Slack, The Popular App That Aims To Replace Email, Makes A Play For Huge Companies

Slack CEO Stewart ButterfieldSlackSlack CEO Stewart Butterfield

Slack, the work collaboration app that’s taking the business world by storm, is making a play for bigger companies with a feature that lets bosses look at employees’ private messages.

Today it rolled out Compliance Exports, a feature that allows team leaders to access all private conversations, including edit history and direct messages.

Slack said in a blog post that the changes were necessary in order to sell to large enterprise customers that deal with heavy regulations, including those in the finance and legal markets. It wrote:

“Sadly, there are businesses today that want to use Slack but can’t. Why? Because they have very specific legal and regulatory requirements that require they have access to and store ALL employee communications. This includes companies with on-going litigation and financial services and securities trading firms regulated under FINRA, to cite two examples.”

The new feature will be available from January 1 and only on Slack Plus, a new service level targeting big enterprise users. It’s not retroactive, meaning none of the past conversations before the new feature is enabled will be subject to access.

Slack isn’t making it easy for companies to take advantage of this new feature. For one, it has a multi-step process that ensures the new feature is only used for serious cases. For instance, before the feature is turned on, the company “make a request in the form of a signed letter on company letterhead stating that the requester is authorised to have this access, that the company policies and employment agreements allow this kind of access, and that they have the necessary legal clearance in their jurisdiction to access employee communications.”

Still, the feature shows that Slack is growing up, and is dead serious about expanding its market to all kinds of businesses — not just the smaller businesses where most freemium collaboration apps get their start.

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