Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff speaks on video chat
Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff speaks on video chat

Salesforce Unleashes Slack and Rocks the Cloud

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I believe Marc Benioff will use Salesforce’s fiscal-Q2 earnings call today to describe a compelling future for not only Salesforce plus Slack but also the rapidly evolving enterprise cloud and its ongoing outsized impact on the global economy.

And I think that pretty quickly, we’ll start to see indications that Marc Benioff’s acquisition of Slack will not only transform Salesforce but also jolt the entire cloud industry. Here are 5 reasons for that.

1. The very idea of “enterprise apps” is being turned upside-down.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadell has said that apps remain extremely vital but are now, in the vision of customers, being bundled tightly with other solutions to meet new and wildly different needs. In Nadella’s examples, that was Dynamics 365 plus Teams plus PowerPlatform plus industry clouds plus Azure plus mixed reality and more. For Salesforce, co-founder Parker Harris said the addition of Slack will enable Salesforce to optimize “human workflows” for customers.

2. Driven by customers, the cloud industry is gradually but inexorably tossing overboard the antiquated model of IaaS-PaaS-SaaS.

In simpler times, that triumvirate was sufficient to describe what companies were doing with the cloud. But because IaaS-PaaS-SaaS is a tech-industry construct, it’s time for customer-oriented perspectives to reframe the relevance of the cloud around business outcomes rather than Silicon Valley acronym-speak. It is said that if you want to catch a mouse, you need to make a noise like a cheese; well, I would contend that if you want to get business leaders fully committed to the cloud, then you need to make the noises the customers make.

3. Digital business and collaboration become fused.

Microsoft and Teams, Google Cloud and Workspace, and now Salesforce and Slack—this is the way forward. It will be fascinating to see how the other players in the Cloud Wars Top 10 step up to these new collaboration-enhanced value propositions. 

4. From Salesforce Towers around the globe to Slack-centered meetings.

Just a few years after Benioff started altering major cityscapes with distinctive Salesforce Towers and logos, he’s leading an about-face on skyscrapers as centers of global enterprises. And he will use Slack as a digital sledgehammer to further redesign and redefine how corporations across the globe get work done, dream up big ideas, and connect employees, customers, prospects, partners, and other stakeholders.

5. Salesforce Targets ServiceNow: Slack Delivers “Human Workflow”.

I wrote that analysis 9 weeks ago and continue to fully believe that Salesforce will use its newfound “human workflows” capability (as noted in item #1 above) to crash headlong into new markets, particularly the one currently dominated by workflow-king ServiceNow. While that’s interesting in its own right, the bigger theme is that the cloud is morphing and changing and accelerating—rapidly!—in front of our very eyes and will continue to do so for the next few years through acquisitions, partnerships, the launch of new technologies, the surge toward industry clouds, and the insatiable demand among billions of people across the globe for digital lifestyles and workstyles.

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