ORACLE OPENWORLD: Deal could help $1bn startup Slack compete with Microsoft and Facebook in the enterprise-grade messaging market
Slack and Oracle have announced a deal that will see Slack made available as a front-end for Oracle’s enterprise chatbots, which Slack called a key step in its efforts to win over enterprises to its workplace chat program.
Slack began as an internal tool used by developers of an online game, and was launched to the public in 2013.
The software’s popularity helped the firm gain a valuation in excess of $1 billion (£750m) by October 2014, but it faces stiff enterprise competition against the likes of Microsoft Teams, Facebook Workplace and Atlassian Stride.
Those three tools have all appeared in the past year, with Slack launching its own enterprise offering in January.
Slack told Reuters the deal would help it position its tools “first and foremost” in the enterprise messaging market.
Oracle said the move ensures its workplace chatbots are accessible to younger staff who are already accustomed to using the popular tool.
“As user behavior has dramatically shifted to mobile and messaging platforms, it is critical enterprises evolve to support stakeholders’ preferred channels,” stated Oracle Cloud Platform vice president for product development Amit Zavery.
The announcement is part of a broader expansion of Oracle’s artificial intelligence-powered chatbots announced at this week’s Oracle OpenWorld conference in San Francisco.
The company said it would also allow other messaging clients, including Facebook Messenger, Kik, Skype and digital voice assistants such as Amazon Echo, Amazon Dot and Google Home to be used as front-ends for its chat tools.
Other features added to the year-old chatbot technology include a Bot Builder tool Oracle said provides a central place for designing and training natural language understanding (NLU) models, constructing conversational dialogue flows and configuring channel and enterprise data integration.
New customer experience analystics tools help companies monitor mobile and desktop bot adoption, usage and performance and to troubleshoot and personalise the way bots are used, Oracle said.
A software development kit (SDK) allows developers to extend mobile and web-based applications with chat and voice capabilities making use of Apple’s Siri, Google Voice or Microsoft’s Cortana, according to Oracle.
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