Slack locks down Oracle partnership targeting enterprises

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Slack Technologies Inc has secured a partnership with Oracle Corp ORCL.N to integrate the tech giant's enterprise software products into the popular workplace messaging app, the two companies told Reuters.

FILE PHOTO: The Slack messaging application is seen on a phone screen August 3, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas White/File Photo

The partnership is a victory for Slack as the young startup ramps up its efforts to win the business of large enterprises in an increasingly competitive marketplace that has seen the entry of Microsoft Corp MSFT.O, Facebook Inc FB.O and countless startups.

“As you see all these large enterprise software companies looking at messaging as a major platform, they’re looking to partner with us first and foremost,” said Brad Armstrong, Slack’s head of global business and corporate development.

The partnership will allow workers to use Slack as the interface for Oracle’s sales, human resources and business software.

Workers will be able to ask questions such as “how many vacation days do I have left this year?” and instantaneously receive a response from an Oracle chatbot, said Suhas Uliyar, Oracle vice president of bots, artificial intelligence and mobile.

“I call this the next browser,” Uliyar said. “This is just the natural way in how you converse.”

Slack entered the partnership to differentiate its messaging product among large corporations, a market the company has made a top priority since launching an enterprise-grade version of its messenger in January.

Slack is hoping the Oracle partnership will entice more corporations to choose its messenger over Microsoft Teams, Facebook Workplace and Atlassian Stride, all of which launched in the past year.

Oracle, meanwhile, said the partnership is key to serving younger professionals, many of which are accustomed to using messaging interfaces like Slack, Snapchat and Facebook Messenger.

“We need to make sure we’re embracing the way the world is changing and embracing the way that people are working,” Uliyar said.

The partnership between the two companies came about after Slack secured the tech giant as a customer. At Oracle, there are 30,000 workers who actively use Slack for work. Oracle is currently developing these chatbots, and they will begin to roll out to Slack and Oracle users within the next two quarters, Uliyar said.

Reporting by Salvador Rodriguez; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri