Atlassian and Slack each are making plays in the collaboration marketplace today. Both of these moves are in response to recent advances that Microsoft has made with Office 365 and are critical to their long term future as platforms.
By acquiring Trello, Atlassian is expanding it’s collection of collaboration services and is a stronger competitor for Office 365. Atlassian is responding to Office 365 increase in customer adoption of Planner. Trello is more mature and more feature-complete than Planner at this point in time. Atlassian has the integration game to play now, to provide customers a consistent experience across the apps. To their benefit, Trello and JIRA have been used together by developers and project teams for years, and their JIRA customer base already is mostly familiar with Trello.
Microsoft, for its part with Planner, is entering with a new product, which even at MVP was rapidly adopted by Office 365 users looking to manage tasks, but still lacks many required features to be more than a task manager for small teams.
Atlassian acquires Trello for $425M, broadening their reach [ https://workfutures.io/atlassian-acquires-trello-for-425m-broadening-their-reach-36e0d102a661 ]
The second news item this morning also affects Office 365, as Slack is building out their integration with a solid investment in bot companies. This has the potential to be a good investment, as Slack is battling to find a hook into enterprise businesses. As a chat company in a crowded space, it floated to the top with great functionality, but I feel it still is sitting in a space that hasn’t fully solidified, and could be replaced by newcomers to the space, or someone that has a better integration. With this investment in bot makers, Slack is hoping that integration with business processes can stick and become a solid connection for them to build on.
Slack invests in 11 new bot startups
[ http://www.businessinsider.com/slack-invests-in-11-new-bot-startups-2017-1 ]
Both of these are examples of products that are building themselves into a platform. Becoming a platform that is extensible enough for ISVs to build on top of is the key for their long term growth. If their partner ecosystems simply invest in connecting to JIRA and Slack, and don’t take the next step of building into the platforms or building on top of them, then they will get steamrolled in enterprise companies by the platform that is surrounding and embedding the collaborative applications in Office 365.