Jun 25, 2020

Company Profile: Who Is Slack?

Kayleigh Shooter
4 min
lady at laptop
We take a look at one of Zoom’s biggest rivals, Slack, and what it offers its consumers, below...

Business Overview:

Slack is a proprietary business communication platform developed by American software company Slack Technologies. Slack offers many IRC-style features, including persistent chat rooms (channels) organized by topic, private groups, and direct messaging. Slack began as an internal tool for Stewart Butterfield's company Tiny Speck during the development of Glitch, an online game. Slack launched in August 2013.

In March 2015, Slack announced it had been hacked over four days in February 2015, and that some data associated with user accounts had been compromised, including email addresses, usernames, hashed passwords, phone numbers, and Skype IDs. In response to the attacks, Slack added two-factor authentication to its service.

Why Slack?

Slack has your security at heart. They ensure that only the right people and approved devices can access your company’s information in Slack with features such as single sign-on, domain claiming and support for enterprise mobility management. They also encrypt data at rest and data in transit for all of our customers. Slack further protects your data with tools such as Slack Enterprise Key Management (Slack EKM), audit logs and integrations with top data loss prevention (DLP) providers. Finally, they offer governance and risk-management capabilities flexible enough to meet your organisation’s needs, no matter what they are. This includes global retention policies, custom terms of service and support for eDiscovery.

Slack for engineering:

Engineering teams use Slack to collaborate on projects and get them out the door. Channels and integrations remove friction between teams and functions, helping you go from kick-off to commit in less time. Discover disruptions and bugs faster by coordinating responses in real time. Connect your reporting tools to Slack to monitor issues as they come in, find resolutions to past bugs and assemble the right people to respond. Slack integrates automated tools into a single place, allowing you to spend less time on iterative, lower-value tasks and more time focusing on product development and design.

Slack and Vodafone:

Matt Beal, Vodafone’s Director of Technology Strategy and Architecture, leads the teams responsible for laying the foundation for the company’s large-scale transformation programmes, such as their recently launched 5G networks. Over the past 18 months, he has been focusing on the company’s digital transformation, which includes reimagining the MyVodafone app to offer customers in all markets a richer and more unified experience.

To put the full capacity of the Vodafone Group behind this challenge, Beal and his team set out to revamp their developer and collaboration tools. “Many technology employees were gravitating naturally to Slack,” Beal says. “So we followed our users to what has become one of our most important tools.” 

The switch has gone beyond modernising how Vodafone’s developer teams communicate: it allows global software teams to innovate in a scalable way. “The digital transformation is teaching us new things in terms of how we take learnings and capabilities from one market and bring them rapidly to the next,” Beal says.”

By using Slack to streamline these internal processes, Vodafone can tailor a more powerful experience for customers and “really retool our entire business to be more effective,” Beal says. “It lets us give complete power and capability to the customer.” As a fast-developing international company, Vodafone’s technology department has an extensive, ever-evolving org chart. “There’s a lot of flux and new joiners on a regular basis, so really understanding the team membership, what teams are available and working on what products is a huge task,” says Paul Whyte, Head of Systems Engineering for Vodafone UK. To simplify things, Whyte introduced a custom search integration, where users can enter the slash command /team to pull up relevant team information. Another integration pulls up the teams responsible for a particular service, making it easier to quickly identify and reach the right person.

To monitor and escalate customer-facing events, Vodafone uses the PagerDuty integration. When an incident occurs in a production environment, the integration notifies the right team, down to the right individual, within milliseconds – and all within Slack. “That dramatically reduces the mean time to resolution because we’re able to contact and alert the right person at exactly the right time,” Beal says. Before Slack, it would have taken 15 to 20 minutes to find the root cause, “but we’ve reduced the mean time to resolution to under five minutes,” Whyte says. “It’s been phenomenally successful in a very short period of time.”

Slack also offers Vodafone’s senior managers visibility into new workflows. “We’re able to give transparency to our business leaders and let them see how technology projects are going,” Beal says. And that streamlined process ultimately results in a better product, faster. “Slack reduces the complexity to get your code from your machine into a production environment and ultimately in front of Vodafone customers,” Whyte explains.

With Slack, Vodafone aims to empower its developer teams across the globe to adopt new ways of working. The ability to connect quickly, work cohesively and share knowledge widely has helped the company deliver new and improved service experiences to millions of customers worldwide. 

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Jun 11, 2021

Ireland is key launchpad for US expansion into Europe

4 min
Thinking of expanding into Europe? Hear why Pfizer, Metlife, Google and VMware favour Ireland as the gateway to the region. 

The first transatlantic cable was laid between Newfoundland and Valentia Island in County Kerry, Ireland, in 1858. It was a flawed effort; the connection was poor, causing enough issues with efforts to send telegrams along it that major repair efforts were set underway immediately - efforts which ended up further damaging the cable line, severing the connection just three weeks later. 

This first step towards transatlantic subsea communication, shaky as it was, laid the foundations of more than a century and a half of information exchange across the ocean, between the East Coast of North America and Western Ireland.

It’s been 163 years since the completion of the first transatlantic cable, an event which cemented Ireland’s position as the landing stage for subsea connections between Europe and the Americas. That position has, in no small way, been a driving force behind the country’s modern role as a landing stage for US and Canadian firms looking to do business in Europe. 

Today, some of the largest firms in the world, like Pfizer, Janssen, Zurich, Metlife, Google and VmWare use Ireland for their European Headquarters. The combination of an English-speaking workforce (a boon made all the more important as Brexit makes the UK and the north of Ireland an increasingly complex environment that provides diminishing opportunities to access the rest of Europe), a cultural and regulatory landscape that welcomes foreign investment, and world-class connectivity makes the country an unparalleled choice for firms looking to establish a foothold in the EU. 

As a result, Ireland has become one of the world’s leading data centre hubs. 

Based on leading data centre firm Interxion’s Data Gravity Index, Dublin will be among the top five European cities that will contribute to Europe’s growth in data in the coming years, following London, Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam. The amount of data generated in Dublin itself is expected to grow alongside its economic expansion, with the Data Gravity Index also predicting that Dublin will outpace cities and data centre hubs like Mexico City, São Paulo, and even Shanghai, to be among the top 20 cities to experience annual data growth by 2024.

Ireland ranks 6th in the 2020 EU Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI), meaning that it is among the leading ranks of EU Member States in terms of the uptake and use of digital technologies. Likewise, the trend to locate data centres in Ireland serving overseas clients will continue to generate increasing amounts of international traffic

Managing the Dublin Data Boom 

According to Interxion, subsea connectivity will continue to play a massive role in helping both international and domestic organisations digitally transform themselves to meet the challenges of changing markets post pandemic.  

As the pace of global digital transformation - and the subsequent need for more connectivity - accelerates like never before, this rapidly developing world is driving urther demand for these cables as individuals and organisations become increasingly reliant on subsea cable’s exceptional data speed and capacity. 

According to experts at Interxion, this connectivity will be pivotal to Ireland’s continued success in attracting international companies in the technology, pharmaceutical and financial sectors. 

The subsea cable industry is a key contributor to the Irish economy across many sectors. The draft National Marine Planning Framework reported that subsea international networks make Ireland an attractive region for investment for the technology and digital sectors. Telegeography states that there are twelve existing subsea cables connecting Ireland to the US and UK, and a further four systems are under development. The Iish government’s statement on the Role of Data Centres in Ireland’s Enterprise Strategy identified Ireland as a location of choice for many different sectors reliant on digital and telecommunications capabilities, all of which in turn rely on subsea cable interconnectivity. 

Courtesy of Interxion: A Digital Realty Company
Courtesy of Interxion: A Digital Realty Company

Subsea cables are of strategic importance to Ireland’s future as a catalyst for economic and societal prosperity. Ireland can be the ideal location for your company’s expansion plans. To find out how, you can hear from leading experts throughout the data centre and digital infrastructure industries on June 15, 2021, as speakers from the IDA, Aqua Comms, GTT Communications, euNetworks and Interxion discuss subsea cabling, digital transformation, Data Gravity and the fate of Ireland’s digital economy. 

Key topics will include: 

  • Key facts about existing subsea infrastructure, 
  • Future plans, 
  • Challenges (including Marine Maintenance) and opportunities, 
  • Terrestrial networks (demand vs supply); 
  • Ireland's role as a gateway to Europe

The virtual panel (which is taking place between 10:30 PM - 11:30 PM JST on June 15, 2021) will conclude with a 20 minute Q&A. Mike Hollands, Senior Director of Market Development at Interxion, will moderate the event.   

  • Experts from Aqua Comms, GTT, euNetworks, the IDA, and Interxion will be taking part in the live event on June 15, 2021
    Experts from Aqua Comms, GTT, euNetworks, the IDA, and Interxion will be taking part in the live event on June 15, 2021

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