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Here's why your Slack calls will never be the same again

(Image credit: Shutterstock / rafapress)

Slack and Amazon Web Services have made a commitment to strengthen their existing partnership, in a move that will see the pair take the fight to the likes of Microsoft Teams and Zoom.

The new multi-year agreement will extend the relationship between the two firms significantly, with Slack’s voice and video calling facilities now powered by Amazon Chime, which will allow the collaboration firm to deliver an improved calling experience.

AWS Chatbot will also be integrated into the service to help DevOps teams better collaborate and Amazon Appflow will facilitate the secure exchange of data between Slack and AWS services, eliminating the need to download and upload data between disparate systems.

Slack will also now utilize AWS infrastructure to afford businesses control over the territories their data is stored in at rest, ensuring firms are able to fulfil all compliance obligations.

As part of the new agreement, AWS will deploy Slack internally across its 25,000-strong workforce. Depending on whether the deployment extends to Amazon employees outside the cloud business, the agreement could represent Slack’s largest customer win to-date.

Slack and AWS

While AWS was already Slack’s cloud computing provider of choice, the breadth of Amazon services the firm uses to manage and develop its collaboration service will expand dramatically to include storage, compute, database, security, analytics and machine learning.

Although not stated explicitly, it is likely the new agreement will serve to exclude cloud giants Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud from any potential relationships with Slack for the foreseeable future.

The most significant change brought about by the new deal is the migration of Slack video and voice calls to Amazon Chime, as well as screen-sharing facilities - a move designed to ensure Slack is able to deliver high-quality experience capable of rivalling market leaders. 

In the long term, the shift to Amazon Chime will also allow Slack to explore new features, such as secure video calls on mobile.

“The future of enterprise software will be driven by a combination of cloud services and workstream collaboration tools,” said Stewart Butterfield, CEO and co-founder of Slack. “Strategically partnering with AWS allows both companies to scale to meet demand and deliver enterprise-grade offerings to our customers.”

Andy Jassy, CEO of AWS, emphasized the benefits of the new agreement to development teams in particular, who will now be able to manage cloud-based services without leaving the Slack client.

“Together, AWS and Slack are giving developer teams the ability to collaborate and innovate faster on the front end with applications, while giving them the ability to efficiently manage their backend cloud infrastructure,” he said.

“AWS customers gain a powerful new means of managing their AWS resources that will help teams collaborate and build more applications using the broadest and deepest set of cloud services. We look forward to working with Slack to expand the ways we can help our customers innovate in the cloud,” he added.

As per the firm’s recent earnings report, Slack now serves upwards of 122,000 paying customers, representing an increase of 28% over the previous year, but not reaching the dramatic heights of rival offerings such as Zoom. Slack will hope its new-look relationship with Amazon will help to minimize that gap.