When Salesforce spends $27.7 billion on Slack, everyone needs to sit up and take notice. Not only does the deal signal “big software’s” serious interest in post-email collaboration, it suggests big changes to come for legal CRM and Slack users finding greater automation services and chatbots among their messages and apps, as well pointing the way forward for those outside these ecosystems.
When Salesforce confirmed it will acquire Slack, after weeks of rumor and subject to the usual approvals, the acquisition made a big dent in the top 10 tech M&A deals of all time. At the top of the tick sheet, it gives Salesforce some feature parity in its endless platform battle with Microsoft and MS Teams for corporate contracts while signaling the rise of Deep Collaboration, according to VentureBeat.
Benefits of the deal, Salesforce’s first since the February acquisition for an undisclosed sum of personalization and customer data platform provider Evergage, include:
· Slack will improve collaboration among businesses using Salesforce.
· Gives Salesforce a new shop window among developers and startups.
· Automated workflows will work better with Slack-level collaboration.
· Helps Salesforce appeal to legal and other non-IT-heavy businesses.
The size of the deal helped it generate plenty of press, but there are already those looking into the risks and gaps, like the risk to the user experience when large corps acquire nimble products. Whatever the hype, it will also help boost awareness of automation, chatbots and collaboration across all business types, including the booming legal tech space.
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Salesforce, Slack and the law of automation
While many larger enterprises are already Salesforce customers, others never will be, so the Salesforce sales team is focusing more on non-traditional verticals and industries, like law, and mid-sized business to drive growth. With process, data and decision automation already buzzwords across many boardrooms and management consultancies, the weaving of the two platforms creates many interesting possibilities.
The legal profession has been a target for Salesforce, offering a consulting division for legal firms since 2014. Salesforce’s marketing blurb for lawyers promises, “We work with ambitious professional and business services to break down silos in teams, automate and simplify backend processes, and help enhance employee engagement.”
The arrival of Slack among the Salesforce arsenal should certainly help with breaking down communication silos and engagement. We can also expect more internal business chatbots addressing issues across CRM, staffing and training. However, most of the legal profession works with Microsoft Teams, and while there are many legal-specific services and applications that work with Salesforce like ContractPodAi for contract process management, powered by IBM’s Watson — showing how many different providers can be involved with/behind the scenes of one application, legal businesses have many other options.
There will be plenty of non-Slack and non-Salesforce legal businesses looking at this deal and wondering if it is worth joining the new services wave. The much-touted benefits of automation will start to appear in future marketing material, while firms using Slack could soon start finding all sorts of enticing offers to move to Salesforce.
Those that move their CRM to Salesforce will find the likes of Process Builder and Workflow as part of the package. They provide point-and-click process automation of Salesforce features, including record changes and events. The company claims development is three-times faster at 50% of the traditional development cost. Slack also has its own Workflow Builder to automate routine actions among teams and members, while Microsoft’s ecosystem is huge and sprawling across many third-party providers and integrators, and the legal profession has its own dedicated vendors with solutions offering automated bliss.
Automation continues to drive IT legal efforts
For legal professionals, with their specific knowledge-based tasks, the push for automation is strong, both from the leadership to drive efficiency, and from their own sense that things could and should be better, especially after the upheavals of 2020. As Lexology notes in “Improve Law Firm Revenues with Automation and Standardization in Legal Billing,” (registration required)
Heightened transparency and the rising costs of legal work have both forced firms to find more efficient ways to deliver their services. The increased access to information by clients, coupled with tighter budgets, is forcing law practices to innovate or fall behind.
There are many legal automation products on the market, but making major waves is BRYTER, receiving much kudos with a Top 10 legal tech product award in the Financial Times “Wanted: DIY-style tools to boost legal tech adoption” and appearing in Business Insider’s “Top 100 startups according to VCs” (sub required).
Decision automation modules and chatbots created in BRYTER’s no-code solution already integrates easily into Microsoft Teams, with Slack support coming soon, supporting whatever a legal firm uses. And BRYTER does not require admin support to create modules, nor is it restricted only to whatever lives within the Slack or Salesforce (or Teams) ecosystem. Legal professionals can access their existing files on KIRA, Office documents and spreadsheets, databases, wherever your legal information exists.
With BRYTER, lawyers and legal professionals can build and use modules in days not weeks, to build chatbots, form creators, hiring process automation tools, compliance checkers, and for many other use cases that can scale with the business. Building new and diversified ways to charge clients for services will appeal to legal firms looking beyond the billable hours’ treadmill, and BRYTER is provided as a full-service offering, focused purely on automation and not a dozen other cloud services or IT issues.
The growing visibility of smart legal technology makes it harder for businesses that have many products or are pulling in many directions to focus on delivering it well. And, as automation technology delivers productivity improvements, frees up professionals for more valuable tasks and helps drives process improvements across the business, the impact will be felt across all areas of business law.
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The Salesforce/Slack deal highlights the potential for legal automation was originally published in Chatbots Life on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.