September 17, 2023: Just nine months into her role as the CEO of Slack, Lidiane Jones speaks on how Artificial Intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing the popular workplace messaging platform.
After co-founder and former CEO Stewart Butterfield exited, Jones took over the reins, aiming to stabilize the company that had faced turbulence after its $27.7 billion acquisition by Salesforce.
Before joining Slack, Jones had rapid career growth at Salesforce and was a former Microsoft executive.
She got into the leadership role at Slack shortly after ChatGPT launched, which brought significant attention to AI capabilities worldwide. Since then, Slack has been working at a breakneck speed to evolve its platform and remain competitive, especially against Microsoft Teams.
“The world has changed incredibly due to AI. We’ve added more features in the past nine months than in the last several years,” Jones stated during Salesforce’s annual “Dreamforce” event in San Francisco.
At the event, the topic of AI was the main highlight, with many believing that platforms like Slack are poised for a massive transformation due to generative AI technologies.
Slack has been proactive in launching features that leverage AI, almost serving as a digital assistant. Jones shared a personal experience: “When I returned from my vacation, I had tons of messages.
I used Slack AI to summarize everything, and in two hours, I was caught up instead of spending a whole day.”
Jones emphasized how Slack’s AI can be used for multiple purposes, like automating complicated tasks such as approving expenses.
Unlike Microsoft Teams, Slack allows users to communicate directly with third-party generative AI chatbots. “This is our strength. We’re different from Teams; we are an open platform,” Jones highlighted.
Slack had previously filed a complaint against Microsoft in the European Union for bundling Teams with its Office Suite.
While Microsoft has a significant lead with 300 million monthly users compared to Slack’s 12 million daily active users, Jones believes Slack’s data quality makes it a strong competitor in AI.
“For us, the quality of data is key. Our platform captures collaboration across departments, making our AI capabilities incredibly powerful,” Jones added.
Though Slack has no immediate plans to develop its own language model like OpenAI’s ChatGPT, Jones doesn’t rule out the possibility of doing so.
She even speculated on Slack eventually developing personalized AI agents.
“Imagine a system that knows you down to your most personal details. It’s a plausible future but will take time,” Jones concluded, pointing out that the trust factor remains a barrier for now.
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