Slack and Atlassian have strengthened their alliance with a joint product roadmap that includes deeper app integrations and a “passport” that reduces time spent logging into separate services.
The move marks the latest step in a partnership between the two companies who previously competed directly with real-time communications tools. As part of a deal struck in 2018, Atlassian sold its Hipchat and Stride collaboration apps to Slack, with the two products subsequently shut down; that decision allowed the two companies to focus on their strengths rather than competing in a business chat market that had attracted Microsoft, Facebook, and Google, among others.
Atlassian, which made a “small but symbolically important” equity investment in Slack as part of the deal, announced it would deploy the app to 2,600 staffers and encourage its users to migrate to the one-time rival.
In May, Atlassian acquired Halp, a startup that functions as a service desk for Slack, further evidence of the companies’ strategic alignment.
The announcement Thursday includes an update to Atlassian app content previews within Slack. Links to Atlassian content posted in Slack will appear as “rich unfurls” that offer additional context, such as around why a link was shared and what actions are required. The unfurls, available in DMs as well as private and public channels will be accessible for Jira and Confluence app integrations in Slack initially, with the rest of the Atlassian portfolio to follow later.
Slack has also introduced linked accounts, which allow a Slack account to be used as a “passport” to access Atlassian apps without needing to log in. Once set up, users within Slack can quickly switch to an Atlassian application by clicking a link in a channel or DM. Account creation occurs in the background, saving time. Admins can disable the feature, which is still in development.
“By building deeper integrations across our platforms and providing seamless access to the Atlassian product suite from Slack, we’re making it even easier for teams to use our tools together and work faster, no matter where they’re located,” Slack co-founder and CEO Stewart Butterfield said in a blog post.
With collaboration tools playing a vital role for connecting workers during the pandemic, app integrations that enable more processes to be embedded in Slack channel discussions are important, said Angela Ashenden, principal analyst at CCS Insight.
“Of course, from Slack's perspective, not only is this important to ensure customers get more value from their use of the tool, but it also makes it much more sticky, because it becomes more entrenched in the way customers are getting their work done,” she said.
“This is really important in its ongoing battle against Microsoft Teams – and its role in streamlining organizational processes is one of Slack's primary differentiators against Microsoft Teams.”
The two companies also announced that some Atlassian users who are not currently paid Slack customers can get 50% off pricing for 12 months if they sign up for Slack Standard and Plus plans.
“The Slack discount for Atlassian customers is an interesting aspect of the news, and suggests that Slack is very keen to ramp up its appeal to the developer audience,” said Ashenden. “It may indicate that it's feeling increased pressure from Teams in this area, or it may simply be a case of reinforcing the existing links between Slack and Jira in particular as a ready-made package for developer enablement.”
Slack recently unveiled a closer partnership with Amazon Web Services (AWS) for its video and call infrastructure; AWS has also partnered closely with Zoom.