Slack, Email and the Need for Universal Interoperability

As Slack went public yesterday, with an estimated value of more than $20 billion, the New York Times wrote a piece highlighting the looming issues with the platform. With crowded channels, privacy concerns, and a sense that employees must always be on demand, the main question posed was: is Slack really what we want to replace email?

There’s no denying the shifting user preference from email to team collaboration platforms, especially as more millennials enter the workforce and forge the collaborative work style. However, the concerns surrounding when and how to adopt Slack can’t be ignored. In a recent report from CMSWire on the State of the Digital Workplace, out of 19 tools ranked, email was still the number one platform that worked best for people.

Why is that? Email still stands as the universal platform for open online communication. Slack recognized that people need to communicate externally across different teams and companies and recently introduced Enterprise Grid, which allows collaboration between a company and an outside team, such as a vendor or ad agency. However, this feature – along with other standard features like guest access – doesn’t address the need to connect different teams on different platforms, for example between Slack and Microsoft Teams.

Slack’s financial success is a testament to the rising influence of the collaboration market and employees’ shifting views on the digital workplace. However, until it and other platforms address the issues above with universal interoperability, the debate between email and team collaboration software will always be looming in the distance.

Published 06/21/19