Study: Slack Gaining Ground in Enterprise App Space

The latest edition of Okta's Businesses @ Work study says that the enterprise space is increasingly using cloud platforms such as Microsoft Office 365 and Salesforce, but the relatively new enterprise chat platform Slack is quickly becoming hard for IT departments to ignore.

There’s a chance your association will become addicted to the chat platform Slack sometime in the near future.

According to a recent study of user behavior from the employee-login service Okta, the intraoffice chat platform has basically come out of nowhere in the span of two and a half years, ranking as the 12th-largest cloud-based enterprise platform among Okta users, with a 77 percent increase in adoption during the last half of 2015 alone.

Despite its impressive growth, however, Slack still has a ways to go to hit the top of the heap. The most popular cloud app, according to the Businesses @ Work study, is Microsoft Office 365, which first topped second-place a year ago. Like Slack, the Office 365 platform has grown quickly, outpacing more established cloud platforms like Box and Google Apps.

Speaking of Google Apps, one of the study’s particularly surprising findings was that, despite the overlapping use cases between Google Apps and Office 365, many offices rely on both. More than 40 percent of dual users say that the reason comes down to differing needs in different departments.

“But that’s not the only reason,” the study stated. “Over 30 percent of respondents said they are using Office 365 purely for desktop licensing purposes. As one respondent put it, ‘The easiest way for us to license Office and keep it updated is via Office 365.'”

Other noteworthy trends uncovered by the study:

Security becoming more important: According to the study, multi-factor authentication has become an increasingly popular trend among enterprise companies, with 30 percent of respondents relying on at least one form of two-step technology to get the job done. While SMS authentication and security questions have traditionally been the most popular ways to do this, Okta reported that such techniques are being set aside in favor of third-party applications. “Among those, while nothing has emerged as an obvious trend,”  the study states, “one thing is clear: the fastest growing factors are those focused on end user experience.”

Email isn’t fading from view: In most industries, email and marketing apps remain the most popular platforms across the board, with more than 70 percent of app users in every sector relying on core apps like email and traditional office apps. In the nonprofit space in particular, 90.2 percent of users rely on mail apps, and 80.3 percent rely on sales and marketing apps. Other popular apps in the nonprofit sector include social media (64.4 percent) and document storage (68.9 percent).

Not all apps show up everywhere: When apps are distributed for use by an IT department, access may not be available to everyone. In general, fewer than 25 percent of employees have access to Dropbox and GoToMeeting, for example, while Google Apps and Office 365 tend to be given to nearly every employee. Social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook tend to be distributed to only a handful of employees as well, but Okta says it may be a gap in the IT department’s influence rather than a lack of use. “We believe these apps still live outside of the IT realm,” the study states.

The full results of the study are available on the Okta website.


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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