With nearly every major and minor player extending some AI offer, Slack is the latest to contribute to completing the vision.

Moshe Beauford, Contributing Editor

February 20, 2024

3 Min Read
New Slack AI tool
Gunay Rahimova/Shutterstock

Last week, Slack by Salesforce launched a tool called Slack AI, a generative AI-fueled agent that extends AI-powered search, channel recaps and thread summaries. 

Slack AI likewise prioritizes what employees need to know, according to Slack, saying that customers can save an average of 97 minutes per week using Slack AI features.

Slack furthermore reported that thousands of users from companies such as point-of-sale provider SpotOn, rideshare giant Uber and AI safety/research firm Anthropic participated in the Slack AI pilot partner ecosystem, something founder and principal of InFlow Analysis David Smith said should only work to the channel's advantage. 

This partnership approach, Smith said, has long been the Slack way.

"By partnering with their current app developers to integrate AI functionalities into their existing apps for tasks like summarizing documents, providing insights, or offering conversational help, etc., partners gain a more powerful tool for their customers," Smith told Channel Futures.

InFlow Analysis' David Smith

Here is where more partner edge comes into the fold: "Alongside the Microsoft partner ecosystem, the Salesforce partner ecosystem is one of the most enormous," Smith told Channel Futures. "So it makes sense for partners as they would gain a massive user base and potential customers and can offer differentiated AI functionalities within Slack's conversational interface."

Related:Microsoft Adds Premium Functions to Copilot with Pro Version

Most notably, Smith remarked, "to grow the ecosystem by attracting new AI-focused developers to encourage the creation of entirely new AI-powered apps within and native to the Slack platform is a good thing."

Slack AI is available as a paid add-on for Slack Enterprise users in the United States and the United Kingdom, with the firm adding that additional plans and language support will follow.

Slack AI, Riding the Coattails of Generative AI Rage

With Slack also announcing that partners can enhance the offering by bringing their AI capabilities into Slack, the possibility for more partner value exists as generative AI in business experiences a boom. 

In 2023, generative AI saw almost 90% growth, according to Irwin Lazar, president and principal analyst at research firm Metrigy.

"If 2023 was the year of generative AI, then 2024 is becoming the year when generative AI becomes pervasive," said Lazar.

Metrigy's Irwin Lazar

With the introduction of Slack AI, Lazar said the collaboration firm can better compete against Cisco, Google, and Microsoft with its Copilot tool.

"Buyers are likely to compare Slack AI to Microsoft’s Copilot, which offers similar functionality for chat summarization as well as generative AI capabilities that span the entire suite of Microsoft 365 apps, but at a high cost of $30 per month per user," Lazar shared.

Related:D&H Intros 'Go Big AI' to Help Partners Monetize AI Solutions

He believes that although Slack hasn’t yet disclosed pricing for Slack AI, it’s likely to come in at a lower price since generative AI capabilities are limited to chat data.

"We also expect Slack to add the ability to index information from files posted to channels and canvases, further increasing Slack AI’s usefulness," Lazar told Channel Futures.

Beefing Up the AI Competition

With all major and minor players in the AI arena extending some form of AI to its users, it seems the competition might be ready to stiffen. 

From a customer standpoint, the choices are nearly limitless, and vendors in the space have to get ready to differentiate even further by expanding use cases, something they will lean heavily on customers to help with. 

With customers and partners typically the ones to unearth and explore what is possible with new use cases, this unexplored chapter in the AI game could get more interesting than one might have onetime envisioned. 

About the Author(s)

Moshe Beauford

Contributing Editor, Channel Futures

Moshe has nearly a decade of expertise reporting on enterprise technology. Within that world, he covers breaking news, artificial intelligence, contact center, unified communications, collaboration, cloud adoption (digital transformation), user/customer experience, hardware/software, etc.

As a contributing editor at Channel Futures, Moshe covers unified communications/collaboration from a channel angle. He formerly served as senior editor at GetVoIP News and as a tech reporter at UC/CX Today.

Moshe also has contributed to Unleash, Workspace-Connect, Paste Magazine, Claims Magazine, Property Casualty 360, the Independent, Gizmodo UK, and ‘CBD Intel.’ In addition to reporting, he spends time DJing electronic music and playing the violin. He resides in Mexico.

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