Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield has an audacious goal: Turning his messaging and collaboration platform into an uber virtual assistant capable of searching every enterprise application to deliver employees pertinent information. And if Slack succeeds, it could seal the timeless black hole of wasted productivity enterprise search and other tools have failed to close.
“I think the team-level virtual assistant is the next software product category for enterprise that is on the order of [Microsoft] Office in terms of longevity and value,” says Butterfield, who spoke to CIO.com at the office of shared workspace provider WeWork. “That’s a long shot for us because you have Baidu, Facebook, Microsoft and Google and a whole bunch of companies that have interested heavily in machine learning and search.”
Equal parts a platform for collaboration, productivity and project management, Slack burst onto the tech scene in 2013, garnering attention among Silicon Valley upstarts and media companies who raved about its capabilities, including invite-only channels and direct messages, as well as content sharing. Slack integrates with Salesforce.com, Box and other corporate software providers.