In order to thrive in the post-pandemic world, digital transformation has become a must for businesses across all industries. However, it's easier said than done — making progress on a digital transformation journey while meeting both industry and business-specific IT needs is no mean feat.
To let businesses across financial services, manufacturing, communications, retail, media, and technology have a go at digital transformation, Slack and Salesforce have launched Slack Partner Industry Solutions with global consulting partners such as Accenture, Deloitte, IBM, and KPMG, to build solutions to help Slack and Salesforce customers make the most of their digital tools.
Salesforce, a CRM platform, came on the leading edge when the pandemic broke out, making work-from-home the new normal by aligning operations from various locations.
In July 2021, Salesforce completed its acquisition of Slack, a workplace communication tool designed with enterprise needs in mind, which also allows users to keep track of and communicate on multiple projects.
With the Slack deal, Salesforce aimed to broaden its scope and access more customers to help unlock value from its biggest acquisition to date. Salesforce zeroed in on Slack’s initial investments to create an integrated experience around sales, cloud service, and cloud marketing for its various clients.
What's in it for the financial services industry?
Regardless of their size, most companies are using more apps today than they were a year ago, which is causing a lot of context switching and could potentially hinder workplace productivity. That is what Slack is trying to solve, among other macro trends like the shift from in-office work to hybrid or distributed work, the ongoing consumerization of IT, and the user experience that enterprise knowledge workers expect given their experience as consumers.
Slack has long been offering digital transition solutions for enterprises. But this time, what's different is that “they are tapping into their partners’ industry expertise with a laser-focused industry lens to deliver solutions – and then supplementing the product experience with those industry-specific advisory strategies, transformation, and management services, which historically were more horizontal before the launch of this program,” explains Slack’s VP, Global Alliances & Channels, Rich Hasslacher. This affects not only the integrated product experiences but also the ancillary services that the platform aims to provide to its customer base to help them navigate macro trends.
To break new ground in the digital experience specific to financial services, the program comes with Slack-specific solutions for retail banking. A lot of firms have been talking about digitally transforming by building their own in-house technology and DevOps engineering, and banks are no exception. Similar to fintechs and other FIs, banks are also increasingly launching digital products for their retail customers. Here, Slack helps to streamline the DevOps processes to help its customers iterate quicker, and catalyze digital experiences for their retail customers.
“We have a partner who has built an application with Slack that streamlines underwriting for insurance. The underwriting process involves multiple different stakeholders and has historically been quite process-heavy across multiple different applications and systems of record. Slack helps in that, serving as the aggregation and orchestration layer,” Hasslacher told Tearsheet.
Additionally, with digitization turning the tide in traditional financial processes, Slack meets the need for real-time collaboration and communication for FIs, both internally and externally. The banking customer experience is connected to and influenced by the employee experience – satisfied employees lead to increased customer satisfaction. Therefore, within the organization, the platform supports messaging, voice notes, and video calls for virtual conferences – often replacing emails and minimizing the number of in-person meetings.
Moreover, it enables banking executives, department managers, and financial professionals to create individual channels for each department or project. Channel administrators can pin important documents or files to each channel to ensure that team members are on the same wavelength.
Outside the organization, Slack enables financial institutions to maintain a smooth exchange of dialogue with external parties – customers, investors, partners, and more.
Almost four years ago, cloud-based banks like Monzo deployed Slack to revamp their incident monitoring and management processes. Around the same time, TD Ameritrade rolled out Slack to its employees as part of its communication toolbox, reducing its email traffic by 25% at the time.
Since the introduction of remote work, digital bank Revolut has also continued to expand its use of Slack to date. The neobank is now eyeing integrating Slack with its onboarding teams, risk teams, and financial crime departments to improve its customer experience.
Slack was also well-received by Intuit’s TurboTax, QuickBooks, Mint, and Turbo teams. Intuit employees are collaborating across divisions, including with external partners in Slack guest channels, to create new cross-functional opportunities to handle customers better.
In terms of mitigating risks of fraud and hacking of internal or external channels for its financial services customers, especially banks, Slack says it meets the broadly recognized compliance and security standards.
“Financial services has always been one of our strongest and most successful verticals, so we have enterprise-grade security that allows FIs to accelerate their digital transformation. We're FINRA compliant, we have several data residency options, and we're GDPR compliant. So we're ensuring to provide all the security that our customers require, whether that be built into our platform or by partnering with other security vendors that integrate with the Slack platform,” said Hasslacher.
This is the first wave of Slack Partner Industry Solutions, in collaboration with 11 partners, which focuses on a subset of the Salesforce ecosystem. In the future, Slack looks to expand the number of solutions at scale that these partners bring to market, as well as grow the number of partners that it works with globally, in order to deliver these solutions to the whole ecosystem, according to Hasslacher.