Slack adds major enterprise collaboration features, uptime guarantee

Slack

Slack raised $120 million in funding in October 2014.

Credit: Slack

IRC for the enterprise grows up

Slack, the startup that bills itself as IRC for the enterprise, has been on something of a winning streak lately -- it's been the darling of the Silicon Valley set since late last year, and took in $120 million in funding last October to solidify its position. 

Slack

Slack is aiming for larger enterprise users.

Today, the same day Facebook announced a pilot of its long-awaited Facebook for Work platform, Slack unveiled a $12.50/user/month "Plus" subscription plan for large enterprises outside of the startup's usual small-team wheelhouse. The new plan includes support for single sign-on (SSO), data export for compliance purposes and a four-nines uptime guarantee, plus access to a priority lane for customer service, according to Slack's statement.

In true Slack fashion, the SSO support comes by way of third-party integrations: Okta, OneLogin, and Bitium, all of which offer identity solutions that give employees one username and one password to access the lion's share of their cloud apps. 

The data export feature lets larger organizations periodically lug out and store their entire chat records in a separate silo. This is critical for enterprises where everything has to be searchable for regulatory compliance or just for the sake of keeping a record. Slack promises fine-tuneable controls for what is and isn't exported. 

Finally, Slack Plus is backed by the aforementioned 99.99% uptime guarantee, and it's putting its money behind it with a money-backed service-level agreement (SLA) that guarantees a 100-times payout for whatever you paid for Slack that month (EDIT: Slack refunds 100x what you would have paid during the downtime). And that priority service guarantees an answer to your support inquiries within four hours, 24/7/365. 

Slack is popular, with a claimed "365,000 daily active users across more than 45,000 teams," with customers including the New York Times, Comcast, Buzzfeed, and Adobe. Those tend to skew towards a younger, more connected set.

But with the new "Plus" features, combined with its continuing expansion of compatible, interlocking external services, it's making a much-needed move toward   larger enterprises. That could prove valuable as Facebook turns its all-seeing Eye of Sauron towards enterprise collaboration, not to mention existing rivals like Atlassian with HipChat and Microsoft with, well, Microsoft. 

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