​Slack Enterprise coming early 2017, aims to make sprawl manageable

Slack's enterprise version is around the corner and companies will welcome features to better manage the service at scale.

Slack Enterprise is scheduled to launch in early 2017 and perhaps the biggest selling point will be giving enterprises tools to manage sprawl with teams that have used personal accounts.

CTO Cal Henderson said that Slack has been beta testing tools that would make deploying the communications platform easier to deploy at scale.

For instance, Slack's enterprise licensing agreements has given the young company a footprint in 28 percent of the Fortune 100. But CIOs are just getting a handle on the amount of teams and instances of Slack in their companies.

Tools in Slack Enterprise will include single sign-on as well as management and provisioning options. "We are in beta with various enterprises," said Henderson. "For IT there is a challenge of sprawl," he said. "Many teams have individually expensed Slack."

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The challenge for tech leaders is unique. It's not new that an application would gain enterprise adoption from the ground up. Consumerization dictates that employees often bring their own hardware and software for work.

But what makes the Slack management issue interesting is that the company has a much wider addressable market. A cloud service such as Salesforce was pioneered by line of business execs, but customer relationship management doesn't touch everyone. Amazon Web Services got its start on thousands of individual developer expense accounts. But that market started with developers at first.

Also: Slack versus Microsoft Teams: It's really no contest | Microsoft launches its Slack competitor, Microsoft Teams | IBM, Slack partner on Watson-powered chatbots | Slack surpasses 4 million daily active users | Slack, Salesforce ink broad integration pact

Slack can be used by anyone within a company that's involved with a team. IBM has 35,000 Slack seats. Managing Slack at a centralized point is handy, but first you have to rein in the sprawl. "We're working on the problem of deploying Slack to 100,000 users," said Henderson.

Henderson sees the enterprise as Slack's primary growth engine along with platform and ecosystem and international. Henderson said the enterprise upside is promising given that outside of the Silicon Valley bubble, there are plenty of companies that haven't heard of Slack in multiple industries.

"Relatively speaking few have heard of Slack," said Henderson. "There is a lot more space to expand.

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