How Slack’s CEO is Using AI to Take on Microsoft Teams ?2023

Lidiane Jones, who is the Slack’s CEO , talks about how AI is changing their platform and makes it stand out from Microsoft Teams.

Just nine months into her new role as the CEO of Slack, Lidiane Jones is shedding light on how Artificial Intelligence (AI) is transforming the popular workplace messaging platform.

Taking the helm after co-founder and former CEO Stewart Butterfield’s departure, Jones stepped up to steer the ship through a turbulent period following Slack’s $27.7 billion acquisition by Salesforce.

Before joining the Slack team, Jones had experienced rapid career growth at Salesforce and had previously held an executive position at Microsoft.

Jones assumed leadership at Slack shortly after the launch of ChatGPT, a development that brought significant global attention to AI capabilities. Since then, Slack has been on a fast-paced journey to evolve its platform, especially to compete head-to-head with Microsoft Teams.

Speaking at Salesforce’s annual “Dreamforce” event in San Francisco, Jones highlighted how the world has been profoundly impacted by AI. She mentioned, “We’ve added more features in the past nine months than in the last several years.”

AI was the central theme of the event, with many foreseeing substantial transformations in platforms like Slack, thanks to generative AI technologies.

Slack has been proactive in introducing AI-powered features, essentially functioning as a digital assistant. Jones shared a personal anecdote: “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 underscored that Slack’s AI can serve various purposes, such as automating complex tasks like expense approvals.

In a notable distinction from Microsoft Teams, Slack allows users to engage directly with third-party generative AI chatbots. Jones emphasized, “This is our strength. We’re different from Teams; we are an open platform.”

It’s worth noting that Slack had previously lodged a complaint against Microsoft in the European Union for bundling Teams with its Office Suite.

While Microsoft enjoys a significant lead with 300 million monthly users compared to Slack’s 12 million daily active users, Jones believes that Slack’s data quality positions it as a strong contender in the realm of AI.

“For us, the quality of data is key. Our platform captures collaboration across departments, making our AI capabilities incredibly powerful,” Jones added.

Slack's CEO

Although Slack currently has no immediate plans to create its own language model akin to OpenAI’s ChatGPT, Jones doesn’t rule out the possibility of doing so. She even mused about the prospect of 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, acknowledging that trust remains a significant barrier for now.


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