Lidiane Jones has vacated the Slack CEO seat after 11 months in the role.
A new CEO will step in on Monday, as Jones seems set to take the helm at Bumble – the online dating app – in January.
Announcing her departure on the Slack platform, Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce, wrote: “Lidiane, this is a hugely deserved achievement for one of our most incredible executives.
While we will all, of course, miss her greatly (especially me), we recognize what an amazing opportunity this is for you in becoming a public company CEO.
Indeed, this may be a significant loss for Salesforce, as Jones impressed after stepping into the role during a difficult spell for its Slack business.
At the time, Slack co-Founder Stewart Butterfield had just left and activist investors swirled – with some reportedly calling for Salesforce to deprioritize the platform.
After all, the pandemic-induced surge in UCaaS had just – to put it mildly – tempered.
Moreover, a tricky macro-environment and slower revenue growth strengthened their calls to cut costs and push profit margins further.
Meanwhile, in February, Dave Michels, Principal Analyst at Talking Pointz, described Slack as “an albatross hanging around Salesforce’s neck” in conversation with CX Today.
Yet, Jones kept calm and carried on, introducing industry-first GenAI innovations – with the advent of Slack GPT – and achieving new milestones for the business.
Marc Benioff shared one such milestone in Salesforce’s latest earnings call. He stated:
We’ve seen excellent usage growth in our automation products, including Slack, which has now launched nearly 8 million workflows weekly, a 71 percent increase year-over-year.
However, this doesn’t mean that Slack is out of the woods. Its competitor, Microsoft Teams, still dominates the space, and some remain doubtful of its place in the Salesforce stack.
That said, the recent launch of Salesforce’s new Einstein 1 Platform has helped to allay some of those concerns and offer the new Slack CEO a revitalized go-to-market.
The New Einstein 1 Platform and Slack’s Position Within It
During September’s Dreamforce event, Salesforce launched its Einstein 1 platform – which houses each of the vendor’s CRM apps.
As evident in the screenshot below, the Einstein 1 ecosystem enables a cross-function data fabric, leverages their combined intelligence, and makes data sharing across CX functions much simpler.
Moreover, brands can also leverage the Einstein 1 Copilot and Salesforce Flow Builder to automate cross-function processes. These may cross service, sales, marketing, commerce, and more.
That is quite the value proposition and one that’s three years in the making.
Yet, it begs the question: where does Slack enter the picture? Thankfully, Marc Benioff explained:
Slack very much as a vision for the front end of all of our core products.
In other words, Slack becomes the operational center point. The first platform CX teams open up in the morning, not only to collaborate but to perform particular tasks without opening up individual CRM apps themselves.
Dreamforce offered a glimpse of this with the release of a new capability: Slack Sales Elevate. Here’s a sneak peek of how this works.
By making Slack a central element of the Einstein 1 vision – through such innovation – Salesforce may incorporate the UCaaS solution into more of its megadeals.
After all, many businesses will make Einstein 1 their core CX platform and buy into the overarching Einstein vision.
If Slack is an integral part of that, it becomes the obvious UC platform of choice – with many unique differentiators that Microsoft cannot poach.
Therefore, expect the new CEO to focus on the bigger picture beyond UCaaS, avoid feature-for-feature comparisons, and use cross-platform innovation as a go-to-market cornerstone.
As to who that lucky individual may be, there has been little-to-no speculation.
Nevertheless, some reports have suggested that Benioff has recently attempted to entice former executives back to the business as its Einstein 1 era begins.
Such speculation comes amidst Salesforce’s layoff U-turn, with Benioff & co. intending to hire 3,300 employees – including some staff it let go at the start of the year.