoft continues its drive to push Office 365 deeper into the enterprise and across a wider range of verticals. It recently announced the integration of Office 365 with Oracle Aconex, which claims to be the only construction project collaboration software available.
According to Microsoft, Oracle Aconex offers a solution for users that collaborates and shares Microsoft Office files with a wider project team from within the Oracle Aconex common data environment (CDE).
This means users can manage Office files from all the different apps — Word, Excel, PowerPoint and the rest — in real time, directly from the Oracle Aconex document register. This can be done without downloading the files, which increases file security, and once editing is completed, users can supersede the document with their edits directly in the document register or continue editing over multiple sessions.
The integration enables a robust and streamlined document workflow that saves considerable time for the entire project team, while also improving the quality and accuracy of documentation.
There are a number of benefits to this kind of integration. Apart from improved productivity, speed and better collaboration capabilities, the real bonus here is it provides a single source of truth by creating a neutral and secure CDE with seamless integration to the project ecosystem.
This is just the latest love-fest between Oracle and Microsoft. At the beginning of July, the two companies announced the creation of a cloud interoperability partnership which made it possible for customers to migrate and run mission-critical enterprise workloads across Microsoft Azure and Oracle Cloud. The companies said this means enterprises will be able to seamlessly connect Azure services, like Analytics and AI, to Oracle Cloud services.
Will there be more interaction between the two companies in the coming months? While there's been no word of further joint projects, there has been speculation as to how far Microsoft’s interest in Oracle goes.
ShareGate Upgrade Eases SharePoint Migrations
Elsewhere, with the recent release of the new edition of SharePoint — SharePoint 2019 — many enterprises have been looking at migration possibilities, keeping in mind certain direct migrations are impossible, for example from SharePoint 2013 to SharePoint 2019.
SharePoint migration is, to say the least, difficult. With that in mind, ShareGate has upgraded its file share migration Inventory feature, which enables organizations to analyze and assess the complexity of a potential migration and list the errors to be repaired before starting the process.
With this upgrade, ShareGate has made its Inventory feature even more powerful, by allowing users to plan both their File Share and SharePoint migrations. It lets those who use on-premises versions of SharePoint to simulate a migration to SharePoint 2013, SharePoint 2016 or Office 365.
According to ShareGate CEO Simon De Baene, this kind of functionality is exactly what ShareGate is all about. Its aim is to help SharePoint administrators plan, migrate, report and manage their SharePoint environments.
More Facebook Security Problems
Once again, Facebook is back in the news for all the wrong reasons. It seems the company accidentally exposed millions of phone numbers related to people’s Facebook accounts. The data included Facebook IDs and in some cases names, genders and countries.
According to Sanyam Jain, the researcher who passed the discovery on to TechCrunch, the exposed server contained more than 419 million records over several databases on users across geographies, including 133 million records on US-based Facebook users, 18 million records of users in the UK and another with more than 50 million records on users in Vietnam.
The sever was not password protected, so anyone that could find it could access it.
It gets worse.
The discovery was made earlier this week, but CNET UK reports today (Sept. 6) that while the database has been removed, another cybersecurity researcher in the UK, Elliott Murray, claims he has found another database that contains the same data including the phone number of Mark Zuckerberg.
It’s hard to know where this will end, although previous incidents don’t appear to have impacted Facebook’s business. In March this year, it was found the company had been storing up to 600 million user passwords insecurely since 2012. Days later, it emerged that half a billion Facebook records had been left exposed on the public internet. The only question now with Facebook is not if, but when, the next incident will occur.
New Spell Check for Gmail
Finally this week, Google announced it is bringing improved spell check capabilities and grammar suggestions to Gmail for G Suite users. While the announcement was made about two weeks ago, the functionality appears to be just rolling out now.
Powered by machine learning, correction options appear as you type out an email, and Gmail will autocorrect some “common spelling mistakes” without you having to click anything or take extra steps. Aside from misspellings, it will also detect mistaken verb tense.
The result is inline spelling and contextual grammar suggestions as users draft emails. If you’ve made a grammar mistake, a squiggly blue line will appear under the phrase as you write it. You can choose to accept the suggestion by clicking it. It’s a small addition, but the small additions are often the ones that workers find most useful.
Have a tip to share with our editorial team? Drop us a line: