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Slack + Guru: Better Together

February 06, 2016 by Rick Nucci

On December 15th 2015, Slack launched their Slack App Directory and Slack Fund. A few days before we went live with our first integration, and now Guru bot. We are big fans of Slack here at Guru, and Slack and Guru have many mutual customers. For those of you not familiar, Guru helps companies centralize their team knowledge so that everyone is on the same page. You can learn more about Guru here. So why did we build this integration?

Leverage what we both do well

Simply put, our customers use Slack for real time communication, and they use Guru to capture the knowledge they need to do their job. Want to have a quick conversation with a teammate to talk through a problem? You should use Slack. Want to capture the key points your sales team should use to position against your competitors? You should use Guru. Again these are very simple examples, but if you play these out, our respective search abilities are optimized for our respective use cases. When you search in Slack, you are searching conversations. When you search in Guru, you are searching content. Conversations are static, once they happen they don’t change. Knowledge, however, evolves as your company grows. So content in Guru is meant to change. In fact we have a verification engine that ties all content in Guru to a corresponding subject matter expert(s). Guru periodically checks in with those experts to ensure the captured content is still accurate. This prevents anything stored in Guru from ever going stale. So things like product FAQ’s, messaging, competitive positioning, troubleshooting guides and sales playbooks are all examples of things that should be captured in Guru. These things inevitably change over time and searching past conversations is not a reliable way to find knowledge that you want to ensure is always going to be accurate.

Slack is now a Destination, just like the Browser

When you think about your job and the apps you use at work, one thing they have in common is they are mostly web based. Most of us spend our entire day with our web browser open, with multiple tabs for the various SaaS apps we use to accomplish our jobs. When you look at Slack’s metrics one thing that is clear is Slack has now become a destination. On average, Slack users spend 2 hours and 15 minutes per day in Slack. This means Slack is also sitting open all day, just like your browser.

This showcases just how valuable Slack is to a team that adopts it.

Each Destination that gets added to our work life creates new complexity. In the case of Slack it makes sense based on the problem it solves. But not so for every product category.

Guru is not a Destination, but rather a means to an end

Because of the nature of the problem we solve, we have explicitly designed our product to not be a destination. We do have a SaaS app of course, which our customers use for things like new employee onboarding and management of their content as it grows. But our customers’ favorite feature of Guru is our browser extension. What we have learned is that Guru is a means to an end. The "end" is the job you have to do; qualify a lead, advance an opportunity, address a support ticket, etc. And the knowledge you need to do your job is the “means”. This is why knowledge portals have never worked. I am trying to accomplish a task and need access to some team knowledge. Don’t make me open a new window, login to a new thing, and search around for the answer. And even if I find it, how do I know if it is still the right answer?

Our product strategy has been to augment other applications. Many of our customers use Guru in conjunction with things like salesforce.com, Zendesk, desk.com, LinkedIn, Email, and many others. They can open Guru, find what they need, and close it, without changing windows or interrupting their workflow.

So integrating with Slack makes perfect sense to us. Since Slack is a new destination, how can you access and share knowledge captured in Guru without leaving Slack? And more importantly, how can you do this in way that is intuitive to a Slack user and native to their workflow, i.e. a messaging approach. So our first integration is a good example of this. Now if you are in Slack, and you get asked about a competitor, you can (1) use our slash command to search Guru on the spot, (2) browse the results, (3) push the desired result right into the channel you are in. All without leaving Slack.

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Stay tuned as we have lots more planned here. Already using Guru and Slack? We’d love your thoughts too!