IBM Selects Slack For Its 350,000 Employees

By Amit Chowdhry ● February 11, 2020
  • Slack has just won a major contract: IBM. This is a big win for Slack over Microsoft Teams.

Slack has just won a major contract. For its base of more than 350,000 employees, IBM decided to select Slack for its communications productivity platform reported Business Insider. IBM has been testing Slack for a while now and it is being rolled out gradually. The internal teams at IBM started testing out the chat app back in 2014.

“Going wall to wall in IBM — it’s basically the maximum scale that there is, so we now know that Slack will work for literally the largest organizations in the world,” said Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield via Business Insider.

IBM has been Slack’s biggest customer for years. And the rollout to all employees locks that in. As of last year, there were 165,000 IBM employees using Slack following the launch of its Enterprise Grid service.

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Outgoing IBM CEO Ginni Rometty is known for driving IBM employees to become more productive by offering access to digital tools. And Konrad Lagarde, Director of Productivity and Developer Tooling at IBM has been in charge of the transition. Lagarde told Business Insider that employees simply liked using Slack and were using it of their own free will.

“(The employees) started explaining what they were doing and how they were using Slack to communicate. It was bringing transparency to conversations and helping this team, which was very complex, as we were moving to cloud, continuous delivery, shipping code all the time, it made their work move faster,” commented Lagarde via Business Insider.

This is a big win for Slack over Microsoft. Microsoft’s Teams app competes head-on with Slack and the software giant made it part of the Office 365 suite. Teams now has 20 million users compared to Slack’s 12 million (as of October 2019).

One of the biggest reasons why Slack won the IBM deal is that it offered a free version of the service so customers could try it out before signing up for the premium version. The premium version provides support for more users and offers security controls.

Another reason why Slack won the IBM deal is due to the flexibility of the platform. When Lagarde and his team started working with Slack, the maximum number that could be added to a team in the app was 2,000. Lagarde told Slack that they “have departments that are bigger than that.”