Howdy, all! Since the rumors started last week, I’ve received messages from dozens of people. The messages ranged from highly optimistic (congrats on being acquired!) to inquisitive (what’s the mean for you all?) to speculative (does this mean trouble for your business?).
First, congrats to the Slack and Salesforce team! Deals this big are hard to keep secret, and to me, this move makes a ton of sense from many perspectives. First and foremost: this was the reason we started Centro! When we conceived the idea, we saw something that was quite prevalent: Sales and Support teams were leaving Salesforce to have active conversations about customers in Slack. They were also frequently discussing emails and text message conversations they were having with customers in Slack. After talking to over 90 potential users over the past few months, we knew we were on to something to solve the problem of Slack being decoupled from Salesforce and Email/SMS. Coupled with Slack’s vision of being the Future of Work, we took our deep knowledge of building apps on Salesforce to the Slack ecosystem this year.
Naturally, when this announcement came, it was incredibly validating that our vision was the same as Salesforce’s, to the tune of $27B. It also raised questions in our heads, similar to the messages I received. How will Centro co-exist with this acquisition is the underlying question. A fair question to ask, for sure. Here’s how we think about this change in the landscape:
- We take a customer-driven, innovative approach to all of the products we built. We’re proud of the current product’s implementation: speed-to-value (users just connect to Salesforce and Gmail), apps where you choose to work (we have apps for Salesforce, Slack, and Gmail), intuitive interfaces, and our unique approach of associating Slack Channels to Salesforce records.
- Will Slack and Salesforce build the same integration? Time will tell, but that’s unlikely. There may be components of our existing product that need to plug into the products the teams at Salesforce and Slack build, but we will undoubtedly make that adjustment when required.
- We think back to our experience with ActionGrid (later sold to Conga and rebranded Conga Grid). ActionGrid set out to solve the problem of static Salesforce List Views. People wanted to update rows of data in Salesforce in one shot, not clicking into multiple records. When we built this product, people often said, “What if Salesforce builds this?”. 6 years later, we’re humbled to see that Conga Grid is still very much viable and thriving, even with Salesforce Lightning adopting some of the features we originally built in 2014!
- Another example: Apttus was leading the CPQ space when suddenly Salesforce bought rival Steelbrick in 2015 (now Salesforce CPQ). Apttus made a move to support both the Salesforce and Microsoft ecosystems, and over the years, have returned to the Salesforce space, selling enterprise-ready CPQ solutions.
- We continue to push innovative ways of solving problems. We have been accepted into the OpenAI GPT-3 API beta and are finding fascinating ways of incorporating this powerful technology:
- Summarizing a Slack channel for the role you play. Have you ever joined a Channel and wondered “how the conversation is relevant to me?”. On entry to a Channel or on-demand, we’re exploring ways to save time on getting up to speed quickly.
- Summarizing the emotional sentiment of a Slack channel. We think understanding the state of mind of the group discussion is helpful before you jump into it.
- Quick replies for Slack messages and Emails. Similar to the Gmail smart replies, but we take into account the Slack conversation and Salesforce data.
- Smart queries. Did you know GPT-3 knows how to craft Salesforce SOQL statements? Imagine asking the Channel literally: “how many opportunities close this quarter with no email or Slack activity?”. These answers are possible, and we’re just scratching the surface of applying this advanced tech to Slack, Salesforce, and email.
Taking all of this into account, we believe the Salesforce purchase of Slack not only is incredibly validating, but we believe Centro will thrive in this environment no matter what shape it takes in the years to come. We trust ourselves to listen to customer’s problems and create innovative solutions while keeping our eyes on the future of work and adapting where necessary!
In the meantime, check out our Slack, Salesforce, and Gmail solutions!
Slack: Centro App Directory Listing
Salesforce: Centro AppExchange Listing
More recent updates from Centro:
Ryan Hitchler is CEO & Co-Founder of Centro
He can be reached at email@example.com