The way we work has changed, and our customers are evidence of that

July 07, 2017 by Steve Mayernick

In December 2015, Slack launched their Slack App Directory and Slack Fund. A few days before that, we went live with the first version of our Guru bot. Then earlier this year we joined the Slack fund as one of their investments. Now our bot is being used by over 85% of our customers including companies like Shopify, Square, Dell Boomi, Greenhouse and Optimizely.

"We are huge users of Slack on the Greenhouse team. Internal conversations happen here all day long. Having Guru + Slack ensures we have a highly streamlined workflow with Guru ensuring all our knowledge lives right where conversations are taking place!" - Victoria Moss, Director of Sales Operations, Greenhouse

Obviously, we are big fans of Slack here at Guru, and have many mutual customers as well. For those of you not familiar, Guru helps companies centralize their team knowledge so that everyone is on the same page.

So why did we build a Slack bot? Our mission is to bring up-to-date company knowledge to your team wherever they work. Slack has increasingly become your team’s hub for communication and notifications so it only makes sense for Guru to live there as well. We also believe that as Slack’s ecosystem continues to mature, sustainable businesses will get built on the platform. But let’s dive deeper into how the way we work is changing and why Guru is uniquely positioned to solve for this shift.

Knowledge everywhere you need it

Back in March of 2015, we wrote about how the way we work is changing. Most of us spend our entire day in our web browsers, with multiple tabs open for the various SaaS apps we use to do our jobs. As a result, wikis and other knowledge portals have seen their adoption plummet because leaving our workflow to find the information we need to do our jobs has became increasingly difficult.

Since that post, Guru has grown to over 260 paying customers, all of whom have replaced their legacy knowledge portals with a simple, flexible, and accessible knowledge management solution that eliminates the need to switch context to get the information they need to do their jobs.

Our entire company lives in Slack. The Guru bot allows us to share, create and verify all of our knowledge directly in Slack, reducing repeat questions and allowing us to get more work done. - Brenna Stanton, Project Manager, Bitly

We deliberately designed our product to not be another destination. Instead, our vision is to augment existing workflows and SaaS applications. After all, you need knowledge to do work inside all of those various SaaS applications, which has been reaffirmed when we see our customers using Guru with apps like, Zendesk,, LinkedIn, and Email to name a few. With the browser extension, they can open Guru, find what they need, and close it, without changing windows or interrupting their workflow.

The rise of Slack as a destination

On average, Slack users spend 2 hours and 15 minutes per day in Slack. Even when they’re not, the average user spends 10 hours per weekday plugged into Slack, leaving it open all day, just like your browser. It’s clear that Slack is now another destination in the enterprise.

Since then, we’ve seen our vision of “living where you work” continue to materialize. With a web app, a browser extension and a Slack bot, Guru aims to layer context and value added services into any workflow to bring people knowledge they need to do their jobs.

“What really made Guru stand out to me when evaluating it, was the ability to take your company’s knowledge everywhere: put it in Slack or in the extension that followed me around the web. The ability to consume knowledge was much higher than any product I evaluated or used before.” - Ben MacAskill, VP of Operations, Smugmug

Growing engagement across many applications

As companies grow, the way they institutionalize company knowledge needs to change. Teams naturally get siloed, and more and more software is purchased to support the ongoing efforts of the organization. In each one of these applications, people need knowledge. Some examples include:

  • CRM
  • Ticketing System
  • Live Chat
  • Email
  • Marketing Automation
  • LinkedIn

There are fewer things in our digital world that are more important to making us productive employees than ensuring that we have access to the knowledge we need to do our jobs, wherever we are working.

“Guru is the connective tissue between my SE team and the rest of our GTM organization, and the ultimate force multiplier for Optimizely. It is the easiest way to capture the expertise of my team and scale that expertise across the global sales and success organizations." - Zach Lawryk, Senior Director of Solutions Engineering, Optimizely

Guru’s mission is to solve a knowledge management problem in a way that supports the way modern teams work. In trying to understand how successfully we’re doing so, we dug into our product data to figure out just how our customers were using us.


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As you can see, the most predominant usage of Guru is via our Browser Extension. Our web app and Slack bot are also substantial use components as well. As we had hypothesized, people need knowledge in a lot of different places. And while it’s encouraging to see the browser extension usage so high, this only tells half of the story. Having a specific understanding of which applications knowledge usage is highest in will help paint a more complete picture in just how successfully we’re supporting a more modern workflow, as well as what those workflows look like. Here are just a few of the popular applications we see high Guru usage in:

  • Gmail
  • Zendesk
  • Salesforce
  • LinkedIn
  • Google Suite
  • Office 365

Usage across many of these applications show a more specific utilization of the browser extension, though these applications represent just a tiny sliver of how our customers are using the Guru extension.

“We get asked a ton of questions from internal and external parties. The accessibility of information is what makes Guru shine. The browser extension and Slack integration are both ways to instantly get information without disrupting my workflow.” - Sam Asher, Data Analyst, Looker

As workflows get more and more complex, we aim to minimize the context switching that can cost people up to 40% of their productivity. Between the web application, browser extension, and Slack bot, our customers are able to access the knowledge they need to be successful.

What’s next for Guru

Traditional knowledge management systems weren’t designed to solve modern-day business problems -- they were simply a basic way to store and access content. Companies now need solutions that fit into modern workflows, and enable teams to collaborate internally and externally as quickly and confidently as possible.

“We know where to find information, we know we can trust it, we can easily keep it updated, and we can easily share it. The Slack integration is amazing... They built it by thinking about where people already work and communicate. There is no other tool that powers real-time learning like Guru does.” - Julie Lamba, Director of Learning, Monetate

But that’s just the beginning. We believe that the knowledge you need to do your job should find you, when and where you need it. By being where our customers work, we have a unique opportunity to leverage machine learning to coach our customers to do their jobs better and faster. Imagine being a new support agent and instantly getting access to the prior learnings of your entire support organization, in context. Or being a salesperson and real-time coaching on product knowledge honed from interacting with similar customers in the past. These are just a few of the types of innovations we are so excited about at Guru.

If you’re interested in modernizing your approach to knowledge management, start your free 21-day Guru trial today!