India's Hybrid Work Major Focus For Slack, Says CEO

Workplace communication platform Slack views India as a substantial opportunity market due to the increasing adoption of its services in the country, according to co-founder Cal Henderson.

What Happened: India stands out as one of the most significant markets for both free and paid users, highlighting the initial phase of the freemium cycle for Slack, the co-founder told Moneycontrol in an interview. With a robust product development team in Pune since 2018 and recent expansions in customer-facing operations, including marketing and sales functions, Slack aims to capitalise on the growing adoption of hybrid work models in India.

In a bid to comply with local laws, Slack began allowing its Indian customers to store their data within the country in November last year. This strategic move aligns with the company’s efforts to strengthen its position amid heightened competition from local rivals and global tech giants operating in India, such as Zoho and Microsoft.

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Henderson, also serving as Slack’s chief technology officer, emphasised the user-friendly experience and a growing app directory featuring over 2,600 software and tools, including Dropbox, Jira, Outlook and Google Drive. Integration with various software tools is a key focus, enhancing the value of Slack for users.

He said Slack is actively engaging with the emerging field of artificial intelligence (AI) and has integrated with AI chatbots such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Anthropic’s Claude. Henderson envisions further collaboration with AI companies, allowing their services to be seamlessly incorporated into Slack workflows. He added that Slack is leveraging generative AI for features related to summarization and search, as seen with the introduction of SlackGPT, which includes AI-powered conversation summaries and writing assistance.

Following its acquisition by Salesforce in 2021, Slack is expected to play an increasingly integral role in the broader Salesforce ecosystem. Henderson anticipates a conversational interface to be a significant aspect of future user interactions, particularly as AI continues to advance. The company is exploring opportunities to integrate large language AI models and expand its automation capabilities.

Looking ahead, Slack plans to invest in its Canvas feature, akin to Google Docs, allowing users to organise, curate, collaborate and share information. The company also aims to integrate Canvas with its workflow platform and automation, enabling users to automate simple business processes and build automations on the platform over the next year.

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