$3.8 billion Slack is finally launching its long-awaited version for big businesses next week

Slack CEO Stewart ButterfieldSlackSlack CEO Stewart Butterfield

Slack, the red-hot chat startup valued at $3.8 billion, is planning to introduce its long-awaited “Slack for Enterprise” edition for big business customers at an event in San Francisco on Tuesday, Business Insider has learned.

The launch of an enterprise version of Slack will come at a crucial time, as Microsoft prepares to enter the work chat market in force with Microsoft Teams, which will be sold as part of the immensely popular Office 365 suite. Plus, Facebook is beginning to make waves with its competing Facebook Workplace product.

Pricing for Slack for Enterprise is still unknown, but the current version of Slack offers a free tier and two premium paid subscription tiers at $6.67 and $12.50 per person for varying levels of service. Like Microsoft Teams, Facebook Workplace, and the current version of Slack, the new Slack for Enterprise will be a cloud product, meaning there won’t be a version for customers to install on their own servers, Business Insider has learned.

This announcement has been long in the works: Slack began promising a version for big businesses as long ago as mid-2015, and has long held that it’s taking the time to get it right. Meanwhile, Slack has been luring away veterans of companies like Salesforce and Dropbox to head up its sales efforts ahead of the launch.

Since the company’s founding in 2013, Slack has found most of its considerable success by selling to small-to- medium-sized businesses. More recently, though, Slack says it’s winning says it’s winning bigger deals, with 30,000 IBM employees using it daily. Slowly but surely, Slack has been tweaking its product to appeal to larger teams, helping users deal with information overload.

The new Slack for Enterprise edition carries a set of features designed to take that a step further: The company has previously shared that its key feature is “federation.” Customers taking advantage of Slack federation would make it easier for multiple teams to all have their own customised installations of Slack, but still be able to talk to their coworkers on different teams.

In addition, Business Insider hears that Slack for Enterprise will boast a new and secure API, the “hook” that apps use to talk to each other, to feature deeper integration with common workplace apps. Plus, as has been shared previously, Slack for Enterprise will offer the IT department a deeper set of security and analytics tools.

Meanwhile, Slack has its work cut out for it. A survey of IT professionals performed by help desk software provider Spiceworks found that Microsoft Teams stands a solid chance of overcoming both Slack and Google Hangouts in the workplace by 2018.

Slack confirmed the event to be held on Tuesday, but declined to offer further details.

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