Messaging app Slack has just rolled out a beta version of native voice chat with video conferencing to follow which promises to rival Skype.
Slack is an all-in-one file sharing platform which syncs with Google products as well as social media and other third party apps. Launched in 2013 and reportedly worth $2.8 billion, it is hugely popular with small to medium-sized businesses as well as large global publishing houses such as Dow Jones. In the same way Google docs work, users are able to edit, comment and share work in real-time without using emails.
The latest update, released this week, means users will be able to use audio conferencing – they’ll even be able to share emojis while they chat. Video conferencing is expected to be added soon. Global businesses using Skype already will no doubt be eyeing up Slack, as well as those companies yet to be seduced by video conferencing, but what about the financial sector?
Last year, Bloomberg Business posed a similar question in its article: Is Wall Street ready for Slack? The answer in few words appears to be ‘not just yet.’
Slack has made several updates to its platform over the past year especially for financial services which include features fit for the compliance needs of the financial sector in the US. For a price teams can now get full exports of communication history. This means that potentially, compliance teams could be going through huge rafts of business conversations that are interjected with memes, pictures of cats and jokey videos. Slack toes that line between serious business communications and fun, knowing its users in the main are office workers who like to share a joke every now and then. So while it’s unlikely that you’ll get teams migrating to Slack and suddenly sharing data they wouldn’t otherwise on email – as after all, it is still workplace communication and the standard rules apply – mixing communication so readily with fun chat might prove a hurdle too far for the financial industry.
However, this hasn’t stopped start-up stock-trading app Robinhood. According to the Bloomberg article, Robinhood, a registered broker dealer, uses Slack despite tough financial industry regulations.
Here in the UK, the Financial Conduct Authority considers cloud services on behalf of a regulated firm as outsourcing and therefore, its rules around outsourcing apply to the cloud. Rules for using the cloud include the need for a company to have a clear exit strategy as well as a record of all historic communications and a thorough knowledge of the supply chain. The regulator has just closed further consultation on proposed guidance for firms outsourcing to the cloud but you can read the paper here, which also refers to the Information Commissioner’s Office’s guidance on cloud computing. It is hoped that further guidance will encourage innovation in the sector.
We know that a number of MRM’s clients already use the cloud, however – one said that it was unlikely to use Slack anytime soon. Is it just a matter of time before everyone starts using Slack or does Slack need to tighten up further? I think yes to both, though obviously fintech start-ups will find this change easier than larger companies for obvious reasons.
In the meantime, hacking stories like this won’t help.
Credit: Patty’s photos