A1: Analyst Report – Slack

Slack is a SaaS (Service as a Solutions) communication platform that is used in both educational and professional work environments. Designed to be a centralized hub for communicating, collaborating and learning, Slack is experiencing growth as an online education platform and innovative way to teach within online learning environments. More than 3000 higher education institutions were reported to be using Slack as their primary platform for online teaching in the past 2 years.

My A1 report can be found at: https://etec522venturesjwu.weebly.com

Happy reading!

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5 responses to “A1: Analyst Report – Slack”

  1. hasssae1

    Hi John,
    I enjoyed reviewing your work, quite comprehensive. I never knew that Slack had such a considerable financial position. Nevertheless, the continued net losses can be quite concerning. Looking at their 5-year financial performance it appears that every year from 2017 to 2021 they had a net loss. Having said this, their user base grew significantly over the same 5-year period. As part of the SWOT Analysis you had concluded that you project a healthy prospectus for Slack and their potential investors. Do you think that Slack’s weaknesses (e.g. lacking features, dependency on vendors, etc…) and their external threats (e.g. direct competition, technological changes, etc…) could negatively impact their future, if your recommendations/feedback are not taken into consideration by Slack? In other words, in your opinion, is their current path leading to failure or success?

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    1. John Wu

      Hi Saeid, thanks for commenting. I agree that the yearly net losses are a concern, especially if Slack continues to incur losses on a long term basis. While most tech startups take a long time to become profitable (eg: Amazon took 14 years to make profit), Slack probably needs to find an alternative revenue source as depending on business subscribers seems shaky. In a sense it’s like the reverse situation of Whatsapp where it was initially a paid service for everyone and became free many years later. Optimistically, since their user base is growing, there are opportunities for monetization but more strategic planning is required on this issue (pricing is a sensitive topic). As for their current path, financially I don’t think Slack is in a bad position since they’re still valued at a high cost and being acquired by a larger company (Salesforce) ensures that they’ll be sufficient resource wise. However it’s also important to innovate and add new features in the future as stagnation is probably one of the greatest dangers for any tech company. While it’s not guaranteed success, I think Slack should look for ways to diversify and ensure they have a strategy to future proof themselves.

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  2. cindy keung

    Thanks for posting your analysis about SLACK, John! When I was working at particular post-secondary institution here in Canada, we used Slack daily and it was a comprehensive, useful tool. However, it was not compliant with the school’s privacy rules so we were limited in what we could share within conversations and tasks. I wonder if/how SLACK could address this so it can cover almost all privacy issues among higher education institutions and in turn, become the leading communication platform used.

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    1. John Wu

      Hi Cindy, thanks for sharing your experiences. Indeed, compliance with data privacy is a concerning issue which affects many digital platforms and local legislation such as FIPPA. My personal approach is, Slack, Whatsapp (or any other communication app) can be used informally between colleagues, students and teachers as a medium of contact and communication. These apps make life and work/personal communication more easier/efficient which saves time for everyone. As long as no confidential or private information is being sent via these channels, technically speaking it shouldn’t violate FIPPA. As for your question, perhaps Slack could follow Zoom’s example and only allow UBC emails to be FIPPA compliant, which solves most of the privacy issues involved. At the end of the day, it’s important for the educators/administrators to remind participants not to share any personal information within Slack.

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      1. cindy keung

        Thank you for your reply, John!

        ( 0 upvotes and 0 downvotes )

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